In 1988, a movement of support began in Armenia for the constitutional struggle of Nagorno Karabagh Armenians to exercise their right to self-determination. (This predominantly Armenian populated autonomous region had been placed under the jurisdiction of Azerbaijan by an arbitrary decision of Stalin in 1923.) That same year, in 1988, Armenia was rocked by severe earthquakes that killed thousands, and supplies from both the Soviet Union and the West were blocked by the Azerbaijani Government fighting the Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh. Both of these issues have dominated Armenia’s political arena since the first democratic election held in Armenia during the Soviet era. In 1990, the Armenian National Movement won a majority of seats in the parliament and formed a government. On September 21, 1991, the Armenian people overwhelmingly voted in favor of independence in a national referendum, and an independent Armenia came into being.