The president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic has submitted a bill to elevate Russian to the status of an official language. Moscow has grown closer to the region since the Armenia-Azerbaijan war in 2020.
If passed, the legislation proposed by President Arayik Harutyunyan will enable government work to be conducted in Russian and will encourage all printed materials to be published in both languages.
According to the proposed bill, the move is based on the “cultural, military, economic relations” between the two nations, and the fact that many locals already use the tongue as their second language.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a disputed territory, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. However, many of the local residents are ethnic Armenians. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the region has been under Yerevan’s control, and Baku considers the enclave to be illegally occupied.
In November 2020, six weeks after the two nations started fighting over ownership of Nagorno-Karabakh, Russia stepped in to oversee a ceasefire between the warring parties.
As part of the agreement, Moscow sent troops to the contact line, and they are now permanently stationed in the region.
Earlier this year, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan came to Moscow to discuss the treaty with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The meeting ended with all parties agreeing that the truce was being kept to, with all involved – including Russian peacekeepers – fulfilling their obligations.
In January, Russia along with Turkey opened a monitoring center in Azerbaijan, aimed at ensuring the observance of ceasefire in the region.
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