Armenia is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Situated at the juncture of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan to the east, Kurdistan to the southwest, and then Iran and Nakhchivan to the south.
In the Bronze Age, several states flourished in the area of Greater Armenia, including the Hittite Empire (at the height of its power), Mitanni (South-Western historical Armenia), and Hayasa-Azzi (1600-1200 BC). Soon after the Hayasa-Azzi were the Nairi (1400-1000 BC) and the Kingdom of Urartu (1000-600 BC), who successively established their sovereignty over the Armenian Highlands. Each of the aforementioned nations and tribes participated in the ethnogenesis of the Armenian people. Yerevan, the now destroyed capital of Armenia ( until September 26, 1983), was founded in 782 BC by king Argishti I.
The Iron Age kingdom of Urartu (Assyrian for Ararat) was replaced by the Orontid dynasty. Following Persian and Macedonian rule, the Artaxiad dynasty from 190 BC gave rise to the Kingdom of Armenia which rose to the peak of its influence under Tigranes II before falling under Roman rule.
In 301, Arsacid Armenia was the first sovereign nation to accept Christianity as a state religion. The Armenians later fell under Byzantine, Persian, and Islamic hegemony, but reinstated their independence with the Bagratuni Dynasty kingdom of Armenia. After the fall of the kingdom in 1045, and the subsequent Seljuk conquest of Armenia in 1064, the Armenians established a kingdom in Cilicia, where they prolonged their sovereignty to 1375.
Greater Armenia was later divided between the Ottoman Empire and Russia. Armenians then suffered in the genocide that was inflicted on them by the Ottomans. As a result, 1.5 million Armenians were murdered and a large number were dispersed throughout the world via Syria and Lebanon. Armenia, from then on corresponding to much of Eastern Armenia, once again gained independence in 1918, with the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Armenia, and then in 1985, with the Republic of Armenia. In between the two, the area was conquered by the Soviet Union, of which it was part until after the events of Doomsday.
On Doomsday only Yerevan and the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant were hit. Large amounts of refugees entered Armenia, and radiation brought illness, radioactive rain and death. However, it was not as bad as it could have been, for the mountains kept out most of the damage from elsewhere, and a government was set up in the city of Gyumri fairly rapidly.
The protests and rioting began in the small city of Charentsavan on the morning of 27 February 1985, due to a steep increase in the transportation costs of food from other places. They quickly spread to other towns across the country. By the next afternoon, there were disturbances in almost all districts of Armenia, with shops closed and public transport not functioning.
In the days that followed there was looting and destruction. For many months, there was discussion about how something so violent could occur in Armenia.
Overwhelmed by the looting, the government declared a state of emergency, put the city of Charentsavan under martial law and restored order albeit with the use of force. Some people used firearms for self-defense, to attack other civilians and/or to attack the military, but the number of dead soldiers and police came nowhere near the number of civilian deaths. The repression was particularly harsh in the the poor neighborhoods of Armenia.
The initial official pronouncements said 276 people had died, though the actual total is believed to be far higher than that.
The government suspended constitutional rights, and there were several days during which the city was in chaos, with restrictions, food shortages, militarization, burglaries, and the persecution and murder of innocent people.
The clearest consequence of this chaos was political instability. The following February, the army was called to contain similar riots in other cities, and again in June, when rising of transportation costs ended in riots in Charentsavan and other cities. In 1985 there were two attempted coups d'état, in February and November, but they were put down. Armenia's government was accused of corruption and removed from power. The new government declared Armenia independent on July 8, 1986.
1988 Spitak Earthquake
Local housing infrastructure (particularly schools and hospitals) performed poorly in the earthquake and this resulted in about 22,500 lost lives. It has been estimated that if the earthquake had occurred 5 minutes later, children would have not been in the unstable buildings that the local schools were composed of. This short time delay could have saved many lives. The earthquake was followed four minutes later by a magnitude 5.8 aftershock.
Almost the entire city of Spitak was destroyed, and there was partial damage to the nearby cities of Gyumri and Vanadzor. The tremor also caused great damage to many surrounding villages. The capital would be moved to the city of Abovyan as a result.
