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Aliyev stopped, Pashinyan missed, Saakashvili underestimated (Conceptual article by Samad Seyidov)

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BY PROFESSOR SAMAD SEYIDOV, CHAIRMAN OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE OF AZERBAIJAN'S MILLI MAJLIS

One of the geniuses of philosophical thought at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, laying the foundation for what we call sociology today, introduced the term 'anomie,' which describes a state of sickness, though not of an individual, but of a whole society. Anomie, which means lawlessness in ancient Greek, according to Émile Durkheim, reflects the state of society, in which the decomposition, disintegration and dissolution of systems of established values ​​and norms are so indicative that the maintenance of the traditional social order becomes impossible.

Studies of this phenomenon have shown that no society is immune from anomie, but the progression or, on the contrary, treatment of this 'disease' largely depends on those who take responsibility for the fate of society. It is clear that anomie is corruption, abnormality, collapse of traditional values ​​in society, but when and how does it begin to manifest itself? Answering this question, another founder of sociology, Robert Merton, proved that anomie only begins to give itself out when the achievement and realisation by members of society of the values ​​declared in it become impossible.

Robert Merton comes to an important discovery in the issue of the collapse of traditional values ​​of a society

Destroy to the ground and then... self-destruct

Today, when the medical terminology in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic is very popular and understandable, the questions can be posed as follows: how is the infection of this disease - anomie - occurring in practice; is it possible to transfer it from one society to another; is the anomie 'virus' artificial and exportable? Or is it formed in the depths of a society itself? What is the protocol for its treatment? Are relapses of anomie possible? How do individual members of a society endure this disease?

Turning to the nearest history - of ours and our neighbours - and proceeding from the main diagnostic principle of anomie - the correspondence of society's values ​​to the means of achieving them, we can state that almost all countries in our region have encountered this phenomenon.

And first of all, it is the Soviet Union, which, despite its strength, size and, most importantly, the height of the bar of values ​​that it defined for itself as a superpower, existed for a little over 70 years, which from a historical point of view is practically nothing. Those who conceived to create a 'communist paradise' on earth ended up in the hell of interethnic wars, economic collapse, total devaluation of initially professed values, and the country disappeared from the political map of the world. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of versions, theories, reasons for the collapse of the USSR - from economic, political, historical to conspiracy theories and others, but the main one, it seems, lies precisely in the psychological reason, in the fact that people, specific people who lived in this state, ceased to believe in it, ceased to share its values, inventing their own or introducing others.

In the late 1980s, anomie, in fact, created two Soviet Unions: one - declared from TV screens, rostra of congresses and meetings, and the other - real, hidden in empty store shelves, flight from the 'communist paradise' to the West, boundless apathy and depression, corruption, crime and growing nationalism.

The fragments of the failed empire collapsed on the unprotected inhabitants of the 'communist paradise'

As Durkheim believed, the anomie of societies can force people to become people who have lost the meaning of life, deprived of any norms, capable of both killing others and suicide. It is no coincidence that the scientist even researched and introduced a special, so-called 'anomistic type of suicide,' in which a person physically destroys himself due to complete disappointment in the society in which he lives, and in the values ​​that he will never be able to realise.

The collapse of values ​​was followed by the collapse of the Union itself, and on its ruins three republics arose in the South Caucasus - Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. The values ​​of the huge empire have ceased to dominate people, but has the danger of anomie already disappeared for the newly-born states?

It seemed that then, when there was a unique historical opportunity to create one's own value picture of the world and satisfy the many aspirations of ordinary people, deceit, hypocrisy, cynicism - everything that destroyed the 'Soviet paradise' - would never again be elements of a new, free life. But people, striving for justice, for new, 'pure' values, did not understand that they were making a fundamental attribution error, which they would bitterly regret a little later...

Castro test: Fidel's words and deeds

So what is the fundamental attribution error? This phenomenon was first described by American psychologists Edward Jones and Victor Harris in 1967. In their experiment, they asked students to read out pre-prepared reports, in some of which Fidel Castro was sharply criticised, and in others he was strongly supported and praised. Why Castro, I think, is clear to everyone; after all, after the 1959 revolution, the 'Island of Freedom' under the leadership of the legendary Fidel divided US public opinion into his ardent enemies and admirers. So the use of the image of the leader of the Cuban revolution was fully consistent with the intention of the experimenters, who each time after a student read a report, informed the audience whether the speaker voluntarily or forcibly praised or scolded Castro. The results of the experiment surprised many: students, interpreting the behaviour of the reporters, were inclined to explain the reasons for choosing for or against Fidel not by the circumstances, but by the personal characteristics of the reporters.

