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Moscow-Washington contest over South Caucasus features more of gaining supremacy than peace

8 May 2023 23:00 (UTC+04:00)
Moscow-Washington contest over South Caucasus features more of gaining supremacy than peace
Qabil Ashirov
Qabil Ashirov
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In recent days, a political competition between Russia and the United States over the South Caucasus is getting more intensified. Both sides are seriously fighting to take the lead in the normalization of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations in order to maintain their dominance.

In a comment on the issue for Azernews, the pundit Turab Rzayev noted that it doesn't matter who moderates here. The main thing is who creates real conditions for peace and who offers a real platform. The political analyst reminded that even the Azerbaijani side had a proposal that Georgia was active in this matter. If Georgia wants, it can be a moderator, which is a common space for both America and Russia.

“The main issue here is how the parties approach peace. That is what is important for Azerbaijan. The USA is still ahead in this race. Because of the documents leaked to the press, it seems that the USA recognizes Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Karabagh. Secondly, the USA sees the principle of self-determination of Armenians as absurd. Instead of the idea of a so-called “independent artsakh republic” or the right of "arsakh people" to self-determination, they see [Karabakh] Armenians as a political minority in Azerbaijan,” Turab Rzayev said.

He also does not rule out that the USA press the parties. The USA are pressuring Azerbaijan regarding the rights of Armenians in Karabakh, even reports say that they press Azerbaijan to give some autonomy. On the other hand, they pressure Armenia to recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and to recognize Karabakh Armenians as an ethnic minority in Azerbaijan. He emphasizes that there is a real peace plan on the table under the name of the Washington plan. In addition, the EU also has a plan, as well. In the Brussels effect, the parties were offered about $5bn as financial assistance so that the parties would sign peace and start the process of border delimitation and demarcation.

“However, we do not see similar steps from Russia. Russia is not exactly laying out a peace map. On the contrary, we even see that Russia labels Pashinyan as a traitor regarding Washington's plan because he recognized Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan. So I don't think Russia has anything more to offer for peace at this point,” the pundit pointed out.

He noted that Russia has measures to do more provocations. Russia can prevent peace by perpetrating these provocations, just as before, at the meeting in Washington when the Armenian FM had to stop the meeting and flew to Moscow, and was obliged to give more positive interviews about Russia. Because open provocations against Pashinyan's personality had already started.

As for the claims of the US mass media about Russian intention to turn Karabakh into South Ossetia and Donbas, the pundit said it could also be possible. Rzayev said that he wrote two articles about the issue when the 9 November statement was signed.

“I noted in my articles that we must open all lines of communication with Armenia. Because we have to force Armenia to peace. We don't need constant conflict. It is not necessary to maintain the front line created there permanently. In addition, we must allow the formation of the Russian Karabakh. In other words, it is clear that the Armenian Karabakh project is over. The West, Armenia, and even the regime in Karabakh understand that the dreams of Armenians to create a new Armenian state here or to unite Karabakh with Armenia are finished. This is not a possible option any more. Even Pashinyan does not propose their independence or unification with Armenia. Everyone accepted this. However, the process of Russification may continue. It is clear that the idea of the Armenian Karabagh was abandoned and the idea of the Russian Karabagh was switched to. That is, the Russian language was declared the second state language in Karabakh. The Russian community was created. I would like to inform you that there is a large Russian community in Azerbaijan, and the head of the community was elected as a member of the Azerbaijani parliament. What is the need to create a second such community in the territory of Azerbaijan?

Also, branches of Russian ministries were established in Karabakh, and statues of Russian historical personalities and public figures are being erected in Karabakh. Support rallies for Putin are being held on the issue of Ukraine. To whom is all this a message?” Turab Rzayev stressed.

He said that Pashinyan does not need such activities. He opined that Russia is doing these aiming to stay in the region via Karabakh even if it would be withdrawn from Armenia. The Pundit noted that it is not a new idea. Turab Rzayev reminded that even Zhirinovsky said that the Karabagh belongs neither to Armenia nor Azerbaijan, the Karabagh belongs to Russia. In this regard, the president's office in Ukraine has repeatedly informed that Russia is doing what it did in Crimea even now in Karabakh.

“I also stated in my articles that the Armenian Karabagh has brought many disasters to Azerbaijan for 30 years. So, we cannot allow Russian Karabakh. However, it seems that Russia is trying its best to freeze the conflict. If the conflict is frozen, it will be like the Transnistria conflicts, Ossetian and Abkhazian conflicts which have remained unresolved for 30 years. Therefore, under no circumstances we should allow the formation of the idea of Russian Karabagh. Even in his interview with the BBC, Vardanyan seems to rely on Russia, although he did not say it openly,” the political analyst opined.

He added that the approach of the USA regarding the right of Armenians to self-determination and viewing Armenians as a national minority in Azerbaijan may not satisfy Armenia to some extent. However, the pundit thinks that Pashinyan agrees with these conditions.

“The opposition in Armenia is an obstacle to Pashinyan [in this process]. Even in Pashinyan's own party, there are those who quit their jobs, and accuse Pashinyan of treason. These individuals are clearly sabotaging the process. The Hraparak agency leaks information about the peace agreement in all the media, for example. The agency is a publication that works for the opposition and forces close to Russia. The news of this publication caused great upheaval in Armenia and Karabakh. Putin also accuses Pashinyan of recognizing Karabagh as the territory of Azerbaijan. An interesting question arises. Does Russia not recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan? I see this process more like Russia forcing Pashinyan to get support than Pashinyan getting support from Russia due to his displeasure with Washington. On the one hand, Russia is putting pressure on Pashinyan with the help of the opposition, the former Karabakh clan, on the other hand, with the help of the separatists in Karabakh, and on the other hand, with the help of the media in Russia,” the political analyst concluded.

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