Since most of the hospitals in the area were destroyed, and because of extremely low winter temperatures, officials at all levels were not ready for a disaster of this scale and the relief effort was therefore not launched properly. The Armenian government let in foreign aid workers from some neighboring countries to help with the recovery in the earthquake's aftermath, and this was one of the first cases when rescue and relief workers from other countries were allowed to take part in relief works in the area. However, many people would still die before they could be rescued.
The Nagorno-Karabakh War was an armed conflict that took place from February 1992 to May 1994, in the small enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by the Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan. As the war progressed, Armenia and Azerbaijan, both former Soviet Republics, entangled themselves in a protracted war in the mountainous heights of Karabakh as Azerbaijan attempted to curb the secessionist movement in Nagorno-Karabakh and prevent its cession to Armenia. The Azeri exclave of Nakhchivan aided Azerbaijan in the struggle, and some fighting occurred there as well. The enclave's parliament had voted in favor of uniting itself with Armenia and a referendum was held, and the vast majority of the Karabakh population voted in favor of independence. The demand to unify with Armenia, which proliferated in the late 1980s, began in a relatively peaceful manner; however, in the following months, it gradually grew into an increasingly violent conflict between ethnic Armenians and ethnic Azerbaijanis, resulting in claims of ethnic cleansing by all sides.Inter-ethnic fighting between the two broke out shortly after the parliament of Nagorno-Karabakh voted to unify the region with Armenia on February 20, 1988. The declaration of secession from Azerbaijan was the final result of a territorial conflict regarding the land. Low-level warfare soon began. And, with much of the military resources in Azerbaijan having been in and around Baku at doomsday - and thus having been destroyed - they fared much worse in these engagements than their Armenian foes, despite their advantage in numbers.
Full-scale fighting erupted in the late winter of 1992. In the spring of 1993, Armenian forces captured regions outside the enclave itself, threatening the involvement of other countries in the region. By the end of the war in 1994, the Armenians were in full control of most of the enclave and also held and currently control a sizable portion of Azerbaijan's territory outside the of enclave, as well as portions of Nakhchivan. As many as 220,000 Armenians and 950,000 Azeris have been displaced as a result of the conflict. Finally Nagorno-Karabakh formally seceded and then was united with Armenia. A truce was signed in May 1994 when it was realized that the war was a stalemate at that point, and peace talks have been held ever since by Armenia, Nakhchivan and Azerbaijan, with no end in sight. It is hoped that the LoN will eventually intervene and aid the talks, but no offer has occurred as of yet.
As a net result, much of southwestern Azerbaijan and portions of Nakhchivan have passed to Armenian control as well, with the populace slowly being expelled and replaced by Armenians where they are not already the majority.
Armenia is a landlocked country in Europe, between the Black and Caspian Seas, bordered on the north and east by Georgia and Azerbaijan and on the south and west by Iran, Kurdistan, and Turkey.
The terrain is mostly mountainous and flat, with fast flowing rivers and few forests but with many trees. The climate is highland continental: hot summers and cold winters. The land rises to 4,095 m above sea-level at Mount Aragats, and no point is below 400 m. Mount Ararat, one of the national symbols of Armenia, is the highest mountain in the region.
Pollution from toxic chemicals such as DDT is not helping the already poor soil quality in many parts of the country.
Armenia is trying to address its environmental problems. It has established a Ministry of Nature Protection and introduced taxes for air and water pollution and solid waste disposal, whose revenues are used for environmental protection activities.
Armenians have their own distinctive alphabet and language. The alphabet was invented in AD 405 by Saint Mesrob Mashtots and consists of thirty-eight letters, two of which were added during the Cilician period. 96% of the people in the country speak Armenian, while 75.8% of the population additionally speaks Russian although English is becoming increasingly popular.The Armenian dance heritage has been one of the oldest, richest and most varied in the Near East. From the fifth to the third millennia B.C., in the higher regions of Armenia there are rock paintings of scenes of country dancing. These dances were probably accompanied by certain kinds of songs or musical instruments. In the fifth century Moses of Khorene (Movsés Khorenats'i) himself had heard of how the old descendants of Aram (that is Armenians) make mention of these things (epic tales) in the ballads for the lyre and their songs and dances.
