Hello and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, I’m Asbed Bedrossian.
In this Conversations on Groong episode, we’re going to explore the history of the maps that govern the borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan since the early Soviet years.
This episode was recorded on Friday, October 29, 2021.
It’s almost a year after the 44-day War in Artsakh in 2020, and the November Agreement which was signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia. That agreement committed the parties to establish trade and communications throughout the region, which relies on knowing the borders between the countries. However, since the fall of the Soviet Union 30 years ago, Armenia and Azerbaijan never engaged in determining their mutual borders.
In the past months Azerbaijan’s president Aliyev has been demanding the signing of a “Peace Treaty” with Armenia, which includes a full border recognition between them. Recently prime minister Pashinyan has been signaling readiness to work on border definition.
But on what basis?
To help us understand the maps that border demarcation and delineation rely on, we have with us
Rouben Galichian, who is the author of “Historic Maps of Armenia. The Cartographic Heritage”, a collection of World Maps and maps of the area of Armenia over a period of 2600 years, published in 2004. His 8 books in 4 languages cover cartographic as well as inter-cultural conflicts with Azerbaijan and Turkey. Mr. Galichian’s works can be found on his website, roubengalichian.com and are downloadable free of charge.
Let’s start with a history of Armenia in maps to start the conversation.
There are many sets of maps of the South Caucasus, specifically the Armenia-Azerbaijan borders, since the start of the Soviet Union. There are maps from the 1920s, 1940s, 1970s, and 1980s. Armen Sargsyan wrote a letter to Putin after the war about Soviet maps.
● Why are there such distinct sets of maps?
● Who made these maps? Why?
Recently Russian president Putin said that the Russian army holds the official maps of the region from Soviet years. There are also copies in Georgia.
● The Armenian government has requested access to these maps in Tbilisi but have been declined. Why?
The secretary of the National Security Council, Armen Gregorian, said recently in an interview that only the 1926 and 1929 maps have legal basis.
● Why might the maps from the 1920s be considered the most authoritative?
● Would Azerbaijan also think so?
● What are the most significant differences of the maps from the 1920s, from various of the other sets of maps, for example the 1940’s, or later?
Outside of square meters of territory gained or relinquished from map set to map set:
● What are the main advantages of using the maps from the 1920’s from let’s say the maps from the 1970’s?
● What territories are in play on Armenia’s eastern border?
● On the border with Nakhichevan?
● On the border with Iran, in Syunik?
Many of the maps are now online. We’ll point to the ones at Cilicia.com/maps. The dates are on each of the sheets, and they differ from sheet to sheet.
In prior interviews you have said that Artsakh’s territory and its border definitions are its own separate issue. But the reality is that until the 44-day war, Artsakh was politically dependent on Armenia. Now that guarantor of security was switched over to Russia.
● How do these maps affect Artsakh’s borders?
● How does Armenia’s border process with Azerbaijan affect Artsakh? Does it leave Artsakh inside Azerbaijan? Does it doom its efforts towards self-determination?
That concludes this Conversations On Groong episode, and we hope you found it helpful. As always we invite your feedback, you can find us on most social media and podcast platforms, or our website Groong.org.
Thanks to Laura Osborn for the music on our podcasts. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel on Youtube, Like our pages and follow us on social media. On behalf of everyone in this episode, we wish you a good week, thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you soon.
Rouben Galichian, Armenia, Artsakh, Karabakh, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran, Maps, Borders, Cartography, History, Border, Demarcation, Delineation, Nakhichevan, Soviet Union, Soviet Maps, Army, 1920s Maps, 1940s Maps, 1970s Maps, 1980s Maps,