The early history of Armenia was one of foreign domination with, at various times, the Turkish, Persian and Russian empires claiming control. In the early part of the 20th century the Armenians under Turkish rule suffered brutal persecution. Armenia enjoyed a brief period of independence after the First World War but in 1920 the country was proclaimed a Soviet Socialist Republic. After the collapse of Communism, 99% of voters supported a breakaway from the Soviet Union. A declaration of independence in Sept. 1991 was followed by presidential elections after which President Ter-Petrosyan came to an agreement on economic cooperation with the other Soviet republics and joined the CIS. A new constitution adopted in July 1995 led to National Assembly elections. President Ter-Petrosyan was re-elected in Sept. 1996. OSCE observers noted ’very serious irregularities’ in the conduct of the election.
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