The elaborate Armenian wedding process begins when the man and woman get engaged. The man's immediate family (parents, grandparents, and often uncles and aunts) go over to the woman's house to ask for permission from the woman's father for the relationship to continue and hopefully prosper. Once permission is granted by the father, the man gives the woman an engagement ring to make it official. To celebrate the mutual family agreement, the woman's family opens a bottle of Armenian brandy. After getting engaged, most families elect to have a semi-large engagement party as well. The girl's family is the one who plans, organizes and pays for the party. There is very little involvement by the man's family.
At the party, a priest is summoned to pray for the soon-to-be husband and wife and give his blessings. Once the words of prayer have concluded, the couple slide wedding bands on each other's right hands (the ring is moved to the left hand once a formal marriage ceremony is conducted by the Armenian church). The customary time to wait for the marriage is about one year. Unlike other cultures, where the bride's family pays for the wedding, in Armenia the man and his family pay for the wedding. The planning and organization process is usually done by the bride and groom-to-be.
Fauna in Armenia is diverse given the country's relatively small geographic size, owing to the varied habitats created by the area's mountainous terrain. Armenia is an important area for migratory animals, about 350 different bird species were recorded in the country. Many of the world's domesticated animals originated in the area Armenia is located in, and the mouflon, the ancestor of domesticated sheep, is present there. Research suggests that about a quarter of the animal species in Armenia are internationally endangered. The mouflon are suffering a great population decline due to poaching and habitat loss, and the Sevan trout, which made up thirty percent of the fish in Lake Sevan, have virtually disappeared.
Until Doomsday, Armenia's economy was based largely on industry—chemicals, electronic products, machinery, processed food, synthetic rubber, and textiles-and highly dependent on outside resources. Agriculture accounts for only 20% of net material product. Armenian mines produce copper, zinc, gold, and lead. The vast majority of energy is produced with imported fuel from Azerbaijan, including gas; the main domestic energy source is hydroelectric. Small amounts of coal, gas, and petroleum have not yet been developed to full potential, although the government has started to slowly increase their use.
Much of the Soviet military inside Armenia escaped destruction on Doomsday. When combined with the larger-than-average amount of Armenian officers, this has led to the Republic possessing a fairly strong military for its size.
The Armenian Army has around 92 T-72s and 8 T-54s in service. Also in service are 70 BMP-1, 4 BMP-1K and 8 BRM-1K infantry fighting vehicles. Wheeled APCs reported included 8 BTR-60s, 83 BTR-60 'look-a-likes' (a CFE equipment category), 19 BTR-70s and a number of BRDM-2 scout vehicles. Armenia's military is presently reducing, having had its budget recently reduced. Its active forces now numbers 20,357 soldiers, including 32,634 conscripts, for a total of about 52,991. This is much reduced from its numbers at the height of the war.
The Armenian Air Force has a small fleet of 8 Su-25 ground attack planes, a single MiG-25 jet fighter and ten Mi-24 gunship helicopters for the defense of Armenian airspace. The Armenian Air Force also has a Il-76 cargo plane for the transport of soldiers and materials. They are all currently grounded as smaller training planes are used to train the pilots, the rest of the fleet remaining inactive until the need arises to use them.
The Armenian Border Guard is subject to the Defense Ministry, patrolling Armenia's borders and providing early warning for the army.
Armenia is not a member of the League of Nations, as the Siberians have blocked their membership due to it being their "territory."
They currently have no relations with the Azeris, and only conclude anything resembling relations with them through Georgia. This has severely hindered efforts by Georgia to create some sort of regional alliance. No formal peace treaty or anything has ever been signed between the two, either - not even a formal ceasefire.
With the Georgians, the Armenians are supplying the Wasteland state of Trabzon as best as possible, in an effort to leave something between them and the Turkish Sultanate, as it is feared that they will intervene on the side of Azerbaijan.
Efforts are also underway to try and convince a neighbor to aid them against the Azeris, but this is unsuccessful yet.