Determining Borders by Soviet-Era Maps ‘Impermissible,’ Says Tatoyan

The Soviet Armenia and Azerbaijan borders
The Soviet Armenia and Azerbaijan borders

The Soviet Armenia and Azerbaijan borders

An announcement that Armenia and Azerbaijan border positions are temporarily being determined using Soviet-era military maps has raised red flags with Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan, who said Tuesday that such methods cannot be permitted.

Armenia’s Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Friday that until comprehensive discussions reach fruition, Soviet-era military maps from 1975 and 1976 are being used for border demarcation purposes, a practice, which thus far has cause heightened tensions in Armenia’s border regions impacted by this approach.

As a consequence of the November 9 agreement, more than 190 settlements in Artsakh and adjacent seven regions came under the control of Azerbaijan. As a result, the borders of the Syunik Province in the south of Armenia (including Kapan, its administrative center) appeared to be in close proximity to the new borders of Azerbaijan, drawn up during the Soviet times.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Tatoyan illustrated through a series of arguments why the determination of state borders using Soviet-era maps or GPS data is impermissible, warning that this practice will undermine the rights and interests of the population in border regions.

Below are the six points presented by Tatotoyan on this critically important matter.

1. Justifying Azerbaijani deployments in the vicinity of Syunik and Gegharkunik provinces and on the Syunik roads by relianceon Soviet Armenia or Azerbaijan borders of the 1970s, 1980s, 1940s (for example, 1975-1976, 1985, 1942), or other maps and GPS data is impermissible. As sovereign states, there has never been a demarcation or delimitation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and furthermore no international document on this matters has been signed.

2. What happened in the Soviet Union was not determination of state borders between two sovereign states—Armenia and Azerbaijan—but rather administrative division of borders between two subjects within one sovereign state, the USSR. Soviet maps are just that. Case in point is why the 1920s maps are not referenced in connection with the border process these days.

3. The process of determining the state borders of the Republic of Armenia cannot be cross-referenced with the administrative-territorial division. These are phenomena which are completely different from one another;

4. The borders and maps of the First Republic of Armenia cannot be ignored in the process of determining state borders of the Republic of Armenia today. This requires the imperative of a real guarantee of the rights of citizens, population of the Republic of Armenia;

5. Today’s deployments by Azerbaijan have been carried out in gross and massive violations of international, including human rights standards, under the real threat of war and use of force and in the context of Azerbaijani open genocidal policy;

6. The process of determining state borders may not undermine normal life of border population or cause rights and legitimate interests of the citizen of the state, including the right to life and physical safety, the safe living of children, the cultivation of one’s own land, and the full enjoyment of water resources, pastures and grasslands; These points are among the key factors guaranteeing rights and normal life of Armenian citizens and its border population.


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