Azerbaijani Politics 20 august — 12:03

Ramiz Mehdiyev points out Pashinyan's mistake (Academician's new treatise)



The balanced foreign policy pursued by Azerbaijan during the years of independence, the pragmatic use of oil and gas resources, and the socially oriented domestic policy have turned it into a modern stable state, which enjoys well-deserved respect around the world. However, the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict inherited from the former Soviet Union, the settlement of which is the most important foreign policy priority for the Azerbaijani state, is still waiting for its final and fair solution.

As informs Azerbaijan State News Agency, these thoughts are reflected in the book by the Head of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Academician Ramiz Mehdiyev. The book is entitled 'Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: Origins of the Problem and Prospects for Settlement' and has just been published in the Azerbaijani and Russian languages.

The first Karabakh war

Valuable publication based on authoritative historical sources

Academician Ramiz Mehdiyev, penetrating the roots of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in his new work, on the basis of the most authoritative sources, systematically and stage-by-stage analyses how the events began. According to the scientist, in order to comprehend the essence of the origins, the causes of the conflict and the current situation, it is necessary to consider it primarily in the context of the Russian Empire and Soviet government's resettlement policy in the South Caucasus.

In the scientific work, the expeditions of Peter I to the Caucasus, the annexation of the Caspian coast by Russia, the Russo-Iranian wars in the 19th century, the Turkmanchay Treaty and the first wave of resettlement of Armenians to the originally Azerbaijani lands - the territories of the former Karabakh, Nakhchivan and Irevan khanates - are brought to attention in a logical sequence, as well as the second wave of resettlement of Armenians after the Adrianople Peace Treaty between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. The author presents all this on the basis of sources of the time when these events took place, including 'Notes on the resettlement of Armenians from Persia to our regions' (1828) by Russian Ambassador to Iran Alexander Griboyedov, 'Descriptions of the resettlement of the Adderbid Armenians to Russia with a brief preliminary statement of the historical times of Armenia ' (1831) by Sergey Glinka, Acts of the Caucasus Archaeographic Commission (1878), etc.

For example, from the notes in the book of Nikolay Shavrov related to 1911, it becomes clear that of the 1 million 300 thousand Armenians living in Transcaucasia at that time, over one million were not indigenous, but were resettled by Russia. These and other sources confirm that due to these relocations in the region, the percentage of Armenians in relation to the local Muslim population was artificially changed. Summing up the irrefutable facts, the academician writes: 'The efforts of the monophysite Armenian church to create a national state coincided with the colonial interests of the Russian Empire. Russia assisted in the resettlement of Armenians from Iran and Turkey to the South Caucasus and the creation of a separate Armenian region there, bordering Turkey and Iran, and, in turn, the duty of the Armenians was to become loyal allies of Tsarist Russia in the region, i.e. its outpost.'

Substantiating the fact that Soviet Russia continued the pro-Armenian policy of Tsarist Russia, the academician cites as an example the artificial formation of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, as well as the inclusion of Zangezur, Goycha and other originally Azerbaijani lands in Armenia, the transformation of Nakhchivan into an exclave. The author also brings to the attention the fears of the Soviet state related to Turkey, the purposeful activity of pro-Armenian circles in Moscow: 'It is no secret that traditionally the ideologists of Armenian chauvinism expressed open claims against Turkey and Azerbaijan, considering East Anatolia, Nakhchivan, Karabakh and Zangezur as once areas of the so-called 'Greater Armenia' stretching from sea to sea. Under Soviet rule, the Armenians got the opportunity to annex the territory of Zangezur and achieve autonomy for the Karabakh Armenians, thereby laying the foundation for further exclusion of Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan.'

After the historic meeting of the Caucasus Bureau

One of the points that Academician Ramiz Mehdiyev emphasises is the policy aimed at changing the ethnic composition in the territory where the Armenians were resettled. The book includes facts of mass deportation of Azerbaijanis from the Armenian SSR in 1948-1953, repatriation of Armenians in 1946-1949. A prominent scientist comes to the conclusion that the resettlement policy pursued by Tsarist Russia and Soviet power for two centuries has led to a significant change in the demographic landscape of the region. The final chord of this process was the expulsion of Azerbaijanis from Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven occupied districts of Azerbaijan in 1988-1993. Consequently, the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must first of all be considered as a logical result and the next stage of the policy of deportation, forced exile and genocide carried out against ethnic Azerbaijanis.

