We, the journalistic community, often complain about the fact that journalists of Azerbaijani media accredited in Moscow can not ask questions regarding Azerbaijan at the press conferences of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. One would think: here’s Putin (Lavrov), waiting for questions from the audience, and here are our journalists. Why are you, my family, silent? Stand up and ask a question, as they say, straight to face. Sometimes (let’s face it), the author of these lines, tries on the role of these journalists: Ah, would I have been in his shoes, I would certainly have taken advantage of the opportunity presented to me and showered Putin and Lavrov with questions.
Well, here, it’s like, our indignation is quite understandable and justified. Something else is unclear. Namely – there is no point in resenting and blaming our colleagues for the provocation, who finally managed to ask Putin and Lavrov, regarding the most important problems of our country – the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani-Karabakh and 7 adjacent districts.
This is what happened today – at a press conference of Lavrov, Azerbaijani journalist who was representing one of the local TV channels in Moscow, asked him a question: what will Moscow’s position be in the event of a counter-terrorist operation in the occupied territories and the removal of the occupation forces, will Moscow turn its blind eye or interfere in the internal affairs of Azerbaijan? Some media promptly accused the journalist of almost provoking Lavrov to a sharp response. I’m sorry: what did an Azerbaijani journalist have to be interested in? In Lavrov’s outlook regarding normalization of Russian-American relations which are alien to us? What is our deal with that? The journalist asked the right question, and the fact was that Lavrov, being a diplomat, had to respond diplomatically.
But what did the fan of calling journalists “morons” answer the question? According to the Russian Foreign Minister, “carrying out any military operations and use of force in Nagorno Karabakh is not an internal affair of Azerbaijan.” That’s how it turns out – the Russian Foreign Minister who in words recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as Azerbaijani territory, however, ignores the international law and does not consider the actions of Baku on its own territory as an internal affair of Azerbaijan. I remember, the Kremlin and Smolenskaya Square literally seethed with anger when the international community pointed at Russia’s actions in Chechnya. Killings of civilians, cleansing, bombing of population centres in Chechnya. Then Moscow was covering itself with the rhetoric about the “fight against terrorism” and territorial integrity, and recommended the international community not to nose into the internal affairs of Russia. How is it: Chechnya – is an internal affair of Russia and Karabakh – is not an internal affair of Azerbaijan? Although Azerbaijan is not going to commit mass murder of the Armenians of Karabakh, but on the contrary, offers them the highest status of autonomy. Besides, to be honest, Armenians have their own state – the Republic of Armenia, and the Chechens, Tatars and Bashkirs don’t have an independent state.
But the most important thing was yet to come. While the ink, as they say, on the words of Lavrov was hardly dry, operational and harsh response came from the head of the Azerbaijani diplomacy, Elmar Mammadyarov. I admit that it was the first time that I have seen such a reaction (or the first time in recent years). In an interview with APA Mammadyarov tore Lavrov’s mask of duplicity off, saying that it is Russia’s destructive position that prevents a just settlement of the Karabakh conflict: “I am absolutely sure that if Russia deals with the issue seriously, then the status quo will be changed in the region to restore stability and the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan will be provided “.
In principle, it has been spoken for a long time by foreign experts and analysts, but right now Mammadyarov clearly stated that Russia does not want the conflict to be resolved. The frozen conflict, the status quo in Karabakh is advantageous, because it allows to influence on Azerbaijan and Armenia. Let’s not prevaricate: Baku has hoped for a long time that Russia would finally realize the threat that comes from its borders because of the unresolved conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. That Russia is satisfied with the fact that Azerbaijan, unlike other post-Soviet states, pursues a balanced foreign policy, being careful not to hurt the feelings of its northern neighbor. That, finally, Moscow is satisfied with the fact that Azerbaijan, among other countries, contributes to the Russian MIC, spending billions of dollars on buying Russian weapons (which at the same time, is received by Armenia free of charge or on preferential terms). Alas, it seems that it is not enough for Russia, and it shifted to blackmail Azerbaijan (pre-Christmas statement of already former Secretary General of the CSTO Bordyuzha about the “NKR”, apparently, was the touchstone).
But Lavrov miscalculated. Baku does not accept pressure and blackmail from other countries, even from those which have nuclear weapons. We can be friends, we can be mutually beneficial in trade, we can extend a helping hand to others in a difficult moment for them. But we will not let the others talk to us in the language of threats, and even more so, we will never let anyone tear our territories off Azerbaijan. And the answer of Mammadyarov is a good example.
Author: Ruslan Ismailov