“Yerevan’s propaganda and guilt for crimes driving Armenians out of Garabagh”
    Korybko and Kuzio on Caliber.Az

    INTERVIEWS  29 September 2023 - 15:19

    Samir Ibrahimov

    Recently, pieces of technical surveillance equipment of the Azerbaijani army recorded massive cases of arson by Armenian residents of houses in the Agdara direction. The Azerbaijani Defence Ministry says in a report accompanied by video footage of fires. Armenian TG channels also confirm the information that Armenians are burning houses in Agdara.

    At the same time, the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry began to receive applications for citizenship from Garabagh Armenians, Spokesman for the Interior Ministry Elshad Hajiyev told reporters on Saturday.

    “Among residents of Garabagh Armenians, there are those who have applied for the Azerbaijani citizenship. Any resident of Armenian origin living in this territory can apply for this; their issues are in the spotlight,” Hajiyev said. He did not specify the number of applicants and how their cases would be considered.

    The other day President Aliyev said: “Today, ordinary Armenians living in Garabagh are provided with a new historical chance. Don't miss it. Azerbaijan is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious state. We have never had and never will discriminate on religious or ethnic grounds.”

    Presidential foreign policy aide and head of the Foreign Policy Department under the Presidential Administration Hikmet Hajiyev noted that “the integration of the Garabagh Armenians into the economic, political and social life of Azerbaijan will take place with difficulties, and we must be prepared for the fact that some residents will not accept this policy and will decide leave."

    And here, of course, several questions arise. First, it is necessary to calculate how many Armenians actually live in Garabagh now. Second, to find out which part of them will want to stay and live there as citizens of Azerbaijan.

    Well-known foreign experts shared their thoughts about this with Caliber.Az.

    American political expert Andrew Korybko notes that the ultranationalist lobby of the Armenian diaspora, some members of which coordinate their actions with the intelligence services of the host countries, after the end of the Garabagh conflict have been waging an intensive information war campaign against Azerbaijan, as well as Russia, aimed at discrediting them by inciting panic about false “genocide" and "ethnic cleansing".

    “Despite the fact that there is absolutely no evidence that these crimes have taken place or are being plotted, the Armenian lobby is trying to intimidate the Western public and politicians into imposing sanctions on Azerbaijan under these false pretenses as part of a desperate regional power game.

    The Armenian minority in Azerbaijan has rights and guaranteed security. Some will want to leave, whether for personal reasons or because they have been deceived by this misinformation. In this case, the same lobby and their media allies will present this as supposed evidence of ethnic cleansing in order to manipulate international perception in order to discredit Azerbaijan in the eyes of the world community,” Korybko says.

    In his opinion, the best response to this information provocation will be for Azerbaijan, together with partners such as Russia, Turkey, other countries, their media and civil society activists, to spread the truth about the reintegration of this population and the upcoming development of the Garabagh region.

    “This will expose the lies behind this campaign and show the world community that it is being manipulated again, and will also protect the integrity of the Azerbaijani state and its reputation from these slanderous attacks,” the American expert said.

    In his turn, British researcher, professor of political science at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy Taras Kuzio recalled that in 1991-1992, most of the former republics provided their residents with the opportunity to obtain citizenship after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Thus, for example, in Ukraine, Russians could obtain Ukrainian citizenship. If they did not want to take Ukrainian citizenship, they could move to the Russian Federation.

    “This process did not occur in Azerbaijan due to the First Garabagh War and the occupation of 20% of the territory of Azerbaijan by Armenia and the ethnic cleansing of the Azerbaijani people. Only now, three decades later, the same processes are taking place, since the Garabagh wars ended after the complete liberation of Garabagh. Armenians now have a choice, just like Russians in Ukraine in 1991-1992: stay and accept Azerbaijani citizenship or move to Armenia.

    “The difference with Ukraine is that there was no violent conflict there then, while the Armenians living in Garabagh must make a choice in an atmosphere of mistrust of Azerbaijanis, spread for three decades by Armenian nationalist propaganda from the Armenian diaspora, nationalist parties and Garabagh clan that ruled Armenia. Plus, their sense of guilt and fear of responsibility for the crimes committed by the Armenians and for the ethnic cleansing they carried out during the First Garabagh War, which means that they are afraid of revenge or even trial of war criminals,” the researcher said.

    Therefore, Kuzio says, he would not be surprised if some Armenians decide to move to Armenia from Garabagh.

    “I doubt that the number of Armenians living there was 120,000, there were more like 50,000, and now there are even fewer left. However, the Armenian minority remaining in Garabagh must become citizens of Azerbaijan in order to receive government social security, education for children, pensions and other rights provided by the government. With the demobilization of illegal Armenian forces, the remaining Armenian minority who chose to remain in Garabagh will no longer pose a threat to the security of Azerbaijan or the return of Azerbaijani internally displaced persons. They should be given minority rights such as education and media in Armenian, as well as churches with Armenian religious services. The end of the Garabagh war will also benefit Armenia, as it will allow it to diversify its economy, trade and foreign policy, and, more generally, will serve peace and stability in the South Caucasus,” concluded Professor Kuzio.


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