Touching upon the events that took place in the 1980s, the author writes that the removal from power of one of the highest leaders of the USSR Heydar Aliyev at that time created favourable political ground for the withdrawal of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region (NKAO) from Azerbaijan and integration of it into Armenia by the ultranationalist circles of Armenia and their patrons in the Kremlin and foreign countries. The then leadership of the USSR, headed by Mikhail Gorbachev, chose the path of patronising the separatist aspirations of the nationalists, which further aggravated the situation, and it was in this context that one should approach the provocation committed in Sumgayit in February 1988.

The academician regrets that at the beginning of these tragic events in Nagorno-Karabakh, the occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan was also facilitated by the lack of a firm position, the irresponsibility and lack of professionalism of the then Azerbaijani Communist leaders and leaders of the Popular Front.

Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh problem in the context of interstate conflict

The author, who agrees with the opinion that the conflict subsequently became one of the catalysts for the collapse of the USSR, exploring the problem in the context of interstate conflict, writes: 'It [the conflict] has turned not only into an international problem and a clash of various regional and world actors and their interests, but also became a mechanism of influence and pressure on the warring parties.'

The book discusses international documents that are the legal basis for resolving the problem and today retain their legal force. For example, after the collapse of the USSR, the international borders of Azerbaijan (like the borders of other union republics) were recognised by the international community on the basis of the principle of uti possidetis juris, that is, within the framework of its former administrative borders existing at the time of its independence. This provision was also reflected in the Agreement on the Establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States of December 8, 1991. The agreement was reaffirmed by a protocol signed on December 21 in Alma-Ata by the eleven former union republics, including Azerbaijan and Armenia. As an example, the author recalls the decisions and resolutions of a number of international organisations, including the OSCE and the UN, supporting the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

If Heydar Aliyev had not been removed from the Politburo

Along with this, the work also brings to attention the successful foreign policy of Azerbaijan after the return of the great leader Heydar Aliyev to power, including the progress in resolving the conflict achieved at the Budapest and Lisbon summits of the OSCE. At the same time, the double standards of Western states are shown as factors hindering the solution of the problem, which is justified by specific facts.

Armenia, losing opportunities, lost peace

Reflecting on the prospects for the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the author gives new examples of the negative impact of the unresolved problem on Armenia. For example, the theses from the article 'War or Peace: A Time to Think About It' by former President Levon Ter-Petrosyan remain relevant today. Or a study conducted earlier this year by the Berlin headquarters of the consulting company BE Berlin Economics GmbH entitled 'The economic impact of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement on Armenia and Azerbaijan' indicates the benefits of peace for the neighbouring state.

Noting also that the question of international recognition in the political context of the so-called 'second Armenian state' has never been raised in practical terms, Academician Ramiz Mehdiyev emphasises that the attempt of Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan to unilaterally change the format of the negotiations was rejected by international mediators, and the format of the meeting of the leaders of the two states on March 29 in Vienna has not changed. The author also recalls the idea expressed by President Ilham Aliyev in an interview with TASS after the meeting: 'The format of the negotiations has remained unchanged. Negotiations are ongoing between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as it has been for many years.'

The academician writes: 'All these years, Armenian society has been living with the hope that the 'victory' won on the battlefield will soon be consolidated in the diplomatic sphere. However, the leadership of this country did not understand that by committing aggression against the neighbouring state, occupying its territory, conducting ethnic cleansing, barbarously destroying cities and villages to the ground, Armenia did not really win, but lost! It lost peace, missing so many opportunities. To understand this, it is enough to compare today's Azerbaijan with Armenia, to assess the gap in socio-economic development, which will increase even more over the years.'

The work with reference to numerous sources, including the book 'Narco-Karabakh' by a Briton Harold Kane, reveals the criminal essence of the occupation regime created by Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Ter-Petrosyan's sobriety and Pashinyan's mistakes

Citing the well-known statement of the American theologian James Freeman Clark (1810-1888) that 'a politician is a person who thinks about the next election, while a statesman thinks about the next generation,' Academician Ramiz Mehdiyev emphasises that until a fair settlement of the conflict there will be no fundamental changes in the socio-economic life of Armenia.

The new book by Academician Ramiz Mehdiyev creates a clear and holistic view of the sources of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the prospects for its settlement. This work, which is of great importance from the point of view of communicating to the public, in particular Russian-speaking readers, of the essence of the problem, is also an important source for political science and political research.

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