Russia does not trust Azerbaijan - June, 2008

For Russia, Armenia is a geopolitical asset. For Armenia, Russia is a lifeline. This Caucasian reality, if I may, is in itself precarious for Armenia because Armenia, as a nation-state, exists simply due to Russia's presence in the region. However, during certain times in history, we Armenians did have some problems with the superpower to our north. During the late 19th century, Czarist Russia began having some problems with Armenian nationalists. In the early 20th century, Bolsheviks overthrew the Russian Czar and gave away historic Armenian lands to Turks and Azeris. However, it needs to be pointed out that those who gave away Armenians lands to the Turks were Bolsheviks and not Russians. The Bolsheviks did what they did simply because they were attempting to bring Turkey, unlike Armenia at the time a major regional geopolitical player, into the Bolshevik union.

A tiny, landlocked, impoverished and resource-less nation surrounded by enemies does not hold much weight in geopolitics. To compensate for Armenia's less than ideal national assets, we Armenians need to play a better/deeper role in Russian society. There are well over two million Armenians in Russia. Similar to how Jews have molded American mindsets to support of Israel, we Armenians need to mold Russian mindset towards Armenia. Russia must be made to see Armenia as a crucial regional asset that it must protect. Russians must be convinced that Armenia is an natural ally. Armenians must convince them that a powerful pro-Russian Armenia in the Caucasus will ultimately be a bulwark against Turkish, American, Islamic, Iranian and/or NATO designs for the region.

Many of Russia's senior national policy makers, intelligentsia and nationalists already realize this about Armenia. As long as Russian nationalists are in power, Armenia does not have much to worry about. From a Russian nationalistic perspective, Russian-Armenian alliance is a natural union. All current political indicators suggest that Armenia will continue playing a very important role in the Kremlin for the foreseeable future. However, another unforeseen calamity in the region (man made or otherwise) may change all that. Thus, Armenia needs to use its alliance with Russia today to build a viable economy and a powerful military so that 'if' things change in the Kremlin in the future, Armenia would be better able to handle itself without outside support.

The Caucasus is a tough and unforgiving neighborhood. I really don't see how Armenia would survive in the long-term without Russian protection. The situation we are in is not pretty. That is why I take regional politics seriously.

Nevertheless, one does not even have to read between the lines anymore to see the pro-Armenian stance Russian officials have been taking regarding Nagorno Karabagh (Artsakh). Recent comments made by Vladimir Kazimirov, the former Russian co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, clearly reveals Moscow's interest in keeping the status-quo in the south Caucasus. Moscow is clearly signaling that it does not want to see an armed clash between Armenia and Azerbaijan. And if such a situation does occur Moscow is clearly forecasting the defeat of the Azeri military.

Under this scenario the Armenian Republic along with Artsakh will ultimately come out as the victorious side. This will also ultimately vindicate the oft criticized "soft" approach of the Sargsyan/Kocharyan administration in Yerevan with regards to the Artsakh problem. The complimentary comments by the Russian diplomat towards Armenian authorities is a vivid example of how well officials in Yerevan have been carrying out their diplomatic obligations internationally as well as playing the pro-Russian card regionally.

In other words, by loudly stating that they are ready for compromises with Azerbaijan, knowing full well that Azerbaijan is not willing to compromise the fate of Artskah, Yerevan is expressing to the international community its commitment to peace and stability in the region - and Baku is looking like the aggressor. And Yerevan's more than close relationship with the region's only superpower, Russia, and Baku's less than ideal relations with Moscow, are yet other factors that are fundamentally helping the Armenian side. I only wish more Armenians were able to understand these nuances in international diplomacy, not to mention the complex realities of living the the Caucasus.



Hikmet Hajizade: "Russia does not trust Azerbaijan, considering it to be a country of a different unfriendly civilization"

June, 2008

Day.Az interview with famous political scientist Hikmet Hajizade.

- What do you expect from official visit of Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to Azerbaijan, scheduled for July 3-4?

- Perhaps, several important intergovernmental issues will be discussed,but the most important, what Russia is concerned about are energy problems. Russia tries to prevent Caspian energy sources supply to the world market via Azerbaijan bypassing Russia. Moreover, Russia tries to possess the Caspian gas to strengthen monopolistic positions of Gazprom in ensuring gas for Europe. Perhaps, we will be persuaded to reject support of Georgia.

