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As of 1995, Armenia is one of only two of the 15 former Soviet states not headed by a former communist, now maintaining a free press and vigorous new multi-party system that it has not had before.
Armenia is still recovering from a severe 1988 earthquake that destroyed several cities and killed some 50,000 people.
(The remaining 90 percent in Eastern Turkey lies empty of Armenians today.) Though Stalin successfully encouraged some 200,000 diaspora Armenians to "return" to Soviet Armenia after World War II, the Stalin years were marked by political and economic oppression.
On September 23, 1991, with the Soviet Union dissolving, citizens of Armenia overwhelmingly voted to form another independent republic.
During World War I (1915-1920), with the collapse of the Ottoman empire and the rise of Pan-Turkish nationalism, the Turkish government attempted to eradicate the Armenian nation in what is now termed "the first genocide of the twentieth century." One million Turkish Armenians were slaughtered, while the other million survivors were cast from their Anatolian homeland into a global diaspora that remains to this day.
On May 28, 1918, facing death, some Armenians declared an independent Armenian state in the northeast corner of Turkey.
The estimated 700,000 Americans of Armenian ancestry are descended from an ancient nation located at the borders of modern Russia, Turkey, and Iran.