There should be no illusions about RPC: this is the first and last term
    On the anxiety of invisible string-pullers

    ANALYTICS  24 November 2022 - 14:00

    Samir Veliyev

    On November 22, the Eurasia Daily information and analytical portal published an article entitled "Karabakh stumbling block: why does Azerbaijan link Ruben Vardanyan to Russia?" by young author Petr Makedontsev. There is no doubt that the article was paid for, and one can even guess in general terms where the contract came from. Therefore, our review of this article will be addressed to customers who will be interested to know what the weakness of their arguments is, and in which episodes the young contractor completely framed them, making outright mistakes.

    Already at the very beginning of the article, the author makes threats against Azerbaijan. Quoting President Ilham Aliyev's speech at a meeting with the delegation, headed by European Union Special Envoy for Eastern Partnership Dirk Schuebel, he draws attention to the positive assessment made by the Azerbaijani head of state regarding the level of cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan, and even puts words in bold:

    "Of course, as far as the Eastern Partnership is concerned, Azerbaijan has strongly supported this programme from the very beginning and has actively participated in various events, including summits."

    It becomes clear below that this positive assessment by the president has made the invisible string-pullers uneasy, as evidenced by the explicit word "apprehension" used in the part of the article which refers to Azerbaijan's attitude to the political choices of other post-Soviet states.

    Gentlemen, why "apprehension"? Are you afraid of something? Or has Baku ever taken it upon itself to copy your political course by abandoning its independent foreign policy?

    Well, let's not worry about it. But how to understand the following:

    "The attitude to the Eastern Partnership is not an idle question, because, in addition to Azerbaijan, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, and Armenia participated in it. As we know, the issue of European integration was one of the reasons for the 2013-2014 Euromaidan in Ukraine, as a result of which supporters of the Euro-Atlantic path began to press on supporters of integration with Russia and "achieved" the separation of Crimea from Ukraine. [...] Doesn't Aliyev's phrase mean that official Baku is tacitly in favour of the Euro-Atlantic path for other Eastern Partnership participants?"

    Was that a hint or a threat? We can guess, but be blunt: why did you just remind us of Crimea, what are you hinting at? To the risk of "being punished"? You, gentlemen, have probably forgotten that after the collapse of the USSR, Azerbaijan did not "sign up" for an everlasting alliance with anyone. We once lived together (not by our will, by the way), but now everyone has their own way. Don't try to scare us!

    Picking up the pieces of Aliyev's phrase "we have different relations with the other five countries-members of the Eastern Partnership", the author seeks out a factual "inaccuracy" in it, believing that there are not five, but four countries, but he finds himself in a ridiculous situation, admitting that Belarus has suspended its participation in the Eastern Partnership. Suspended, my friend, not withdrawn, so there are five, not four, in addition to Azerbaijan itself!

    Passing on to the analysis of the quotation from President Aliyev's speech, concerning the double agent Ruben Vardanyan, the author decides to ratchet up the rhetoric, "awarding" the words said by the head of state with the epithets "harsh accusation", "dangerous provocation", "unproven accusation", "allegedly political support of the Kremlin". The accusation, we agree, is tough, but adequate! As for "unproven accusation", young man, you do not have a good enough idea of what Azerbaijan and its political elite are - no one will engage in "you prove it!" games. Let's put it down to your inexperience, but as a useful reference, please understand once and for all - if President Aliev says something, it is backed by many times verified facts (including operative character), which he is not required to disclose and present to all those who want to enter into a debate with him. If it's said, it's done.

    Then the comical part of the article begins. The author sees the absolutely obvious, almost axiomatic phrase about Ruben Vardanyan stealing from the Russian taxpayer as Aliyev's attempt to pit the Russians against the Karabakh Armenians and the Armenian diaspora in Russia, as well as the Russian population of the country against the Kremlin! This utter heresy does not even deserve separate attention and should be thrown in the trash bin without further comments. But let us briefly comment on the phrase:

    "With his statement, Aliyev personally contributed to the perpetuation of the idea in Azerbaijani society that Armenians are allegedly always scheming and plotting against Azerbaijan in close cooperation with Russia."

    Look, there is no need for President Aliyev to "root" the ingrained idea. The fact that Armenians are plotting against Azerbaijan using Russian platforms and resources is a "Polichinelle secret". It is not an "idea", but a fact! Just turn on Russian TV channels in the evening and note the names. Solovyov, Zatulin, Nadein-Raevsky, Narochnitskaya, Yevseyev, Milonov, and dozens of other regulars in the Russian media paid up by Armenians have non-Armenian surnames. Does this change anything?

