Opinion from Baku: it’s not up to Karabakh Armenians to decide whether to become part of Russia
Karabakh Armenians call for accession to Russia
Recently, frequent calls for the accession to Russia have been made by the Armenian population living in the part of Karabakh, where Russian peacekeepers are temporarily stationed. This issue will not be decided by Armenians, Azerbaijani politician Azer Qasimly believes. He also named three options for solving the problem of territory with Russian peacekeepers.
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The future of the world order and geopolitical alignment around the world and, in particular, in our region, largely depends on the outcome of the war in Ukraine, says Azerbaijani opposition politician, head of the Institute of Political Management Azer Qasimly.
“Intense fighting is expected over the next two weeks”
“My predictions regarding the war in Ukraine boil down to the fact that in the next two weeks we should expect the most fierce and intense fighting.
The reason is that on May 9 a victory parade will be held in Moscow and Vladimir Putin needs to show at least some kind of victory on the Ukrainian front.
Therefore, compared to the last few weeks, I expect much more intense fights in the coming fortnight. Basically, the main battles will be fought in the Donbass and in the south of Ukraine.
Naturally, the main battles are expected in the Donbass, and on May 9, Putin should announce that his main goal was to “restore the territorial integrity” of the “DPR” and “LPR” recognized by Russia within the borders of these Ukrainian regions.
But now it’s hard to say how this attack by the Russian army will end”, the politician said.
“November statement 10 did not solve the problem but deepened it”
Qasimli believes that the trilateral statement of November 10, 2020, which put an end to the second Karabakh war, did not solve the Karabakh problem:
“On the contrary, this statement deepened the problem of resolving the Karabakh issue, although Ilham Aliyev prefers to talk about its solution.
If Russia had not been in this region, if this country had not supported and helped Armenia, the Karabakh issue might not have arisen. Even if it had arisen, it would have found its solution in the 90s. At the very least, this issue would not drag on until 2020.
But all these years, Russia seemed to be on the sidelines. And now the situation is completely different. Russia has already sent its military contingent to Karabakh, and did so on the basis of a document also signed by the Azerbaijani side. In other words, Russia did not occupy this part of Karabakh, but entered it on the basis of a statement signed by the President of Azerbaijan”.
“It is necessary to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia”
“We were constantly pushed into confronted with Armenia. Of course, it was Russia who was pushing us. And the separatists, literally feeding on this conflict, were people associated with Moscow. They were in power in Armenia for a long time.
Now the situation is fundamentally different. Nikol Pashinyan is currently in power in Armenia and he is not associated with the “Karabakh clan” and has not been a part of the “Soviet elite”.
A meeting was held in Brussels, Armenia accepts the five fundamental principles on the basis of which peace negotiations should be held. Such steps can only be supported.
In this situation, Azerbaijan needs to restore ties with Armenia, establish diplomatic relations. Of course, you need time for this, you can’t decide this momentarily”.
“We must demand Karabakh not from Armenia, but from Russia”
“There is an important detail: after the signing of the tripartite statement in 2020, Nagorno-Karabakh got out of the control of Armenia. This territory is currently not under the control of either Azerbaijan or Armenia. It is subordinate to Russia. Even the separatist leadership in Khankendi (Stepanakert) is subordinate to the Russian Federation.
From this point of view, the attempts of the pro-government media in Azerbaijan and pro-government political observers to connect what is happening in Armenia with Karabakh, do not meet the state interests of Azerbaijan. They rather serve the interests of Russia, because they divert attention from Moscow’s actions in the region.
We must demand Karabakh not from Armenia, but from Russia”.
“Russia will not leave Karabakh easily”
“In this regard, what is happening in Ukraine is very important for Azerbaijan and the situation around Karabakh. It is beneficial for Azerbaijan that Russia emerges from this war weakened. The more weakened it is, the less strength it will have to interfere in what is happening in Karabakh.
The main task of Azerbaijan is the expulsion of Russian peacekeepers from Karabakh. But I consider the solution of this issue by military force unrealistic. It’s impossible. Alternatively, Azerbaijan can choose to wait and, in the meantime, improve relations with Armenia.
We must not forget that Russia will not leave Karabakh just like that. It is necessary to provide security guarantees to the Armenians living in this territory. It won’t work without it”.
“Nagorno-Karabakh accession to Russia does not depend on the will of the Karabakh Armenians”
“The accession of Khankendi and adjacent territories, where Armenians currently live, to Armenia is impossible. This is an unrealistic scenario, because the only road connecting this region with Armenia passes through the Lachin region. This area has nothing to do with Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan can close it at any time.
As for calls to join Russia, this issue depends entirely not on the separatists in Khankendi, but on Moscow. The statement of 3-4 Armenians in Karabakh will not affect anything at all. This decision must be made in Russia. From this point of view, the weakening of the Kremlin’s position in the world again plays into our hands”.
Three ways to solve the problem
“How can Azerbaijan solve the Karabakh problem?
The first path is through integration with Russia. This includes the entry into all structures under Russia’s control – the CSTO, the Eurasian Economic Union, and, if Putin remains in power, into some other union in the future. If you choose this option, you can forget about democracy in Azerbaijan for a long time.
But even if this option is chosen, Russia will not leave Karabakh. And if it agrees to leave, it will demand the deployment of his military base into another region of Azerbaijan – through the “agreement” with Russia, I see no other option for this problem.
Another way is the expulsion of Russian peacekeepers from Karabakh by military force. The Azerbaijani authorities will never agree to such a thing.
And the most correct way is the democratization of Azerbaijan. Baku must show the whole world its loyalty to democratic values, demonstrate its readiness to ensure the security of its citizens of Armenian nationality.
Another way is to leave everything as it is, to maintain the situation of “no war, no peace”. This is the path that, it seems to me, is closer to the Azerbaijani authorities now”, Azer Qasimli explained.