Our Analytics 12 august — 14:12

Armenian Zatulin frames Putin (Our reaction)

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BY ELNUR AMINOGLU, AZERI DAILY AUTHOR

After Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Alexander Lukashenko on his victory in the elections, member of the State Duma Konstantin Zatulin called the presidential elections in Belarus, which took place in the country on August 9, 'a shameful phenomenon.'

Immediately after Putin's announcement about the election in Belarus, the second Russian figure, Zatulin, spoke up

'Lukashenko has exceeded every measure. We do not wish Belarus any contention and 'Maidan,' but he is insane. The problem is that the leader of Belarus is an insane person when it comes to power,' said Zatulin, who is a member of the Committee for CIS affairs and relations with compatriots of the State Duma of the Russian Federation.

According to Zatulin, the world community will take the side of the protesting Belarusians. 'I am very sorry that the CIS did not see a plank in the eye of the Belarusian authorities and gave an optimistic comment,' he added.

Indeed, this statement of 'a loyal supporter of Vladimir Putin,' as he positions himself, moreover, who was for a long time the architect of Russian 'soft power' in the post-Soviet space, characterises him as best as possible both as a politician and as an active conductor of 'Russian interests.'

Although it would be more accurate to call him the 'gravedigger' of these very interests in the post-Soviet space, since no one has done more to discredit the ideas of integration within the CIS than he.

For a little more than ten years, this person, who, by the way, is the director of the Institute of Diaspora and Integration (Institute of the CIS countries), has set a kind of record: his appearance is not welcomed in Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Estonia. They are not too happy about him in Kyrgyzstan, and now, obviously, in Belarus. A brilliant result for the 'architect' of Russian 'soft power' in the post-Soviet space, that is, the image-maker of Moscow's policy in its 'near abroad.'

Let's be fair, there are those who value him highly: the unrecognised republic of Abkhazia, of which he is an honorary citizen, the Transnistrian Moldavian Republic with the same status, and Yerevan, which awarded him the Order of Honour in 2010, as it was said in an official statement about this 'for significant contribution to deepening cooperation between Armenia and Russia, strengthening and developing friendship between the two peoples.'

Zatulin believes: What is allowed to Yerevan is not allowed to Minsk

What did Zatulin once again demonstrate with his statement about the presidential election in Belarus, which, incidentally, runs counter to the official position of Moscow, Baku and Nur-Sultan?

First, his complete lack of professionalism. At a time when relations between Minsk and Moscow leave much to be desired, and the situation in the state, Russia's strategic partner, is not very simple, the 'historian and politician' should have been more restrained in expressions.

Second, there are 'double standards' traditional for a certain part of the post-Soviet political elites. Suffice it to recall how he raged over the Ukrainian 'Maidan,' and kept a modest silence on the Armenian 'Maidan.' But both of these events led to the fact that, to put it mildly, non-pro-Russian elements came to power both there and there.

Third, complete incompetence regarding the situation in Minsk, where the protests are backed by forces that are completely unfriendly to Moscow. Provoking a harsh reaction from the official Belarusian circles with his statements, in whose interests is Mr Zatulin working? Is it not enough for him that as a result of the 'professional' activities of himself and the Institute of the CIS headed by him (an extremely interesting institution, by the way) relations between Moscow and half of the post-Soviet space have deteriorated?

Mr Zatulin does not particularly hide the fact that he is a supporter of the 'imperial approach' in relation to the post-Soviet space. Well, everyone has a right to personal beliefs. But being in the public service, be kind enough to do what is good for the state, from which you receive a lot of money, including for the maintenance of the CIS Institute, in which your dependants work.

In recent years, Zatulin did nothing but undermine Russian interests in the CIS

If you do not agree with the president's policy towards Baku, Minsk and further down the list, have the courage to resign and carry on propaganda at your own expense. But this 'wanting to have the pie and eat it' not only causes disgust, it also leads to a drop in the country's authority. Because Mr Zatulin is trying to position himself policy conductor of this country in the 'near abroad.'

And even more so: there is no need to delve into the internal affairs of other states, which the gravedigger of Russian 'soft power' Zatulin loves to do. Not even a month has passed since the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy -- where our 'hero' is the chairman of the Commission on International Policy -- adopted an openly outrageous statement, full of distortions and ignorance about Hagia Sophia. And now he undertook to lecture Minsk on what election results should have been there, to talk about whether the president of a neighbouring state, a member of the EAEU and the CSTO, is sane or not.

Why didn't Mr Zatulin talk about the sanity of the Armenian authorities after the broadcasting of the majority of Russian TV channels was banned there with the humiliating wording 'for creating a threat to the national security of Armenia'? Or does he divide the states allied to Russia into categories: 'first and second freshness,' we shout about one thing, and we are completely silent about the other?

The Belarusians will sort it out inside their country, the protests there, as of today, are dying down, and this can only be good news. But what you can be sure of is that the names of those who, at a difficult time for Minsk, tried to throw a petrol into the fire, will not be forgotten in Belarus. With such spokesmen and integrators, the Russian-Belarusian union does not really need enemies.

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