American psychologists studied attribution errors using Fidel's example

Thus, an amazing feature of people was revealed: to trust a person's personality, his words more than objective circumstances, and thereby make a gross error. The people who listened to the reports and arguments of the students did not care whether they themselves praised Castro or they were forced to do so: if they praised, it means that they really loved him, if they scolded him, even forcibly, it means they really hated the Cuban revolutionary. So we can call our friend irresponsible whenever he is late for a meeting due to traffic congestion, knowing well that his delay was due to traffic jams. Explaining, interpreting the behaviour of other people, we attribute greater importance to their personality than to the circumstances in which that person founds himself, and thereby commit a fundamental attribution error.

Returning to the 1990s of the last century, one can clearly see the tendency of all former Soviet peoples, regardless of the circumstances and internal motivation, to ascribe to the people at the helm of power the features of fighters for freedom, democracy and progress only because they loudly declared it. Only later did it become clear that the outstanding qualities of fighters for their rights and the future attributed by the popular masses to these random people, were nothing more than a fundamental attribution error, but it was too late. The civil war in Georgia, chaos and separatism in Azerbaijan, the aggressive ideas of 'greater Armenia' inflamed the situation in the South Caucasus so much that the future of the entire region was in question.

We, more than others, have experienced this attributive self-deception, endowing ignorant ones with professionalism, limited in their imagination people with free-thinking, cowards and traitors with military talents. And they, believing in their own greatness, pompously rant at the rallies, touching the most delicate and sacred threads of the people's soul, climbed onto its head and, sitting there, brought us to the loss of 20% of our territory, economic collapse and the flow of refugees that filled the country from edge to edge.

Elchibey's attribution

And even when the then President Abulfaz Elchibey openly admitted his inability and incompetence, which in a sense did him honour, it was perceived as modesty, and not as his real state. But the entourage of this head of state had already done such things without undue modesty, which have to be raked up to this day.

Elchibey's bitter but honest confession

That is why, for us, the collapse of the empire called the Soviet Union continued until 1993. Although the country gained independence in 1991, the formation of not declared, but true values ​​of the people began in 1993, and peace was the first such value. Peace in everything - in Karabakh and outside it, peace within the country and efforts to avoid civil war, peace at home and the opportunity for everyone to feed themselves and their families, peace in the broadest sense of the word. It is this value or, more precisely, its embodiment that the Azerbaijani people found in the person of the great political figure Heydar Aliyev. With him, the people was no longer afraid to make a fundamental attribution error, because it knew well what his talent as a leader was capable of and what he had already done for the country. And the lingering anomie of society was overcome. Having brought Aliyev to power, the people corrected their own attributive error. However, have we insured ourselves against a recurrence of the anomie of values ​​in the future? As it turned out - NO!

The disintegration of values, the loss of ties between members of society occurs not only from a 'bad' life, anomie can manifest itself in a 'good' one too. It can also be consciously and artificially heated from the outside. All these 'paradoxes of anomie,' about which, apparently, the discoverer of this phenomenon Durkheim himself did not know, we had to face in our recent history. This is a topic for a separate article, so here I will touch on it only superficially.

Having returned Aliyev, the people corrected their attributive error

Thus, over 10 years - from 1993 to 2003 - President Heydar Aliyev, and then to the present day, President Ilham Aliyev have created an independent state with tremendous development potential. In a relatively short period of time, from a country that has lost all its directions, Azerbaijan has turned into a country that others are now building relationships and future connections with. Multiculturalism, humanitarian projects in the field of dialogue of civilisations have turned Baku into a world centre of cooperation, and the art of war and the great Victory of Azerbaijan have forever inscribed our people in the honorary list of victorious countries and peoples. All these successes were based on the economic potential of the country, its grandiose energy and infrastructure projects, which provided the material base and further development.

Equal among the strong

But the material always carries a danger for the spiritual, and values, like the spiritual bonds that unite the people, have fallen into the risk zone. Billions of investments, on the one hand, and the lacking by the majority of officials - who emerged from the Soviet bureaucratic overcoat - of resistance to the anomie virus, on the other, began to do their job. Corruption, parochialism, nepotism and other symptoms of corrosion of the values ​​that ensured the country's power began to flourish in almost all spheres of national economic activity. Since 2008, when the global economic crisis made itself felt and when it slowly but surely began to approach Azerbaijan, it became obvious that anomie as a gap between declared values ​​and means of achieving them in Azerbaijan really took root.

