IDP returns to Nagorno-Karabakh: A population geography

Authors: Edward Holland*, University of Arkansas
Topics: Population Geography, Political Geography, Eurasia
Keywords: Nagorno-Karabakh, IDPs, conflict, population geography
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 35
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The war in Nagorno-Karabakh in fall 2020 was a decisive victory for Azerbaijan. As a result of the Russian-brokered peace agreement, territories that had previously been held by Armenia were returned outright to Azerbaijan or came under the aegis of Russian peacekeepers. This revision to the "facts on the ground" spurred speculation over the possibility of return for Azerbaijanis who were displaced from the region when fighting ended in 1994. This paper engages with precisely these internally displaced persons (IDPs), in an effort to understand how the recent fighting has recast their status in Nagorno-Karabakh. The paper situates the most recent developments with respect to the longer history of population flux and movement in the South Caucasus, beginning with the Soviet period and working through the present day. The population geography of de facto states and those displaced by these conflicts is an important factor in both the resolution of these conflicts in a sustainable fashion, as well as an important motivating factor in efforts at revising the territorial status quo.

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