"Russians were expelled from Armenia and Karabakh just like Azerbaijanis"
    Political scientist Anastasia Lavrina on Caliber.Az

    INTERVIEWS  23 February 2023 - 17:40

    Huseyn Safarov

    Spreading the rumors about the "Russian community in Karabakh" is nothing but a political game of some forces interested in destabilisation of the situation in the region, First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Community of Azerbaijan (RCA), political scientist Anastasia Lavrina said.

    In her interview with Caliber.Az, Lavrina sounded absolutely sure of that.

    The political scientist recalled that during the years of the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories many cultural and historical monuments, including religious buildings - hundreds of mosques and dozens of churches - were destroyed.

    "I already have two films about destroyed churches - in the Khojavand district and in the village of Talysh in the Tartar district of Azerbaijan. Both buildings are in very deplorable condition. The Armenian military is not ashamed of looting the temples, scrawling their names on the walls, and planting mines around and inside the buildings. Many religious sanctuaries and Albanian churches have been rebuilt to look like Armenian churches. I am not the only one who is talking about this; historians, clergymen, and historical facts testify to this," Lavrina said.

    In confirmation of her words, the expert spoke about the visit of RCA's representatives to Shusha.

    "Quite recently I visited Shusha as a member of the Russian community delegation. For many, it was the first visit to the cultural capital of the country, and everyone was simply shocked by the scale of destruction perpetrated during the Armenian occupation. All of the visitors had just one question: 'How is it possible to ruin and pillage and plant mines in the same place where you live?'

    So what has the so-called 'Russian community of Karabakh' been doing there all the years of the occupation, if, of course, as the Armenians assure us, there is such a community? It turns out that the representatives of this community did not care if their Orthodox churches were destroyed or rebuilt. Meanwhile, not only have the churches not been restored for decades, but they have also been used as targets, and military units have been built near them. It is incomprehensible," says our interlocutor.

    According to Lavrina, the existence of the so-called "Russian community of Karabakh" was brought up by Armenians at the beginning of the Second Karabakh War, trying to present the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict as an inter-religious one. Before then, none of the Armenian authorities were at all interested in the fate of the Russians in Karabakh and no one had ever heard of such a national community.

    "But the world knew then and knows now about the high level of multiculturalism and tolerance in Azerbaijan, so no one took the Armenian side's falsifications on this topic seriously.

    In Azerbaijan, Karabakh, which is an internationally recognised part of the country, there is only one officially registered Russian community, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The community has been active for a long time and our ethnic Russian citizens of Azerbaijan have always advocated for peace and justice," Lavrina said.

    At the same time, the political scientist recalled that Armenia is known worldwide as a mono-ethnic country, and at the end of the 20th century people of other nationalities, including Russians, were simply expelled from there.

    "In the late 1980s, many ethnic Russians were forcibly deported from Armenia during another mass deportation. Ethnic Russians were also forced to leave their homes in areas of Azerbaijan that were occupied during the First Karabakh War. Therefore, the subject of the Russian community in Karabakh is only a political game of some forces that are interested in destabilising the situation in the region," the RCA deputy chairman believes.

    In conclusion, Lavrina noted with regret that citizens of Azerbaijan would still have to see destroyed, desecrated shrines, cemeteries, and cultural monuments.

    "By gradually clearing its lands from mines Azerbaijan finds new facts of Armenian vandalism. We want to believe that the world will finally decide to call things by their proper names and hold Armenia accountable for its crimes," Lavrina said.



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