By Federal Research Division

Within the final a long time of the 19th century, the Armenians' tendency towards Europeanization antagonized Turkish officers and inspired their view that Armenians have been a international, subversive point within the sultan's realm. through 1890 the swift progress of the Kurdish inhabitants in Anatolia, mixed with the immigration of Muslims from the Balkans and the Caucasus, had made the Armenian inhabitants of Anatolia an more and more endangered minority. In 1895 Ottoman suspicion of the westernized Armenian inhabitants ended in the bloodbath of 300,000 Armenians through precise order of the Ottoman govt.

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Then, in mid-1994 the opposition accelerated its activity by mounting antigovernment street demonstrations of up to 50,000 protesters. In the protracted struggle over a new constitution, the opposition intensified rhetoric supporting a document built around a strong legislature rather than the strong-executive version supported by Ter-Petrosian. By the fall of 1994, little progress had been made even on the method of deciding this critical issue. While opposition parties called for a constitutional assembly, the president offered to hold a national referendum, following which he would resign if defeated.

Accordingly, in 1993 prices rose to an average of 130 percent of wages, which the government indexed through that year. The scarcity of many commodities, caused by the blockade, also pushed prices higher. In the first post-Soviet years, and especially in 1993, plant closings and the energy crisis caused unemployment to more than double. At the same time, the standard of living of the average Armenian deteriorated; by 1993 an estimated 90 percent of the population were living below the official poverty line.

Thus, the three republics devoted critical resources to military campaigns in a period when the need for internal restructuring was paramount. In Georgia, minority separatist movements primarily on the part of the Ossetians and the Abkhaz, both given intermittent encouragement by the Soviet regime over the years demanded fuller recognition in the new order of the early 1990s. Asserting its newly gained national prerogatives, Georgia responded with military attempts to restrain separatism forcibly.

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