    And yet, we cannot help suspecting that when giving the task to the young graphomaniac, his clients strictly instructed him to seek out elements of "Russophobia" in the Azerbaijani leader. And he plunged into all sorts of trouble. He visited President's website and copied the whole paragraph. We copy it here too because it is important. So, read carefully the following excerpt:

    "On April 28, 1920, Azerbaijan was occupied by Bolshevik Russia. Azerbaijani statehood was faced with difficult challenges during the period of Soviet rule. Azerbaijan's independence, which was already recognized de facto by the international community in 1920-1922, was formally partially preserved. In March 1922, the three republics of the South Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia) were united into a single state - the Transcaucasian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic (SSFSR), and thus their formal independence was completely eliminated. During the Soviet period, Zangazur, Goycha, part of Nakhchivan, and other districts were removed from Azerbaijan and annexed to Armenia. As a result, the territory of the country which was 114 thousand during the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, was reduced to 86,6 thousand On July 7, 1923, on the initiative of the Bolshevik leaders, an autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh was established. This decision was the first step towards the withdrawal of Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan. Resistance against the Soviet regime in Azerbaijan was met with brutality, exiles, and repression. During the repressions in 1937, the majority of the prominent representatives of the Azerbaijani people, who did not put up with the Soviet regime, were arrested under various pretexts, exiled to Siberia, the Kazakh steppes, and many were shot".

    Analyzing this excerpt, the author writes: "even the times when Azerbaijan was part of the Soviet Union are described in semi-dark colours!" Wait, what is wrong with that? Was the Soviet period of history any "light" for the other republics, not counting Armenia, which received a gift from the Bolsheviks - Azerbaijani lands and increased its territory from 9 thousand square km? (according to the Treaty of Alexandropol) to 29,743 square kilometres? There are different assessments of Soviet history. For some people, it is "remarkable", for others not so much. There is a public consensus in Azerbaijan that the Bolsheviks handed over original Azerbaijani lands to Armenia and did not want to stop (and in the 1940s and 50s even facilitated) the de-Azerbaijanisation of present-day Armenian territory. Why should we be "grateful" to the Soviet regime? Because, having pumped out our natural resources for 70 years (in addition to the decades of the Tsarist period), it left an economic ruin in place of the Azerbaijani SSR after its collapse, while the Arab deserts of the past were transformed into a paradise before our eyes?

    And then, remembering the Soviet past in a bright light inevitably devalues our independence today, which is the holy of holies for the Azerbaijani people. No, people don't want your "bright Soviet past". If you want to return it, you are welcome to do it, but without us.

    It goes on and on:

    "According to Aliyev, Russians are to blame for all the misfortunes of the Soviet era (although there were representatives of different nationalities in the Communist Party). Not to mention the fact that at the height of Stalin's repressions in 1937-1938, a man named Mir Jafar Bagirov, rather than ordinary "Ivanov", "Petrov" or "Sidorov" ruled in Azerbaijan SSR. You must agree that Aliyev's approach to both modern Russia and the Soviet Union in this case is little different from that of politicians in the Baltics, Ukraine, and Moldova".

    Stop! And here we will ask the author to show, in what place the excerpt copied from the president's website contains the word "Russians". Show us, show us! Can't you? Then why lie and attribute to others thoughts that they did not utter? You have to fulfill the order, aren't you?

    The rest of the article is full of hatred for Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijanis, it's pointless to parse each word. Let's focus on a couple of episodes. In one of them, he writes about "Aliyev's desire to drive a wedge between Russia and Karabakh Armenians". Here we want to "correct" him: the very "wedge" which, in the opinion of the young man, Aliyev is trying "to drive" between Russia and Karabakh Armenians is ... Azerbaijan itself. Azerbaijan itself! There must indeed be a "wedge" between the Russian Federation and the people of Armenian origin in the Karabakh region whose name is Azerbaijan! Karabakh, in case anyone else does not understand, is Azerbaijan, and its residents are citizens of the Azerbaijani state. There must not be a direct link between the Kremlin and a group of Azerbaijani citizens and ON THE TERRITORY of Azerbaijan. What is happening today is temporary. Otherwise, how will the Kremlin react to direct communications between Baku and the Azerbaijani population of the Republic of Dagestan (indigenous, by the way) bypassing Moscow? We do not think they will be delighted. Then why should Azerbaijan refrain from its legitimate right to "wedge" between its territory, its citizens, on the one hand, and foreign countries, on the other? If Moscow wants "wedge-free", "unmediated" ties with the Karabakh Armenians, then let them open an immigration programme (for example, to Krasnodar) and grant them Russian citizenship there (THERE!). In this case, they will have nothing in common with Azerbaijan, except the past. Let's wave a handkerchief, and dry a silent tear. But poorly concealed resentment over the "wedge" between Russia and the inhabitants of a region of Azerbaijan is nothing more than an attempt to stick their nose into things.

    The whole lengthy article was brought to a high point, which was revealed in the last sentence:

    "Let us hope that Russian peacekeepers will be unharmed and will not repeat the mistakes of the past in trying to disarm the Karabakh Armenians in favour of the duplicitous Azerbaijani authorities".

    Well, let's agree with you on the following. Failure to implement even one point of the Trilateral Statement of November 10, 2020, means the violation of the whole document. You cannot implement some of the points and refuse to implement others. Either everything is implemented or the agreements are no longer in force, including the provision on the deployment of the RPC. If the clause on the disarmament of Armenian illegal formations is not implemented, the chances of extending the five-year peacekeeping period will be nil. In fact, they are close to it now. And then, you know, no one will demand from the RPC any disarmament of armed gangs. We will manage on our own.

    In conclusion, I would like to repeat: all of the above is addressed to the client, not the contractor. We hope the message is very clear.


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