On September 2, 1991, a joint session of the People’s Deputies of the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Region and Shahumian regional councils declared the establishment of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR) within the borders of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) and Shahumian region.
The people of Nagorno Karabakh exercised the right enshrined in the then legislation, in particular, the law of April 3, 1990 USSR “The Regulation Governing Questions Concerning the Secession of a Union Republic from the USSR”.
This law provided right to the national autonomies to decide independently their own legal status in case of a Soviet Republic’s secession from the USSR. At the same time (November 1991), the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan, contrary to all legal norms, passed a law liquidating the NKAO, which was declared as unconstitutional by the USSR Constitutional Court.
Just a few days before the official collapse of the Soviet Union, on December 10, 1991, a referendum was held in Nagorno Karabakh with the overwhelming majority of the population (99.98%) voting in favor of full independence from Azerbaijan. Parliamentary elections of the NKR were held on December 28, which then formed the first government. The independent government of the Nagorno Karaabkh Republic went on to work under the conditions of total blockade, war and aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan.