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Lydia Kasparian


Artsakh, BEFORE

We are not done with the era of massive population displacements, exoduses and exiles. I was able to go to Artsakh in Nagorno-Karabakh twice, BEFORE this region was brutally emptied of its inhabitants in September 2023.

Armenians have lived in this region of Nagorno-Karabakh for centuries. They wanted to take advantage of the right of peoples to self-determination, which led to a conflict with Azerbaijan in 2020 and a defeat of the Armenians after 44 days of war which caused thousands of deaths.

In order to push its advantage, Azerbaijan then placed the region and its 120,000 Armenian inhabitants under total blockade for ten months until September 2023 when a new blitzkrieg literally crushed the population who had to flee massively in order to take refuge in Armenia: more than 100,000 people have taken the path of exile, leaving everything behind.

I want to show with these photos what, today, no longer exists: Stepanakert, the capital of Artsakh, and its surroundings were emptied in just a few days, leaving empty streets, abandoned children’s strollers, deserted apartments… everything is now desolation. I wonder where all these people have gone that I met and photographed so recently and I worry about the fate of the heritage left behind them.

Will we be able, one day, to learn lessons from History?

Lydia Kasparian

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