Since the establishment of the Autonomous Oblast of Nagorno Karabakh (AONK) in 1923 through its renaming as the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) in 1936 and until the abolition of local self-government in 1989, AONK / NKAO had twenty changes of its Communist leaders.
There was a particularly volatile period under Stalin with sixteen of these twenty leadership appointments made before 1953, a leadership change on average every two years. Initially, there was a similar period of volatility in Soviet Azerbaijan – 11 leadership changes from 1920 to 1933 – and Soviet Armenia with eight leadership changes between 1920 and 1937. But leadership instability continued in Karabakh for two decades longer and included eight changes of top officials during the tenure of Soviet Azerbaijani leader Mir Jafar Bagirov (1933-53).
This was followed by a relative period of stability from 1950s to 1980s. Gurgen Melkumyan’s tenure lasted eleven years from 1962 to 1973, and his successor Boris Kevorkov became the longest-working Karabakh leader, holding the office from 1973 to 1988.
The incumbent president Bako Sahakyan, holding office since 2007 and with current term continuing until 2020, is thus on track to surpass Melkumyan’s longevity this year, making the length of Sahakyan’s tenure second only to Kevorkov.
List of AONK / NKAO Communist leaders sourced from the Directory of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union:
|7 – 11.1923||Sero Manutsyan|
|17.12.1923 – 3.1924||Hakob Kamari (Bejanyan)|
|4 – 8.1924||Nikolay Sarkisov|
|10.1924 – 8.1929||Artavazd Sahakyants|
|8.1929 – 6.1930||Ashot Karamyan|
|6.1930 – 8.1931||Khoren Varunts|
|9.1931 – 8.1933||Karapet Grigoryan|
|8.1933 – 3.1934||Bagrat Batikyan|
|4.1934 – 9.1937||Pyotr Pogosov|
|9.1937 – 1940||Mikhail Manukyants|
|1940 – 1.1942||Aleksandr Avanesov|
|13.3.1942 – 1946||Yeghishe Grigoryan|
|1946 – 1948||Mikhail Manukyants|
|1948 – 1.1949||Tigran Grigoryan|
|1.1949 – 1952||Sedrak Abramov|
|1952 – 12.1958||Yeghishe Grigoryan|
|12.1958 – 10.1962||Nikolay Shakhnazarov|
|10.1962 – 10.1973||Gurgen Melkumyan|
|10.1973 – 24.2.1988||Boris Kevorkov|
|24.2.1988 – 20.1.1989||Henrikh Poghosyan|