A peace deal ends a bloody war over Nagorno-Karabakh

12 November , 2020

Azerbaijan wins some land, while Turkey and Russia carve out spheres of influence

The two capitals erupted at roughly the same time. On November 9th, known as the national flag day in Azerbaijan, Baku burst into jubilation. Crowds swarmed the city and flocked to the Alley of Martyrs, a memorial to fallen soldiers. They wrapped themselves in Azerbaijani and Turkish flags, sang the national anthem and praised their victorious leader, Ilham Aliyev. On the same day in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, angry crowds stormed the parliament building, cursing Nikol Pashinyan, their prime minister.

The cause of both scenes was the announcement of a peace deal. Brokered by Russia and Turkey, it ended a six-week war over Nagorno-Karabakh. This is an enclave in Azerbaijan, mostly populated by ethnic Armenians but of cultural and historical significance to both sides. A day earlier, Azerbaijan had raised its flag over Shusha, a strategic hilltop citadel inside Nagorno-Karabakh and a cradle of Azerbaijani culture. Within hours Armenia’s exhausted and demoralised forces surrendered, a humiliation for which Mr Pashinyan had done nothing to prepare his country.