TODAY.AZ / Politics

The Republic of Azerbaijan: A Historical Overview of the Second Karabakh War

29 June 2022 [11:57] - TODAY.AZ

By Peter Marko Tase,

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (United States of America)


This research paper offers an inquiry into the military attacks committed by the Armenian Armed Forces inside the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan, during the Second Karabakh War in September – November 2020.

This publication tackles the multiple missile strikes orchestrated by the ruthless Armenian Armed Forces against the urban centers and innocent civilians of Azerbaijan as well as repeated violations of International Humanitarian Law by Armenian government authorities.

Furthermore, the Republic of Azerbaijan has experienced Europe’s most cruel environmental holocaust and ethnic cleansing inside its sovereign territory, in a period of over thirty years of occupation by the Armenian Armed Forces (1988 – 2020).

The Second Karabakh War ensured the full territorial sovereignty of the Republic of Azerbaijan, mustered the morale and capability of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, and revealed the total annihilation and destruction of cities and villages committed by the Armenian Armed Forces. This paper also sheds light on the Armenian hegemonic policy in Southern Caucasus and emphasizes its propensity to maintain an intractable conflict with the Republic of Azerbaijan.

1. Introduction

Strategic thought in the Republic of Azerbaijan, under the leadership of President H. E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, has been a pivotal concept that has ensured the nation’s economic progress, the liberation of its entire sovereign territory from the Armenian Armed Forces, and Baku’s indispensable role in promoting regional security and cooperation with European Union member states, NATO Alliance and Italy. President Ilham Aliyev has nurtured strategic cooperation with the Republic of Turkey and with the United States of America.

The main pillars of this essay are: an outlook of the Second Karabakh War taking place inside the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan; operational accomplishments within the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, the liberation of Shusha city, Agdam District, Fuzuli District, and all other regions of Azerbaijan that were under the occupation of Armenian regime for over three decades.

The extensive research and information provided purport to offer a detailed perspective of the current security situation in the Southern Caucasus and aims to further promote the national security and foreign policy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, a principal nation that has played an enormous role to preserve regional peace and constantly strengthen the economic – industrial cooperation with every European country. In the period from September 27 to October 30, 2020, the Armenian armed forces launched 218 missile strikes on peaceful settlements of Azerbaijan located far away from the conflict zone.

According to Prof. Dr. Vusal Gasimli, Executive Director of the Center for Economic Reforms Analysis and Communication (CAERC) in Azerbaijan: “this includes 22 missile strikes that were launched to destroy and trigger collateral damage to the innocent people of Ganja city, second largest city of Azerbaijan. There is a total of 30 rocket strikes against Barda district, and 49 exploded and caused tremendous damage to the people and territory of Goranboy district.” The heroic military operations and war of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan and the liberation of Azerbaijan’s sovereign territory continued until November 10th, 2020.

Along with this, 14 missiles were fired at Aghjabadi district, 18 at Tartar district, eight at Mingachevir district, six missiles at Naftalan city, and nine missiles at Beylagan district. As a result of rocket attacks, there was a large number of dead and wounded innocent civilians.

On September 27, 2020, the Armenian Armed Forces launched a large-scale military attack against the positions of the Azerbaijani army on the front line, using large-caliber weapons, mortars, and artillery. Immediately the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan responded with a counter-offensive along the entire front; conducting successful operations and utilizing precision-guided munitions launched by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), purchased by Azerbaijan from the military technology companies in the Republic of Turkey.

2. Swift liberation tactics by Azerbaijan Armed Forces

In July 2020, the Armenian Armed Forces violated the ceasefire and attacked the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan located in the Tovuz district of Azerbaijan. The immediate retaliation from Azerbaijan’s forces had caused a major blow and significant losses to the Armenian Armed Forces and destroyed some of the key military infrastructure objects of Armenia inside the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. The fighting continued in the following days and during the clashes, Azerbaijan lost a number of military personnel; who died while fighting and containing the brutal attacks from the Armenian Armed Forces, occurring inside the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. The Second Karabakh War was ignited by the Armenian Armed Forces on September 27th, 2020, and continued until November 10th, 2020; engraving the tremendous pride and accomplishments of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan; a splendid asset of the Azerbaijani people that will remain and truly represent a success story in European modern military history books.

On September 27, the Armenian Armed Forces launched a large-scale military attack against the positions of the Azerbaijani army on the front line, using large-caliber weapons, mortars, and artillery. Azerbaijan responded with an effective counter-offensive along the entire front. As a result of retaliation, Azerbaijani troops liberated a number of territories previously occupied by Armenia, as well as secured crucial and strategic heights that ensured a greater control of the territory.

The fighting continued in early October 2020, and Armenia launched various missile attacks aimed at and targeting, the Azerbaijani cities of Ganja, Mingachevir, Khizi and Absheron districts.

On October 28th, 2020, at approximately 1.30 pm local time, Armenia fired two Smerch rockets into Barda, striking a residential neighborhood close to a hospital. The Azerbaijani Prosecutor General’s Office has stated that at least 21 people were killed, over 70 citizens injured, and infrastructure destroyed.

The Armenian Armed Forces fired two 300 mm 9M525 type missiles with a 9N235 cluster warhead containing 72 fragmentation combat elements (total 144) from the Smerch multiple-launch missile system on the metropolitan area of Barda city. As a result, 21 people, including 5 women, were killed, and 70 people, including 8 children and 15 women received injuries of various degrees. Furthermore, over 30 civilian facilities, more than 20 private houses, and 22 vehicles were also heavily damaged by the missile attacks. Since September 27th, 91 civilians were killed and 400 were wounded as a result of Armenian shelling against the cities and residential areas of Azerbaijan. According to Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia: “The firing of cluster munitions into civilian areas is cruel and reckless, and causes untold death, injury, and misery. Cluster munitions are inherently indiscriminate weapons, and their use in any circumstances is banned under international humanitarian law.”

Despite the role of Amnesty International calling on all sides to the conflict to fully respect international humanitarian law and to protect civilians from the effects of hostilities, Yerevan has grossly violated the International Law and killed a large number of Azerbaijani civilians inside the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan, throughout the past three decades. The Armenian government has constantly violated and disregarded collateral damage during the Second Karabakh War; Yerevan has inflicted so many losses among civilian life in Azerbaijan and violated international law. On October 30th, 2020, Human Rights Watch stated that the Armenian Armed Forces “either fired or supplied internationally banned cluster munitions and at least one other type of long-range rocket used in an attack on Barda city, 230 kilometers west of Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku;” the attack was perpetrated on October 28th, 2020.

According to a senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch and a Harvard University graduate, Mrs. Belkis Wille: “There’s a reason these brutal weapons are banned by an international treaty, and using them in a city center shows flagrant disregard for civilian life and international law.” Mrs. Wille accentuated that all countries should condemn using cluster munitions in the war over Nagorno-Karabakh. Human Rights Watch report added that the watchdog reviewed six videos and 28 photographs taken from the scenes of the attack and shared them directly with researchers. Human Rights Watch was able to verify the location of the two sites that were attacked by matching key landmarks in the photographs and videos with satellite imagery. The report stated that “one of the locations confirmed was less than 100 meters from Barda Central Hospital, the city’s largest fully functioning hospital.” It was confirmed in the annual Military Balance 2020 published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, that Armenia has Tochka-U tactical missiles and Iskander ballistic missiles, Smerch, and Chinese-made WM-80 multi-barrel rocket launchers, all of which can deliver cluster munitions warheads.

Cluster munitions are inherently indiscriminate weapons that inflict serious suffering to the noncombatant population many years after their use and are internationally banned by a treaty that is signed by more than 100 states. According to Colonel Babak Alakbarov, high ranking officer of the State Border Service (SBS), Hero of the Patriotic War, who showed great courage in the operations along the Araz River: “During the Patriotic War, every task and obligation set forth by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev to the State Border Service were duly fulfilled.”

Colonel Babak Alakbarov emphasized for Report News Agency that: “one of the reasons for the successful operations in the Second Karabakh War is the effective use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The location and coordinates of the enemy were determined by UAVs and then fully transmitted to us. We also used Israeli-made IAI Harops to inflict heavy blows to the enemy, destroyed their military equipment.” In the Khudafarin operation, there were used other pieces of aircraft to conduct reconnaissance and collect intelligence. After rescuing, clearing Amirvarli village of Jabrayil District from the enemy forces, an operational plan was prepared for the liberation of the Khudafarin bridge.

Colonel Babak Alakbarov stated that: “Azerbaijani Armed Forces were tasked to take the heights around Khudafarin. As a result of a blitzkrieg operation, we liberated the heights from the enemy. The location of the enemy was detected in advance by UAVs. Then we crossed to the rear of the enemy, and when we settled there, the Armenians did not notice it. As a result of the ambush set up there, we carried out a successful operation against the enemy troops and destroyed them. Thanks to our advantages over the Armenians in this location, we did not have any martyrs or wounded soldiers.” One of the most successful battles in the Patriotic War, with intensive clashes that continued for 44 days and resulted in the victory of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, was the operation along the Araz River. As a result of these successful operations, on October 18th, 2020, the Khudafarin bridge was liberated from the enemy forces and the 27-year-long occupation and longing for this historic landmark to the nation of Azerbaijan, was over.

The glorious tricolor flag of Azerbaijan has been mounted since October 18th, on the liberated Khudafarin bridge. The Supreme Commander-in-Chief President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev conveyed this joy to the people of Azerbaijan. The liberation of the Khudafarin bridge, which historically connected the north and south of Azerbaijan, was reported to the Supreme Commander-in-Chief by the officer of the State Border Service, Hero of the Patriotic War Babak Alakbarov.

3. Armed Forces of Azerbaijan conduct impressive operations

The notable Victory in the Patriotic War that was launched by the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, on September 27th, 2020, in response to the constant provocations of Armenian armed forces on the front lines, brought the Armenian political leadership and its army to a disastrous capitulation and well-deserved humiliation. In the military units of Azerbaijan, tucked in the trenches, soldiers have fought side by side no matter what ethnic group they represented. The Lezghins, Talysh, Udin, or Avar, all soldiers from these ethnic minority groups in Azerbaijan have shown a great deal of heroism, commitment, courage, and valor. There were so many examples of heroism in the Patriotic War of Azerbaijan that will remain forever in history. Heroism, high-level of fighting spirit, and patriotism of Azerbaijani soldiers were the principal factors that brought impressive results on the battlefield and secured the liberation of the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. The frontline soldier knew what he was fighting for, and had a clear objective, and this further increased the feeling of patriotism. Alakbarov states that “if there was no patriotism, the army would have lost the war, even if it possesses the most modern weapons in the world.”

On October 19th, 2020, the attack on Nakhchivan, the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan, was a manifestation of weakness by the Armenian leadership and its military personnel, as the confrontation with Azerbaijan was ruining Yerevan’s morale and resilience on the frontlines. According to Dr. Elkhan Alasgarov, Director of the Baku Network Expert Council: “Armenia has used operational-tactical missiles against civilian facilities and this is another war crime that Yerevan continues to commit against the territory of Azerbaijan. First, they fired at Ganja, but now, after the preventive measures taken by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, they chose another target to attack - Nakhchivan.” The purpose here was the same - to cause a big international conflict and drag Russia into it. Therefore, the Armenian leadership constantly declared that Turkey is fighting against Yerevan [on the battlefield], it wanted to make the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict international, involve as many countries as possible, and move away from responsibility for the Karabakh settlement.

Two individuals must be punished for shelling the territory of Nakhchivan, where no military operations are taking place – Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who gave the order to fire tactical missiles against the civilian population and his Defense Minister David Tonoyan. This war crime in Nakhchivan doesn’t contribute to the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, on the contrary, it causes a new aggravation. Based on the agreement signed during the establishment of the autonomy in Nakhchivan, the Republic of Turkey has political and legal responsibility for its security and territorial integrity as part of Azerbaijan. This means that the strike on Nakhchivan was aimed at drawing both Turkey and Russian Federation into the conflict.

4. Diplomatic Achievements of President Ilham Aliyev

The 44-day war put an end to nearly 30 years of Armenian occupation, ensured the liberation of Azerbaijan’s lands and the restoration of the country’s territorial integrity. With these military operations, the government of Azerbaijan had embraced its economic prowess and urgently began the implementation of large public works in the districts of Agdam, Fuzuli, Qubadli, Khojavend, Kalbajar and other cities.

The 44 – day Second Nagorno Karabakh War was an intensive period of successful military operations by the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan as well as geopolitical dialogue and diplomacy between the President of Azerbaijan H. E. Ilham Aliyev and other heads of state in Eurasia. On November 3rd, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin conducted a conversation via teleconference call with the President of Azerbaijan H. E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev. On the same day, the Armenian armed forces were forced to retreat, suffering heavy losses. On November 3rd, the list of the destroyed military equipment of the Armenian armed forces was announced, including the elimination of an Armenian UAV. Armenia violated the ceasefire regime on the state border. Nevertheless, the Azerbaijani army secured a full advantage over the Armenian armed forces.

Furthermore, the Armenian armed forces fired at Azerbaijan’s Fuzuli region, using Smerch multiple-launch missile system. The Armed Forces of Azerbaijan have neutralized the reconnaissance and sabotage group of Armenia nearby the direction of Azerbaijan’s Zangilan region and two ammunition depots of the Armenian military near Khankandi city were destroyed. A sniper group of the Armenian armed forces was destroyed, at a time when the Armenian armed forces fired on Azerbaijan’s Agdam and Aghjabadi regions.

The 44-day war had produced the largest levels of military desertion rate from the frontlines by members of the Armenian Armed Forces, in the entire history of Armenia and in the history of Europe since World War I. Many high-ranking officers of Armenia have abandoned their fellow soldiers and assignments on the front line, as a result, the glorious Armed Forces of Azerbaijan have diligently organized a series of offensive incursions to liberate the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan, with spectacular outcomes and very few casualties.

The Armed Forces of Azerbaijan were very successful in eliminating the commander of the Armenian armed forces’ tank battalion and several Armenian tanks were destroyed because of their swift maneuvers. Furthermore, on November 3rd (2020), the phosphorus shells fired by Armenia at Azerbaijan’s Tartar region had been neutralized. Accurate information about these military operations had been prepared by the Azerbaijan State News Agency (AZERTAC), in publishing video footage of the destruction of the Armenian armed forces’ tanks in the battles around Khojavend region, where the commander of the Armenian armed forces’ motorized infantry regiment was killed.

On November 10th, 2020, Baku and Yerevan signed a ceasefire that was brokered by Moscow; this historic event marked the end of six weeks of intensive fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijani Armed Forces declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw all its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that were occupied and plundered by the Armenian Government since the early 1990s, the invasion lasted for nearly three decades.

This peace agreement demanded the immediate return of territories of Azerbaijan that were occupied by Armenia, including Kalbajar, Agdam, and Lachin regions. Before the signing of the deal, the Azerbaijani army had liberated around 300 villages, settlements, city centers, and the historic city of Shusha. [9] During the final phase of the war, after Armenia’s surrender, Azerbaijan had shown a genuine example of humanitarianism in Eurasia. After the signing of the trilateral agreement and surrender of Armenia; Yerevan requested 10 days more for the withdrawal of its troops from the region. The Republic of Azerbaijan once again demonstrated a strong sense of humanism and taking into account the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin; extended the deadline of Armenia’s withdrawal from Kalbajar and Lachin regions until November 25th, 2020.

5. Conclusion

On May 12th, 2021, Europe and the world received an important cultural message from Shusha’s Jidir Duzu plain: The “Kharibulbul” Music Festival, held in the recently liberated territory of Azerbaijan, was an impressive event that pondered and emphasized once again the importance of peace, economic prosperity, multiculturalism and how these principal values serve to uphold the harmonious coexistence of various ethnic groups in the South Caucasus region.

For Mr. Aslan Aslanov “The performances by representatives of various peoples living in Azerbaijan demonstrated the proper way on how countries should develop. Only multi-confessional and multiethnic countries and societies can develop, can have unity, national solidarity and peace.” Mr. Aslanov underscores that “Azerbaijan has been promoting multiculturalism and the coexistence of different peoples both in the country and internationally. We share our experience and show that this is possible.” The “Kharibulbul” music festival has become another confirmation of this policy that has been promoted by the President of Azerbaijan, H. E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev. Another remarkable public relations strategy is the genuine publications of First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva on social networks, as well as the footage taken by festival participants during a walkabout in Shusha. These major publications and video recordings clearly show that life in the ancient city of Shusha is already back to normal and restoration projects are moving forward.

Conversely, the UNESCO officials have refused to visit Karabakh in order to document the acts of barbarism committed in the destroyed cities and villages during the years of Armenian occupation; three decades of destruction, and the environmental holocaust committed by Yerevan’s ruling elite.

Azerbaijan is a highly creative nation determined to build large infrastructure projects and major industrial centers that would benefit the regions of Kalbajar, Fuzuli, Qubadli District, and Zangilan District. The recent inauguration of Fuzuli International Airport in Azerbaijan, with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev; is the testimony of Azerbaijan’s political willingness to strengthen the regional economic cooperation and pursue effective partnerships with member countries of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the European Union

Together with the people of Azerbaijan, and thanks to the glorious Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, Eurasia’s civilizations have returned to the magnificent city of Shusha! Under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, Shusha will become one of the most beautiful cities in the world and a premier center of European intercultural traditions. The head of state has raised the flag of Azerbaijan in liberated territories, ignited a bonfire in Shusha on the occasion of Novruz, prayed with his family in local mosques (that were destroyed by Armenian vandalism), inaugurated the beginning of new public works, airports and other infrastructure projects in Karabakh, washed his hands in the crystalline waters of the Araz River in front of the famous Khudafarin bridge (Khodaafarin Bridges - Xudaf?rin körpül?ri); these are very special moments that exemplify the deeply rooted historical heritage of Karabakh as an integral territory with an important meaning for the people of Azerbaijan; representing the deeply rooted legacy of Azerbaijan in this region.

In May 2021, in his congratulatory message to his Azerbaijani colleague, president Ilham Aliyev on the occasion of Republic Day; Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an expressed confidence that Azerbaijani-Turkish brotherhood and cooperation will make a significant guarantee for ensuring peace, prosperity, and stability in the region. The Turkish president attended a groundbreaking ceremony of a Turkish school in Azerbaijan’s newly liberated Shusha city during his visit to the country on June 14-16, 2021.

Shusha, along with 300 other city centers, villages and settlements were liberated from around 30 years of Armenian occupation during the war between September 27 and November 10. The war ended on November 10th, 2020, with the signing of a trilateral peace deal by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders. On January 11, 2021, the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders signed the second statement to unblock all economic and transport communications in the region.

The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s. Under the peace deal, Azerbaijan also recovered its Armenian-occupied territories: Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions. Azerbaijan has spent US$1.5 billion on the restoration of its liberated territories in 2021

On November 5th, 2020, the International Eurasia Press Fund (IEPF), under the leadership of its President Umud Mirzayev, and Vice President Ramil Azizov, submitted a report on the crimes committed by the Armenian occupying forces against Azerbaijan. The report is dedicated to the results of the escalation of the Armenian military forces on the frontline in Karabakh in September and October (2020). The report was prepared by IEPF observation mission members, IEPF representative in the US and International Relations expert Peter Marko Tase, IEPF Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Geneva, UN Human Rights Committee, and Professor of Law Osman Al Hajj. The report reflects the assessments of the Armenian military units on the consequences of the aggression of the Armenian military forces against Azerbaijani civilians, strategic facilities, and social infrastructure. The report deals with war crimes committed as a result of the shelling of towns and villages far from the line of contact by the Armenian military during the military operations that began on September 27. The report identifies the actions of Armenian military units during the Second Karabakh War, which contradict the norms of international law

The victorious 44-day war showed again that all citizens in Azerbaijan live in conditions of friendship, brotherhood, and solidarity. In his remarks at the Azadlig Square in Baku, the Turkish head of State emphasized: “The fog in the Shusha mountains is no longer as morose. The flower of Khari Bulbul (Ophrys caucasian) is free and will become even more beautiful. The Kendelenchay River will abound in water even more. The Araz River will sing its song even more loudly. The voices performing “Karabakh Shikestesi” will sound even louder.” For the first time in my life, I saw a leader with great determination, fortitude, and unbridled ambition, President Ilham Aliyev, the Victorious Commander-in-Chief, conducting a great military campaign that has ensured the recovery of all sovereign lands of Azerbaijan. The head of state of Azerbaijan during his first trip to Shusha, emphasized: “The Azerbaijani people would never have come to terms with the loss of Shusha. That is why the liberation of Shusha from occupation had a special place among our goals.”

On the other hand, the Armenian chauvinists in 2021, have pursued an active slander operation, and disinformation campaign against the people and government of Azerbaijan. The Armenian lobby has insulted the national dignity of Azerbaijan while collaborating with their foreign agents of influence that continue to operate in many countries including Argentina, Uruguay, Germany and Paraguay to mention a few. The Armenian government has recruited high-level government officials from Paraguay, including Ambassador Federico Alberto Gonzalez Franco, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay: Luis Alberto Castiglioni Soria (the current Minister of Industry and Commerce of Paraguay, and former MFA of Paraguay), Ambassador Eladio Loizaga Caballero and Ambassador Rigoberto Gauto Vielman; these are only a few officials from the many Latin American governments that work closely with Yerevan’s autocratic regime to promote the chauvinistic agenda of Nikol Pashinyan in Latin America and in the UN Headquarters in New York.

These Latin American diplomats in Asunción, have facilitated significant publication space and provided priceless propaganda channels in Paraguay’s largest newspapers, government websites, and TV Channels, in support of Armenia’s abhorrent campaign against the dynamic and effective Government of Azerbaijan and the hard-working, peace-loving people of Azerbaijan. These government leaders in Paraguay did everything in their power to suspend and block the establishment of the Center for Azerbaijan Political and Historical Studies in the National University of the East (UNE), Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. The Center for Azerbaijan Political and Historical Studies was inaugurated and founded in 2017 by Mr. Rolando Segovia Páez, Director General of International Relations at UNE. The Government of Armenia has strongly demonstrated its unwillingness to engage in peaceful dialogue and pursue diplomatic negotiations with the Government of Azerbaijan. According to Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, the number of mines cleared at Fuzuli International Airport territory goes beyond 1,200 mines that have already been cleared.

The subject of the second Karabakh war will be included in the textbooks of Azerbaijan. According to President Ilham Aliyev:

“I have already ordered that the subject of the second Karabakh war be included in history books in our educational programs, schools, and universities. Our relevant agencies, including the Ministry of Education, are working on this issue to study our glorious history. Because the international media are still publishing false and distorted information about the second Karabakh war. Therefore, we must convey the true story based on facts both to our citizens and to the world. I do hope that this issue will be reflected in the Turkish history books as well, especially if we consider Turkey’s great political and moral support for Azerbaijan since the early hours of the war.”

President Aliyev will remain in the modern history of Europe as the most successful and courageous head of state in the post-Cold War Era.


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