Triumph of sovereignty: Azerbaijan's quiet victory in the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers
    Has & Verdiyan on Caliber.Az

    INTERVIEWS  20 April 2024 - 16:30

    Vadim Mansurov

    The early withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from Azerbaijan marks the triumph of the sovereignty of the Azerbaijani state. Baku and Moscow have quietly and peacefully, like good neighbors, resolved the issue between themselves. This fact has triggered surprise and even discontent all over the world, because someone wanted very much that Azerbaijan and Russia could not agree with each other, and, accordingly, a crack would appear in Azerbaijani-Russian relations.

    What does the expert community think about this? How will events in our region develop further? Caliber.Az asked these questions to Turkish and Armenian experts.

    According to Turkish international political expert, and candidate of political sciences Kerim Has, the geopolitical balance of power in the South Caucasus is certainly changing and is changing in favor of Azerbaijan. As he noted, the early termination of the Russian peacekeepers' mission is primarily because Azerbaijan was able to restore its full sovereignty during the anti-terrorist measures in September 2023, and the Armenian population left Karabakh despite Baku's entreaties.

    "After that, it simply made no sense for the Russian military to stay in Karabakh. This is a grand symbolic moment for Azerbaijan, which in this way demonstrates Baku's unwillingness to encourage the presence of foreign militaries on its territory, it is a sign for all external players. It is an important quiet victory for Baku - many expected the Russian military to stay in the region for a long time. Now, after the withdrawal of Russian troops, I think we can confidently talk about one thing - the strengthening of military-technical cooperation between Baku and Ankara. The withdrawal of the Russian peacekeepers is also very important for Türkiye, and despite the absence of disagreements between Moscow and Baku, the age-old geopolitical rivalry between the two great powers plays a role here," Has said.

    According to him, at the same time, given that Yerevan now also intends to increase cooperation with NATO, this pushes Armenia towards an inevitable scenario - rapprochement with Türkiye.

    "I think if Pashinyan stays in power in the coming years, we will witness an active build-up of cooperation between Yerevan and Ankara. So, I consider two important points as the most important benchmarks for the creation of peace and development of cooperation - the conclusion of a peace treaty between Baku and Yerevan, as well as new agreements between Armenia and Türkiye," K. Has stressed.

    At the same time, Armenian blogger, activist, and public figure Ishkhan Verdyan believes that the withdrawal of the Russian peacekeeping contingent from Karabakh was the last link in the chain of events that led to the full return of Azerbaijan's sovereignty over the entire territory of the country.

    "If we look at it not from the point of view of Azerbaijan or Armenia, but from the position of geopolitics, we can safely say that President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan has managed to do the impossible. If we take the political map of the world and examine it under a magnifying glass, with all the abundance of various territorial conflicts, it is impossible to find a country that would have restored its territorial integrity over the past 30 years, and maybe even more. Conflicts exist, they are burning, but none of them has ever found its resolution within the framework of those rules that are commonly called international law. It seems that the solutions to the conflicts on the political globe are simply frozen, and the world community is interested in the fact that solutions are never found. At least in the Karabakh conflict, this was the case, and the work of the OSCE Minsk Group can confirm this.

    Now Azerbaijan, one of the few in the world, has managed to restore its territorial integrity. From a historical point of view, this phenomenon cannot be overestimated. President Ilham Aliyev managed to break the established world order and produce an unprecedented result on the scale of the whole world. Yes, these words sound very loud but no louder than the very event they describe.

    There is no known case when Russia has withdrawn its troops from their legal locations. Russia had the legal right to maintain its military presence in Azerbaijan until 2025 and had the opportunity to find a reason to extend this period, but it did not do so, on the contrary, it withdrew its military contingent ahead of schedule. And it did so without entering into a conflict with Azerbaijan, but, on the contrary, accepting wishes for a good journey almost with a smile on its face.

    The withdrawal of Russian troops from Karabakh dispelled any doubts that Azerbaijan had finally and irrevocably regained its sovereignty. But at the same time, Azerbaijan managed not only to maintain good relations with Russia but also to strengthen them noticeably. What is this if not a world-class geopolitical achievement? What is it if not the result of the brilliant work of the country's political leadership and President Ilham Aliyev personally? summarized I. Verdyan.


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