Ter-Petrossian, Levon

Ter-Petrossian, Levon,

1945–, Armenian political leader, president of Armenia (1991–98), b. Aleppo, Syria, grad. Yerevan State Univ. (1971), Leningrad Oriental Studies Institute (Ph.D., 1987). A senior researcher at the Matenadaran Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, he has written more than 70 scholarly publications. Ter-Petrossian became involved in politics in the 1960s when he began to participate in demonstrations calling for the Nagorno-KarabakhNagorno-Karabakh
, region (1990 pop. 192,000), 1,699 sq mi (4,400 sq km), SE Azerbaijan, between the Caucasus and the Karabakh range. Khankendi or Stepanakert (the capital) and Shusha or Shushi are the chief towns.
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 region's removal from Azerbaijan and its incorporation into Armenia. In 1988 he led Matenadaran's Karabakh committee, joined the Armenian committee of the Karabakh movement, and was jailed (1988–89) for his political activities. He was elected to the board of the Armenian National Movement in 1989 and soon became its chairman. That same year he became chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Armenia. When Armenia became independent (1991), Ter-Petrossian was elected its first president; he remained president through the war with Azerbaijan (1992–94). Reelected in 1996, he resigned in 1998 under pressure from political opponents.
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