Our Analytics 28 august — 13:17

If for Merkel Yerevan is Azerbaijan (Our editorial)



For the first time in a quarter of a century after the unification of great Germany fallen in the fields of the most cruel war in the history of mankind, the head of the German state has made a historic visit to the South Caucasus. However, even from the days of the Kaiser's milestone, Berlin did not conceal its genuine interest in one of the most strategic regions of the Eurasian space. However, each time the Bismarck's Iron Empire, rising from its knees in a blood pool, correlated its interests with another important Eurasian player: the Ottoman Empire, the 'sick man of Europe.' Even with scrupulous and overly cautious İsmet İnönü, Germany did not abandon the traditional geopolitical axis.

But with the onset of the 'end of history,' or rather, as it turned out later, the 'dead end of history,' the world changed beyond recognition. And yesterday's allies, ready to easily change the historical continuity, boldly reconsider geopolitical landmarks and dominant in foreign policy. In the new world, Germany, alone without Turkey, which found itself on the other side of the barricades, came to a region familiar through history.

A quarter of a century after the transformation of the global world order, two new strong players entered the world arena: Germany and China. And Germany, the leading economy of the Eurasian space, and the 'first violin' of the EU, which left its traditional 'sweet rivals' Britain and France, not only restored its former geopolitical power within a few decades, but also invaded the struggle to develop new world markets.

The semi-century-old stable political philosophy of modern Germany is a kind of ideological and pragmatic union: the impact of the violently grafted Anglo-Saxon liberal doctrine has not passed without a trace, although it is quite difficult for Germans to abandon traditional utilitarianism. The political face of modern Germany is very colorfully described by critical German human rights defenders: Germany, of course, stands for liberal values, but outside Germany itself...

With the grinding of teeth and the creaking of the heart, overseas liberals, British Puritans and French Gaullists took the first loud and generally fair statement of Chancellor Merkel that Russian gas is more profitable than Azerbaijani. This important statement, dictated by economic expediency, the German chancellor voiced in liberal Tbilisi engulfed by the pro-NATO moods. An unexpected statement by the leader of Germany, voiced on the eve of new US sanctions against Russia, was met with a grimace on faces. Almost like in 2008, when with the silent consent of the European power holders, Russian tanks stood on the outskirts of the last western outpost in the Caucasus. Merkel went even further, openly declaring that in the coming years Georgia will not be admitted to NATO... And the German chancellor expressed a special discontent with Georgia's frivolous interpretation of the visa-free regime with the EU. The Georgians, like the Ukrainians, flooded the European capitals. Almost the same as the Tajiks, Armenians and Kyrgyz people roam the streets of Moscow in search of daily bread.

Saying goodbye to Georgia, Merkel sang a song about pirates with Georgian singers.

Merkel in Tbilisi

In hurricane Yerevan, which has still clouded consciousness and which is still engulfed in revolutionary lyrics, Merkel fell into an atmosphere of impassable euphoria. The government had a head dizziness from success. The authorities are still on the streets, unable to get together and return to their offices. Therefore, the impression was created that Merkel spent more time on the streets and squares than in the offices of the country's leadership. Inspired by the Kyiv's EuroMaidan - remember how Nuland distributed gingerbread to right-wing fighters?

The German chancellor spoke more with the true power - the street, than with President Sarkissian and Premier Pashinyan. Merkel did not have a serious conversation with the Armenian authorities. There is no one to talk to, except with the only source of power - the people, and behind a watermelon meal and under selfi lens. It seemed that the new Armenian government wanted to show Merkel the victorious revolutionary people. But this surreal picture did not touch the iron chancellor at all. The Germans, especially German politicians, are very stingy in their sentiments. It is likely that the picture of the insurgent Yerevan would fascinate Havel, Valesa, at the worst romantic Obama, but Merkel counted on an important political dialogue. In the revolutionary chorus, her statement on the Karabakh conflict and Germany's desire to take up an intermediary position at the negotiating table has remained unheeded. The Yerevan authorities are not up to Karabakh right now... It is keenly crushing the Karabakh clan and finishing off its last remains.

Merkel in Yerevan

The German chancellor completed her first Caucasian tour in Azerbaijan. What did immediately catch one's eye in the first hours of the visit and negotiations of Merkel in Baku? In Azerbaijan, no one asked the German government in the person of Merkel for help and money. In Baku, the German politician has found a self-sufficient and worthy partner, ready to open its markets for leading German companies. That is why the apotheosis of the Baku voyage was a meeting not with the inspired all-destroying wild element, but with the business elite that offered Germany and German corporations a partnership in infrastructure projects (in particular, in the construction of railways), urban development, expansion of educational programs, especially in the field of vocational system and specialized education... Merkel discussed in Baku the prospects of the implemented Southern Gas Corridor, transport routes, and talked a lot about the revival of Azerbaijani banking sector... The conversation turned out to be practical and promising. Somehow purely German: less feelings and more business!