Ilham Aliyev anticipated events

One of the distinguishing features of the personality of President Ilham Aliyev is his ability to anticipate events. As a psychologist, I, of course, know that the role of heredity is great here, but at the same time this is the highest level of competence and education of our President: his knowledge of the basics and details of the architecture of social life of society and comprehensive awareness of the processes taking place in it allow him to always find optimal solutions. I dare to suggest that the beginning of a radical restructuring of the public administration system, renewal of the staff of managers, the fight against corruption, transparency in the economy, the social orientation of public policy, inclusiveness, innovativeness of youth policy and many other reforms that are purposefully introduced by President Ilham Aliyev have stopped the anomie that has begun, and allowed Azerbaijan to rise to a worthy level of world recognition.

But that's not all. Having become on a par with the powerful of this world, we realised that not everyone is happy to see an equal among equals, strong among the strong. The world has always been cruel to the weak, but it was even tougher to the strong. The Great Victory of Azerbaijan is proof of this. The hysteria that broke out in Germany and in the West as a whole confirms not only the success of the country's President's policy, but also the adequacy of our values, which ensure the connection between the state and society, with each individual member. That is why those who do not like us are fighting not only with us, but also with our values, trying to reject them and bring their own. And such an export of values ​​is an artificial infection with anomie, which is skilfully and purposefully carried out by the collective West, and which President Ilham Aliyev is so worthy and skilful in opposing. Look at how almost all the sins of mankind are attributed to our people, President Ilham Aliyev, by those who know what an attributive error is, by those who lie solely to turn on the mechanism of anomie and move us away from the place and role in world history that we deserve.

In approximately the same way, but, of course, with its own peculiarities, the processes in the post-Soviet period developed in Georgia, which also lost its territory, sank to the bottom of economic relations and was plunged into a civil war. However, unlike us, who took on the formation of our own values ​​and our own picture of the world, the Georgian people decided to focus on the Western model of social development, which, as the future shows, will bring them both huge dividends and deep disappointments. Today, Georgia, which is experiencing political upheavals, more than ever needs its proud 'I' and its values, which the West chosen by it as a reference point does not like so much and which it has lost in search of other people's traditions, having forgotten about its beautiful ones.

Mantra of Armenia

And what about Armenia? What system of values ​​did it choose when they began to form there? This is a key question, because the Armenian value orientations and worldview of the people began to form even within the Soviet Union and to some extent destroyed it, embodied in Armenian nationalism and separatism - one of the most noticeable symptoms of the severe anomie of Soviet values. So after the collapse of the USSR, Armenia did not form its own values, did not make a civilisational choice, did not go its own way. Unlike Azerbaijan and Georgia, it only officially announced that which for decades it had been whispering to lobbyists and protégés in the highest echelons of power in the USSR and in the world.

It all started with the 1988 mantra: 'Karabakh is Armenia'

Among these whispered values, the main ones were:

- miatsum - annexation of Karabakh to Armenia and further creation of 'Greater Armenia';

- 'Artsakh' - the creation of a second Armenian state in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan;

- annexation of a part of Georgia - Javakheti and its 'return' to the bosom of 'Greater Armenia';

- severing from Turkey its provinces Van, Erzurum and others, with the subsequent annexation to Armenia;

- occupation and annexation of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan;

- international recognition of the so-called 'Armenian genocide' with the subsequent forcing Turkey to pay a huge indemnity to the 'victims';

- ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijanis in Armenia and occupied Karabakh, as well as seven surrounding districts as the first stage in the creation of a mono-ethnic nation;

- ethnic cleansing in Armenia of all other ethnicities as the second stage in the creation of a 'pure' and 'God's chosen' nation;

- the creation, first of all, in Western society, and in the world in general, of the image of the Christian Armenian as a 'martyr' for his faith, and parasitism on the archetypal Christian Islamic-Turkish phobia;

- the creation of the so-called 'sacral' connection between Armenia and the diaspora, and the dependent use of the latter's resources for their own purposes;

- exaltation of the ideas of national patriotism and Nazism in the person of Garegin Nzhdeh and others;

- the use of terror, blackmail, slander, falsification of history as instruments of state policy.

False values ​​led to the first Karabakh war

These are only 12 goals and values ​​that are most significant for Armenia, which it, having begun to actively use from the beginning of the last century, carried across the entire Soviet Union and laid into the foundation for 'independent' Armenia in 1991. However, transferring what it used to ruin the values ​​of the USSR into the foundation of a formally separate country, it, without realising, laid a time bomb - anomie of the values ​​of the Armenian society - which was bound to set off in the future.

