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Dear World Factbook editors,

For years your Factbook has been a handy reference tool and almanac.
Recently, after reviewing the information for the Republic of Armenia (URL:
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/am.html), several
unfortunate inaccuracies of non-statistical nature came to my attention in
the Background information.

While many Armenians indeed might believe that Armenia was the first nation
to adopt Christianity, facts are otherwise. The first nation in the world to
adopt Christianity as a an official state religion was Osroene (Edessa)
under its king Abgar IX, in c. 206 A.D., i.e., a whole century before the
purported similar adoption of Christianity as a state religion in Armenia
(e.g., URL: http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Edessa). After
Osroene, the following partial list of states adopted Christianity before
Armenia: Eritria, Ethiopia, Caucasian Albania (Azerbaijan) and Iberia

The other issue is regarding the usage of the cliche "Muslim Azerbaijan"
when describing the war with Armenia, which is immediately following the
abovementioned illusion about Armenia being a "first Christian nation". The
unsuspecting reader is to believe that the war happened on purely religious
grounds, a sort of clash of civilizations, whilst in fact it was a case of
pure land grab and ethnic cleansing. Such improper manipulation of the issue
of religion is not only factually imprecise, but inconsistent with other
entries in the World Factbook. Other regional conflicts, such as between
Muslim Ajaria and Christian Georgia, the neighbor of Azerbaijan, are not
even listed in the Georgia page, despite being a clear conflict.

Then, the map of both Armenia and Azerbaijan fails to show the small exclave
of Kerki just north of Naxcivan, an Azerbaijani territory - while showing
two other small Azerbaijani exclaves in the Armenian territory and one
Armenian exclave in the Azerbaijani territory. Any official government or UN
map shows the exclave of Kerki correctly.

Finally, when describing Karabakh region in the Armenia page (but not in the
Azerbaijan page), the Factbook is using another erroneous idea about
Karabakh being "assigned to Soviet Azerbaijan in the 1920s by Moscow". All
relevant official maps and Soviet documents of the time clearly show that
Karabakh was part of Azerbaijan, then upon Sovietization of Armenia was
pressured to be assigned to it but due to Azerbaijani resistance, was left
within Azerbaijan. All the relevant archive letters are available upon
request. A recent State Department historical background clarifies the issue
of historic land ownership irrefutably (all comments in brackets are mine):
"In the late 18th century, several khanates [Azerbaijani states], including
Karabakh [founded in 1747], emerged in the south Caucasus to challenge the
waning influence of the [Iranian Empire and] Ottoman Empire. After the
Russian Empire eventually took control over the region in 1813, Azerbaijani
Turks began to emigrate from Karabakh while the Armenian population of
mountainous (Nagorno) Karabakh grew. With the 1917 Russian Revolution,
Azerbaijan and Armenia each declared independence [in 1918] and sought
control over Karabakh during the Russian Civil War. In 1923, after the
Bolshevik takeover of the Caucasus, Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) was made an
autonomous region [NKAO] within the Azerbaijani Soviet Republic" (Source:
U.S. Department of State, History of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict, March
30, 2001).

I hope that all of the corrections will be carefully reviewed and after any
additional verification, will be promptly applied to the next editions of
the World Factbook.

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