20th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest People
Paradise lost

A local resident Anushavan (62) stands in a pomegranate garden in the yard of his house. He is holding an old Kalashnikov assault rifle, which he has kept from the first Karabakh war. Ukhtasar village , Nagorno-Karabakh The so-called «Perestroika”, initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev in the mid-80s of the 20th century and the collapse of the USSR, turned into a series of territorial and ethnic conflicts throughout the former Soviet Empire, especially in the South Caucasus. For Nagorno-Karabakh, part of the Azerbaijan Union Republic, perestroika ended in a skirmish. Thirty years ago the balance of peaceful life in the region was lost. Ethnic Armenians in Azerbaijan declared independence and won during the armed conflict. Most of the territory came under their control. The Azerbaijani population was forced to leave Nagorno-Karabakh. In the autumn of 2020, the military actions between the armed forces of Azerbaijan and the armed formations of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic with the support of Armenia resumed. The frozen conflict of the late 20th century suddenly exploded like a dormant volcano. The clashes were the longest and bloodiest in the region since the end of the Karabakh war in 1994. The fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia lasted six weeks and ended on November 10, 2020 with a peace agreement. Azerbaijan regained control over the areas that Armenia seized in the 1990s.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 10.2020
Date Uploaded: 11.2022
Photo Location: Ukhtasar village , Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan
Camera: NIKON D810
Copyright: © Valery Melnikov