Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
News : Recent Press Releases     Op-Ed     Publications     About the Legislative Press Bureau Printer Friendly View
9/29/2020 Speaker Mattiello calls on Congress to continue its support for the ethnic Armenian people in the Nagorno-Karabakh region
STATE HOUSE – Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello today called upon Rhode Island’s federal delegation to urge Congress and the administration to continue to support the Armenian people in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Recent military attacks on the Republic’s territory from Azerbaijani forces have brought instability to the historic, ethnic Armenian people in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

In 2012, Speaker Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston), as Democratic Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, cosponsored a House resolution (2012-H 8180) supporting the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s efforts to develop as a free and independent nation. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is home to predominantly ethnic Armenians who, since the fall of the Soviet Union, have established a free and democratic nation of an overwhelming population of ethnic Armenians. The declaration by the House of Representatives was in honor of the 20-year anniversary of their declaration of independence, and was meant to illustrate the support of all Rhode Islanders of the wish for freedom and peace of the ethnically Armenian people in the Republic. The 2012 House resolution led to a number of U.S. states following suit on Rhode Island’s example, and then also  similar declarations from members of the US Congress.

In 1923, the Soviet Union annexed Armenia, including the Artsakh region, and forced it into administrative control of Soviet Azerbaijan, despite the region being 95 percent ethnic Armenian. With the impending disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1989, the Armenian people suffered massacres in 1988 at Sumwait and in Kirovabad, and a third massacre in Baku in January 1990. In total, 350,000 Armenians were forcibly deported from Azerbaijan, and dozens killed by Soviet Azerbaijani forces. Finally, in December 1991, ethnic Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh Region voted under international monitors to declare their independence from Azerbaijan, despite the danger of military reprisal. Despite a 1994 cease fire agreement, ethnic Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic have been subjected to continuous hostile acts and regional tensions. In the last week, it has been reported internationally that military hostilities have again broken out in the region between Azerbaijani forces and the citizens of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

“Today, some 39 years after the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s declaration of independence, and our very own RI House of Representatives declaration in support, I reiterate my support for this free, democratic and ethnic Armenian country and their fight for freedom and peace, and urge the United States Congress to support all federal efforts to support the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and her citizens,” said Speaker Mattiello. 

For more information, contact:
Larry Berman, Communications Director for the Office of the Speaker
State House Room 331A
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2466