What was harmful to a huge country could not but have a destructive effect on Armenia itself. But then, in the early 1990s, when Azerbaijan was torn apart by internal and external contradictions, and a civil war was going on in Georgia, Armenia seemed the winner, the mistress of its fate and the favourite of the powerful. Is it possible that the Armenian people turned out to be so wise that they did not make a fundamental attribution error? Did the laws of social psychology fail to work in the case of Armenia?

Of course not. It's just that unlike its neighbours, its fundamental error, which ascribed exclusiveness to 'Armenianship' and absolutely did not take into account the realities of the region and neighbouring countries, was not exposed, but, on the contrary, was artificially supported. Armenia was helped to be 'successful' and unpunished in carrying out its criminal plan and building a false state based on the troubles of others. By accepting and supporting the above-mentioned crazy ideas, Armenia was turned into a puppet, an outpost needed by major powers, and at times it seemed that this would last forever.

However, the laws of science and nature are unchanged, and as soon as the situation changed, everything fell into place. Having failed to realise any of its false values, Armenia, with a delay of a hundred years, understood the full severity of the false attribution error that turned into the mentality of the people. Everything that was created turned out to be sick, hysterical, flawed and hopeless, but the most terrible thing was the criminally altered consciousness of the Armenian people.

How tragic it is, proves a shocking experiment involving 22 children, conducted by American psychologist Wendell Johnson in 1939. In it, the children were divided into two groups. Half of the children received positive speech therapy, praising the fluency of their speech, and the other half, negative speech therapy, belittling the children for speech imperfections and suggesting that they were stutterers. As a result, many children of the second group, who had not had any problems with speech before, developed stuttering, and it persisted for the rest of their lives. In 2001, the University of Iowa formally apologised to all victims of the experiment and paid them compensation in the amount of about a million dollars.

Almost the same was done by the patrons of Armenia with its people, only they instilled in it not inferiority, but, on the contrary, exclusivity, which is even worse, because it was this exclusivity that opened the way for a feeling of impunity and permissiveness, which led to the seizure of foreign lands, genocide in Khojaly, transformation of Azerbaijani cities and villages into ghosts. I think it would be fairer if the apologists of the so-called 'genocide' of Armenians, instead of senseless attempts to hold Turkey accountable for the events of 1915, switched their energy to those who performed this monstrous experiment on the Armenian people changing their consciousness and demanded compensation from the 'experimenters.'

Pashinyan's revolution as a new Armenian mirage

Surprisingly enough, but the revolution of 2018, in which Pashinyan won, was in the history of Armenia the first successful attempt of the Armenian people not only to get rid of the anomistic disease of society, but also to open their eyes to the terrible mistake of perceiving reality, to which they were taught. Armenia actually had a chance to recover from both Kocharyan-Sargsyan's anomie and the ideology of nationalism and xenophobia that has poisoned the consciousness of the Armenian people, and to form the true values ​​of good-neighbourliness and peace in the region. Unfortunately, this did not happen, because Nikol Pashinyan, even overthrowing the Sargsyans-Kocharyans, could not tear from the eyes of the Armenian people the veil, which over a century turned into a thick curtain of misunderstanding and rejection of the realities of today's world. Pashinyan understood this, but he did not have the strength to do it, and in the absence of such, provocativeness, insolence and impudence of behaviour became forms of his behaviour that sublimated these forces. Maybe it would have worked with some politicians, but not with Ilham Aliyev, who did not take long in coming - Armenia's surrender was signed on 10 November 2020.

The defeat of the Armenian army and the liberation of Karabakh is not only the surrender of the seriously ill anomie of Armenia, it is also the destruction of that wall of illusory values ​​that Armenia has built and which it so zealously defended. Strange as it may seem, but the liberation of Karabakh, the de-occupation of our lands became a salvation for Armenia, an opportunity to build a new, healthy country, without mistakes and false illusions, where there is a place for diversity and multi-confessionalism, friendship and good neighbourliness, where values ​​are achievable, because they serve the true interests of the Armenian people. If Pashinyan manages to prove and show his people that some of its representatives, former presidents, politicians scurrying around the troughs, false generals who want to infect their people with anomie again, once more enclose it with crooked mirrors and see Armenia as sick, flawed, dependent and submissive to others, then he will have a chance to stay in power. If this does not happen and the people do not find the strength to change their reality, then, as Durkheim said, an anomical suicide will happen, but not of an individual person, but of a whole society.

44 days of the great history of our Victory revived Azerbaijan, but our triumph gives a chance to revive Armenia as well. And the sooner the Armenians understand this, the more successful the recovery process will be. And if Nikol Pashinyan, again running in the upcoming election, still has the courage to admit this fact, then, I am sure, the anomie will recede, go away. May be not immediately, not in one day, but it will go away!

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