Caucasus Reality 10 july — 12:53

Dugin in Armenia: 'Whole Karabakh is Azerbaijan's territory'

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BY ARMENIA SECTION

The visit of prominent representatives of the Russian political establishment to the village of the occupied Jabrayil district, liberated during the April war of 2016, still excites the Armenian public opinion. In Armenia, many people perceive the loud statements of Dugin, Shevchenko, Korotchenko, as well as State Duma deputies Savelyev and Yezubov, as a transformation in the position of the Russian public regarding the Karabakh conflict. Yerevan is concerned: the Russian establishment now occupies a pro-Azerbaijani position.

One of the now pro-government media in Armenia, 1in.am published an interview with the leader of the International Eurasian Movement, Alexander Dugin. We present to you the most relevant parts of the conversation translated by the employees of Azeri Daily from Armenian into English.

- In the first days of July you became a participant of a conference in Baku, entitled 'Azerbaijan is Russia's only ally in the South Caucasus.' What does this 'only' word mean? Isn't Armenia an ally of Russia?

- The forum was held within the framework of precisely Russia's allied relations with Azerbaijan, taking into account the new geopolitical realities that have developed in the South Caucasus today. After Pashinyan came to power, and he came to power, in my deep conviction, as a result of a 'colour revolution,' the agreements that were reached with Azerbaijan by the previous Armenian authorities, namely, the return of five of the seven districts, were cancelled. But this was the key to the restoration of stability, the beginning of a peaceful settlement of the confrontation. However, the agreements are suspended and even completely annulled.

Today, Russia, being an ally of Armenia, is in fact more and more strategically interested in cooperation with Azerbaijan in different spheres, for which a peaceful solution of the Karabakh problem is simply necessary. And Pashinyan's policy put an end to the hope for this, having crossed out all previous agreements, which could lead to an escalation, aggravation of the situation. That is why Russian politicians and public figures gathered for the conference. However, the public reaction to the event was very ambiguous both in Armenia and in Russia. But there was no talk of anti-Armenianism. The speeches at the conference completely lacked any criticism of Armenians and Armenia. It was only about cooperation and return to the agreements, in the achievement of which the Armenian government took part. Nevertheless, for some reason, the transfer of the five districts to Azerbaijan by peaceful, non-military means was questioned by the new Armenian authorities...

- Forgive me, but there were no official reports that former President Serzh Sargsyan intended to transfer five districts to Azerbaijan at the end of his rule, as there was no official information that the new leadership cancelled this promise. Where did you get such information from?

- Of course, I have this information, and it is reliable. But that's not the point. Russia's rapprochement with Azerbaijan is a sovereign decision of both countries. But in order for this rapprochement to be peaceful, Armenia must also take part in it, because the alleged close and developing Russian-Azerbaijani cooperation is not directed against it.

I declare with all responsibility that in our conference even in absentia there was nothing anti-Armenian. And if Pashinyan continues Serzh Sargsyan's path, the rapprochement between Baku and Moscow will only accelerate and will never be directed against Armenia.

Russia wants peace in the interests of all parties, wants to settle the situation. The return of the five districts will satisfy all parties, and Armenia will only benefit from this step. This will not be a one-sided process: the President of Azerbaijan is ready to grant privileges for economic cooperation, as well as to promote the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border. Armenia can finally get out of the blockade, get rid of the hostile environment.

So I am amazed at how the Armenian side commented on this event, which in no way was an anti-Armenian demarche. All this garbage, which some people poured into the Internet and the press, simply amazes me.

- Russia says it supports the settlement of the conflict in the format of the OSCE Minsk Group, and now you are talking about the transfer of five districts, which in fact is a separate plan. Is this your own opinion or do you transmit messages from Russian official circles? In Moscow, for example, many people say that this is a private opinion.

- In Russia there is only one official opinion, and this is the opinion of the President of Russia. All the rest represent a different kind of interpretation of it. There are people who defend what I say, others present the problem in a different way. In Russia, there are different groups of political analysts. I express not only my opinion, but also a look at the things of important and influential strategic groups dealing with the problems of the Middle East, Turkey, Iran, the South Caucasus. I am convinced that this is an opinion of professionals.

However, there are people who are guided by sympathy or prejudice, sympathy and antipathy. Unlike them, I am not guided by emotions and I oppose war, I want only peace.

In Baku, I was accompanied by military experts and State Duma deputies, including from United Russia, journalists. But even this is not so important. The main thing is that there are objective geopolitical realities. This is not about changing the relations between Russia and Armenia, but about the fact that Azerbaijan's role for Russia in the South Caucasus has increased significantly, and this cannot be overlooked. Relations between Russia and Turkey have also changed, which I also contributed to. Armenia should now consider these changes in terms of constructiveness. If some constructive agreements on strategic issues were reached with the former Armenian leadership, then new people in power should follow this agreements. And then there will be no problems.

Over time, Georgia, with which Russia is trying to establish relations, will also participate in these processes to find new points for the restoration of contacts.

So the reaction to the conference is greatly exaggerated. There were intellectuals and professionals, including a woman from Armenia, human rights activist Susan Jaghinyan.

- If you do not know, then this woman is not from Armenia for a long time: she fled to Baku, and at home she is considered a traitor.

- Perhaps. I do not quite understand the situation, but I remember that at the conference she spoke about peace and about the sufferings of mothers.

- You call yourself a peacemaker, but you went to Leletepe, which Azerbaijan took away by military means in 2016. How does this fit with the purpose of your visit?

- First of all, as you should know, in Russia's opinion, not only these five districts, but the whole of Karabakh is the territory of Azerbaijan. This is enshrined in international law. And I think it is natural to visit a territory, which my country recognises as the land of Azerbaijan. Secondly, it was a trip to the outskirts of Leletepe. It cannot be called visiting with any military purposes. In my hands, I had no weapons, and I did not take part in military operations. I just wanted to understand what actions are being taken in this territory, how destructive they are, how dangerous, and how future events can develop. And I repeat: we recognise this territory as the land of Azerbaijan, and any movement there by a Russian citizen is quite normal. This place has not been conquered by Armenia, and from the legal point of view I have not violated any laws.

Neither I, nor any of the conference participants made any anti-Armenian statements. It was a scientific conference. I visited borders with Kurdistan, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, went to hot spots to explore, understand what is happening there. This is my life: I must see the place of events with my own eyes. You can say anything, proclaim slogans without seeing the suffering of people. Not personally attending the war, everything seems easy and simple, but we must not only take a look, but also familiarise ourselves with the war. My presence there was very justified, I did not break any law, so why should I justify myself? I am convinced that there is no alternative to peace, people should not suffer; mutual concessions, mutual commitments must be made. Blood is a great tragedy...

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