YEREVAN ( — “All men and women of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic are part of the army, but we cannot say how many soldiers are now operative over the frontline,” Italian photographer Emanuele Amighetti was told by an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Stepanakert when he visited Artsakh.

The Italian photographer writes that almost one year after the April War an ordinary life is going on among villages and streets of the Armenia-backed unrecognized nation. All the aspiring republic’s inhabitants clearly remember the destructive violence of the decades-old conflict. Some of them aspire for a resolution. They believe in a better future to live for the next generations.

Mr. Amighetti reminds that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict started in 1988 and escalated into full-scale war when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The conflict left 65,000 ethnic Armenians and 40,000 ethnic Azeris displaced. He notes that while a cease-fire was declared in May 1994 and the violence abated, soldiers are still engaged in defending their positions over the frontline.

“Few days before I was there [in Artsakh], one of the Artsakh young soldiers was shot by Azeri snipers and injured. Transferred to the hospital in Yerevan, his life is still on risk,” Emanuele Amighetti writes.

He recalls the 2016 April military clashes, when in Artsakh village of Talish, Azeris forces entered houses killing four old-men. Their ears were brutally cut off. Traces of those raids are still visible walking through bombed-out houses, shops and destroyed schools. Locales were transferred to near villages, where they found relatives and neighbors.

“The border territory is now full of military camps and bases proving how military life is not over. In Stepanakert, the capital, a military academy substituted the traditional high-school. Male and female teenagers aged 13-18 are learning maths, history and english after physical exercises and marches. Unemployment is high, salaries are low, opportunities are few; the young continue to leave in search of better futures abroad,” the photographer notes.

The full list of photos are available here.

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