- A number of experts state that Russia is still ruled by Vladimir Putin, while Dmitri Medvedev fulfills purely representative functions. Do you agree with this point?

- Yes, it is this way so far, but I would like to note that Putin has once been not the sole ruler of Russia and was a representative of a powerful grouping comprising senior officers of the FSS and reconnaissance. Medvedev has not taken any steps, not envisioned by the strategy of the said grouping. His speech during the economic forum in Petersburg was in fact the repetition of the confrontation Munich speech of Putin. But let's not hurry. Medvedev has time for demonstrating himself as an independent politician.

- Vladimir Putin's presidency was marked with a thaw in the Azerbaijani-Russian relations. Can we expect further closing of our countries under Dmitri Medvedev?

- Well, anyway, the relations will not worsen significantly under him, except for any extraordinary cases. Some toughening of policy towards Azerbaijani migrants is possible, which can be prevented by our diplomacy.

- How far can Russia go in its loyalty to Azerbaijan and can we expect from Russia to impose pressure on Armenia strong enough for this country to return the occupied lands to us?

- Under the current course, laid in the mid 1990s and finally formed under Putin, no changes are expected in the Russia's policy towards conflicts in the Caucasus. Too much should change in Russia and in the world for Moscow to reject support of separatism in the Caucasus.

- What can Azerbaijan give to Russia in exchange for such steps as pressure on Armenia?

- Russia demands too much: to reject our independent external and energy policy, give up developing relations with Turkey and NATO, reject support to Georgia, join the Collective Security Treaty, allow Russian frontier guards to guard our borders and return troops to Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, by doing it all we will not have a guarantee that we will get Karabakh as Russia does not trust Azerbaijan considering it to be a part of a different unfriendly civilization. Russia strategists consider that Azerbaijan will always dream of being with Turkey, strive for European integration and independence from Russia.


Russian Diplomat says Baku's Resumption of War to be Devastating

"Resumption of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh would cause more damage than in 1992-1994, since collisions would take place between well-equipped armies not guerilla troops," said Vladimir Kazimirov, the former Russian co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group. If war resumes, he said, neither side would manage a victorious blitzkrieg. Hostilities will linger for the next 4-5 years and the consequences will be destructive for the initiator first and foremost. This is a fact that demands very thorough consideration by the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, he said.

According to Kazimorov, the war is a threat for the entire international community as well. "The South Caucasus is not a region deserving indifference," he said, noting that it won't be easy to justify new carnage or an occupation of Armenia, since everyone sees Yerevan and Stepanakert as insisting on a compromise solution, while Baku stubbornly threatens war if Armenians don't relinquish all territorial claims, including Nagorno-Karabakh. The Repetition of hostilities will be perceived as a great anomaly," the Russian diplomat said.

"The side that dares to violate the armistice will immediately draw universal condemnation for breaking from the principles of the OSCE and the commitments to the CoE," he stated. "World powers and influential international organizations, which have worked for a peaceful resolution of the conflict will severely condemn the aggressor," he added.

Although Article 9 of the Azerbaijani constitution rejects war as a means of settling international conflicts, Azeri leaders have already undermined the authority of their Laws by making repeated bellicose statements, Kazimorov noted. They don't fail to cite the Constitution when commenting on the referendum on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh but they completely ignore the above-mentioned article, he added. Baku's role in exacerbating the situation in the Caucasus is becoming more apparent, Kazimorov stated. Baku has been intensifying the arms race in the Caucasus by drastically boosting its defense budget year after year. While President Heydar Aliyev has completely neglected the agreement with Armenia and Karabakh on the suppression of border incidents, he noted.

Every day the Azeri Defense Ministry reports a violation of the ceasefire by Armenians. However, if Baku truly wanted to suppress such incidents, why doesn't it follow the agreement officially signed under the aegis of the OSCE? Meanwhile, Yerevan and Stepanakert have time and again stated their support of the agreement. If Baku thinks this agreement imperfect, it could be amended or replaced by another one. However, it is clear that Azerbaijan prefers the mounting casualties so as to aggravate tensions and pursue their hysterical propaganda. According to Daniel Fried, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs armed revenge will entail grave consequences and ruin Azerbaijan's future.


