"Armenians will endlessly stir hysteria about mythical ethnic cleansing and genocide"
    Political pundit Patrick Walsh on Caliber.Az

    ANALYTICS  02 March 2023 - 16:14

    Huseyn Safarov

    After the Second Karabakh war, regional states and international actors have been increasingly focused on South Caucasus. This is explained by the fact that as a result of the military operations of 2020, the prospects of the region have risen from a regional context to a global one and, in a certain sense, changed the balance of power in the vast area.

    Among the countries that are trying to increase their influence in the region are Russia and Türkiye. However, since February 2022, Moscow has turned its attention and energies to Ukraine, and its limited resources now prevent it from playing the leading role in the South Caucasus as before. Türkiye, on the other hand, has gained real leverage in this vast geopolitical field thanks to its economic potential and the energy projects it has implemented and is developing.

    According to Irish political scientist and historian Patrick Walsh, Moscow knew that a military invasion and subsequent hostilities in Ukraine would weaken Russia. However, the Kremlin hoped the war would be short-lived and the imminent damage would be quickly repaired, Walsh stressed in a conversation with Caliber.Az.

    "Russia has tried to intimidate Kyiv in order to achieve a quick settlement and minimise military losses, but it has failed to do so because of Kyiv's resistance and, most importantly, the assistance provided to Kyiv by the West. Consequently, it cannot fully control the political processes in the Caucasus. The Caucasus is not the least among the state interests of Russia, and Moscow has always made special efforts to prevent the West from gaining influence in the region. The slightest presence of the West in the South Caucasus was perceived by the Russian leadership as a threat to national security.

    However, even if Russia wins the war in Ukraine, the Irish political analyst is confident that it will not be able to recover in a short period of time since it has already lost a significant amount of manpower and funds, which has made the country less powerful. War in Ukraine, whether won or lost, will definitely lead to a significant weakening of Russia's power and influence.

    "The Russian state had power in the South Caucasus during tsarist and Soviet times; now it has no such power, and its ambitions in the region are much more limited than in the historical past," Walsh stresses.

    All this creates a new reality in the South Caucasus. The one who will most effectively respond to it will benefit from this reality. Based on the past and the events of the last few years, it can be concluded that the Azerbaijani government has much more statesmanship than the Armenian leadership. However, in the opinion of our interlocutor, we should not underestimate Russia's ability to act if it deems it necessary.

    "We witnessed this in the example of Ukraine. Besides, we should be careful with post-war Russia," he warns.

    In Walsh's view, Russia can only leave the South Caucasus if it is convinced that the countries in the region do not pose a threat to its security. Therefore, Azerbaijan's government seeks to maintain close and good-neighborly relations with Moscow.

    The Irish expert also touched upon peaceful protest held by Azerbaijani environmental activists on the Lachin road, which caused hysteria in Armenian society. In his words, the campaign against the eco-activists who are calling to stop plundering Azerbaijan's minerals and damaging its nature has given a certain impetus to the processes both in Yerevan and in the Armenian diaspora in France and the USA.

    The Armenian campaign to present the environmental action on the Lachin road as a "blockade", a "humanitarian disaster", even as "ethnic cleansing" and an "attempt at genocide" has had some success in the West. The resolution adopted by the European Parliament against Azerbaijan testifies to this. The previous resolution, submitted to the UN Security Council, was blocked, to the great displeasure of Yerevan. However, another anti-Azerbaijani resolution, sponsored by the Armenian lobby, was adopted on January 19, which, unfortunately, shows that some in the West believed the Armenian narrative. At first, Yerevan's machinations were not supported by the Western public. A certain part of Armenian society also expressed disappointment that the efforts of a large number of Armenian nationalists and revanchists were in vain, even though the Western media repeated Armenian theses incessantly. The "blockade campaign on the Lachin road" seems to have revived the international Armenian lobby, depressed and confused after Armenia's defeat in 2020, giving strength for new provocations and insinuations against Azerbaijan.

    "Unfortunately, the Armenians, instead of making a meaningful transition towards peace and settlement, have reverted to the traditional cries of 'genocide'. Armenia, by defining its identity on the basis of the events of 1915 alone, seems doomed to live forever within its frames. People who fear the return of their former neighbours to their own homes, whose relatives and friends they drove out and murdered 30 years ago, are unlikely to calmly accept the reintegration offered by well-meaning Azerbaijan. They will always scream about alleged 'ethnic cleansing and genocide' to prove their point. And the Armenians' reaction to the peaceful action on the Lachin road suggests that they are already practicing this in a desperate attempt to thwart their fate," our interlocutor summed up.




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