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Nagorno-Karabakh historically (Artsakh) is a region in the South Caucasus controlled by Armenia. The names for the region in the different local languages all translate to "mountainous Karabakh", or "mountainous black garden". The word "nagorno" is Russian for "mountainous/on the mountain", "kara" is Turkish for "black", and "bakh" means "garden" in Azerbaijani.
- Armenian: Լեռնային Ղարաբաղ, transliterated Lernayin Gharabagh
- Azerbaijani: Dağlıq Qarabağ, or Yuxarı Qarabağ (meaning "upper Karabakh" or "mountainous Karabakh")
- Russian: Нагорный Карабах, transliterated Nagornyj Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh or Artsakh in ancient times was part of the Kingdom of Armenia. It then became a subject of the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan when both young states became part of the Soviet Union, and actually lost their independence due to the actions of Joseph Stalin and Russian communists (Bolsheviks).
When Mikhail Gorbachev has come to power in Moscow and has started the campaigns of publicity and democratic reforms in the end of 80th, Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh decided to address the problems to the international and Soviet heads. Complaining about "forced Azerification" of the region, the majority Armenian population started a movement for independence.
In November 1991, seeking to stop this movement, the Parliament of Azerbaijan abolished the autonomous status of the region. In response the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians held a December 10, 1991 referendum in which the overwhelming majority of the population voted for outright independence. The Azeri community of Nagorno-Karabakh boycotted this referendum.
Today Nagorno-Karabakh is a de facto state calling itself the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.