Russian expert: Military settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict is an affair that will result in collapse of Azerbaijan

National consensus has been reached in Nagorno Karabakh regarding the fact that “the republic must be an independent state,” so victory of one or another candidate at the presidential election will not radically change on the general situation, head of the Caucasus department at the Institute for CIS Studies Mikhail Alexandrov said. “The matter concerns nuances. For instance, Bako Saakyan is quite moderate and is orientated towards connection with Armenia and talks with Azerbaijan. Masis Mailyan is tougher, he opposes returning of seven occupied areas to Azerbaijan and speaks for a more autonomous from Yerevan negotiation stance,” Alexandrov said adding that in any case, the key direction in Stepanakert will be dialog. At the same time, he noted that Ilham Aliev’s hopes for returning Karabakh through dialog are naïve.

“A military settlement is an affair that will result in collapse of Azerbaijan as a state. It is unreal for Baku to win over Armenia and the NKR, no matter how strongly they increase their military spending,” the expert believes. The matter concerns not only money, but efficiency of the Army. “Besides, Armenia is connected with Russia by military agreements; the most up-to-date military equipment is supplied there at lower prices. Some types of weapons are impossible for Azerbaijan to acquire in foreign markets; nobody will sell them to it. So, it will be ungrounded to hope for superiority and a Blitzkrieg,”

the analyst stressed adding that “this form of being looped” can result in Azerbaijan losing the seven areas of the Nagorno Karabakh security belt. Now, he believes, there is still an opportunity to implement the formula “peace for territories”: Azerbaijan recognizes Nagorno Karabakh independence and the latter returns the territories. “However, now, the time is not serving Baku. The Kosovo precedent that, most probably, will end with a one-sided recognition of the territory’s independence by the West will only encourage Karabakh in its intentions. ‘The Fifth Column’ and a coup in Stepanakert are ruled out, because there is no single Azerbaijani there,” Mikhail Alexandrov is quoted as saying by PanARMENIAN.Net.


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Dear reader,

Arevordi will be taking a sabbatical to tend to personal matters. New blog commentaries will henceforth be posted on an irregular basis. Please note that the comments board however will continue to be moderated on a regular basis.

The last 20 years has helped me see the Russian nation as the last front on earth against the scourges of Westernization, Americanization, Globalism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism. I have also come to see Russia as the last hope humanity has for the preservation of classical western/European civilization, Apostolic Christianity and the traditional nation-state. These sobering realizations compelled me to create this blog in 2010. Immediately, this blog became one of the very few voices in the vastness of cyberia that dared to preach about the dangers of Globalism and the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance, and perhaps the only voice preaching about the strategic importance of Armenia's close ties to the Russian nation. From about 2010 to 2015, I did monthly, at times weekly, commentaries about Russian-Armenian relations and Eurasian geopolitics in general. It was very difficult for me as I had no assistance in this endeavor. The time I put into this blog therefore came at the expense of work and family. But a powerful feeling, dare I say voice, inside me urged me to keep going; and I did.

When Armenia finally joined the EEU and fully integrated its armed forces into Russia's military structures a couple of years ago, I finally felt a deep sense of satisfaction and relief, as if a very heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders. I finally felt that my personal mission was accomplished. I therefore felt I could take a step back, as I really needed the rest. Simply put: I have lived to see the institutionalization of Russian-Armenian alliance. Also, I feel more confident now that Armenians generally speaking are collectively recognizing the strategic importance of Armenia's ties with Russia. Moreover, I feel satisfied knowing that, at least on a subatomic level, I had a hand in the outcome. Today, no man, no political party is capable of driving a wedge between Armenia and Russia. That danger has passed. As a result, I feel a strong sense of mission accomplished. I therefore no longer have the urge to continue as in the past. In other words, the motivational force that had propelled me in previous years has been gradually dissipating because I feel that this blog has lived to see the realization of its stated goal.

Going forward, I do not want to write merely for the sake of writing. Also, I do not want to say anything if I have nothing important to say. I feel like I have said everything I needed to say. Henceforth, I will post seasonal commentaries about topics I find important.

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