Merkel at a business forum in Baku

President Ilham Aliyev, unlike his South Caucasian counterparts, is well acquainted with Merkel over a long and thorny negotiation process, for the head of the Azerbaijani state has made working trips to Berlin twice during the last three years, and designated the visit of the German chancellor to Baku as historic.

What was especially left in the memory after Aliyev's meeting with Merkel? Emphasized respect, courtesy and a special respectful attitude of the German chancellor to the Azerbaijani president: Merkel with her own eyes became convinced of the successes of the 'Aliyev way of development.' From a bird's-eye view, from the observation deck the chancellor watched the pearl of post-Soviet urban planning for a long time: the new Baku...

Merkel's meeting with Azerbaijan started with a good sign. The chancellor excluded from her delegation Bundestag member Albert Weiler, declared by the Azerbaijani authorities undesirable. Weiler illegally visited Karabakh, having entered the occupation zone through the back door, that is, Yerevan. After that he got on the black list of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry. And somehow inadvertently Weiler was in the delegation of Merkel. Baku did not want to communicate with such a figure. Merkel immediately met us half-way, saying: 'Negotiations with Baku are more important than a deputy.' Weiler stayed at home...

If in Yerevan Merkel's statement about Karabakh drowned in a general revolutionary babble, the German chancellor was listened to in Baku with special attention. Merkel once again openly stated that Germany as a member of the Minsk Group will continue to work on the search for the ways of the Karabakh settlement precisely on the basis of the decisions of the UN Security Council. What do Security Council resolutions imply? Unconditional condemnation of the Armenian intervention and unconditional liberation of the occupied lands. In Baku, Merkel was heard and we thought about her words.

There are all prerequisites for the beginning of new relations between Azerbaijan and Germany, relations from a blank sheet. Moreover, Merkel reacted with special German pedantry and understanding to the political status quo of Baku. The German chancellor did not come to a foreign monastery with her own charter, did not violate the foundations of the current political system and completely ignored the meeting with extra-system informal groups. If in Yerevan Merkel met with the opposition Republican Party, and in Tbilisi - with the supporters of the disgraced Saakashvili, in Baku all requests and efforts of the national democrats and non-systemic forces in the person of Ali Karimli and Ilgar Mammadov remained unheard. Merkel refused to meet with the opposition. In Azerbaijan, the leader of the Western world was not up to conventionality, because none of the geopolitical centres consider semi-legal network political circles as an alternative to the Aliyev government. With them there is nothing to talk about!

Merkel at a press conference in Baku

And, of course, the one-day, but very saturated visit of Merkel to Baku was remembered by two curiosities, which will remain in the memory of the Baku residents for a long time. Naturally, all present at the press conference, the president and the chancellor were struck by the 'Brezhnev slip of the tongue' from a German journalist from Deutsche Welle that was inappropriate at first glance. The journalist dubiously mixed up Azerbaijan with Afghanistan. And if thirty years ago, the soviet leader, fallen into old-age senility, without going into details, mechanically read out the text from another speech, the German journalist, without thinking about the measure of his responsibility, began to talk about Azerbaijan as Afghanistan. Although, if you look at the truth in the eyes, for the German public, Azerbaijan represents exactly the same significance as Afghanistan, or for them Armenia is the same as Bangladesh. After all, all these countries are on the other side of the virtual 'iron curtain.' That is why a few years ago we pointed to the frankly customized and biased nature of the hundreds of publications on Azerbaijan's domestic policy appearing in the German media. After all, the Germans don't care if it is Azerbaijan, or Afghanistan: will they understand the ups and downs of political life? The exception is the highly specialized expert groups from the number of Sovietologists, who are able after a long study to understand the true alignment of political forces. But then these are very few!

And if the journalist made a ridiculous 'Brezhnev slip of the tongue,' Merkel herself allowed herself a 'Freudian slip.' In a hurry, trying to quickly share with impressions of her stay in Azerbaijan with the readers in the Instagram network, the German chancellor accidentally published a video shot of the streets of Yerevan. Of course, for a superpower leader, the political dimension contains whole regions, and the South Caucasus is just, in the words of Churchill, the 'soft underbelly' of vast Russia. But at the same time Merkel did not go far from the historic truth. After all, modern Yerevan is located on the territory of the Irevan khanate: the Azerbaijani land, where the Turkic rulers once reigned. Maybe someday someone will tell Merkel about the history of this distant land that Germany has not understood...

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