A recent trip to the independent Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh with the task to amass material for Veterans Today, left me with a dual impression. On one hand, I encountered an unusually beautiful geographical region with correspondingly the same kind of very spiritual and beautiful people.
On the other hand, it was another page of sorrow, blood and destruction, which, unfortunately, has not turned yet.
The project “Nagorno-Karabakh” is inscribed into global policy, so likely this card will still unfortunately be played, and the “four day war” could become another “frozen” conflict”, like the war in Donbass, where in the deafening silence of the media, the shelling and killing of people continue with impunity.
Nagorno-Karabakh is located between Armenia and Azerbaijan. You can historically examine the past and find archeologically back up evidence that Armenians have lived there since the 4th century AD. The population of Armenians have always prevailed in this region. We may recall the fact that Azerbaijan, as well as Ukraine are newly created states. In the beginning of the formation of the Soviet Union, the lands that held the vast majority of Armenians, were attached to Azerbaijan just as Russian Donbass was attached to Ukraine. Despite the fact that the attachment of Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan was maintained quite painfully, considering how many times the decision has been changed, such a policy doesn’t seem too out of place providing it incorporates principles of equality and internationalism with some positive results, such as the peaceful co-existence and even intermarriage. Atheistic ideology prevented religious strife. Given that one of the goals of the Bolsheviks in the 1917th was a World Revolution with widespread victory of the proletariat, the assimilation of different nationalities fit into this scheme. When this idea was abandoned, it evolved into a “time bomb”, as Vlad Putin remarked. For a certain period of time friendship between peoples flourished in the USSR and to a large extent this cooperation helped the Soviet people to be victorious over the Nazi German invaders. A Nationalist sentiment remained in the Baltic republics and Western Ukraine, where the “Bandera project” never really ceased to exist as it is a lethal weapon against the brotherhood of the Russian and Ukrainian people.
With the advent of Gorbachev in power, the process was initiated that focused on the break up and disassociation of nations and the spreading of selective information, whether fraudulent or sometimes real, but accented in the “right” places, gave rise to hostility between the nations inhabiting the USSR and general resentment towards Russian people. All of this was called “glasnost.” It is clear that Gorbachev himself, who never had enough intelligence and even never learned how to pronounce the name of the Republic of Azerbaijan, would not be able to create and implement such a plan. The principles set out in the doctrine of Dulles, which is now declared a fake, fully corresponds directly with the actions of overseas puppet masters and their puppets who sold the country. If Allen Dulles never created this doctrine, even as a fake, its principles fully lay out the fundamentals of the destruction of the country. So, regardless who is the author, there will be those who are thankful for it.
In those years we observed the rise of the Russophobic sentiment, fueled by “greens” and also the active phase of anti-Armenian resentment in Azerbaijan. In Karabakh, I met a lot of those refugees from Azerbaijan. All of them told me that they simply were squeezed out of the country. “My son came back from school and said, that boys throw his backpack with his books out of the window of the 4th floor, and warned him to not come back to school if he doesn’t want to be thrown too.” Was this behavior reciprocal on the Armenian side? After the massacre of Armenians in Sumgait it is indeed very possible. I saw the destroyed and abandoned villages which where once populated by Azerbaijanis. Azerbaijani army units were placed in these villages and they became targets for the Armenian army. It is understandable that people left the shelled areas. I asked the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh if they have any hatred towards Azerbaijanis. We don’t hate them – I heard the answer – but we realized that for the time since the beginning of the first Karabakh war our neighbor is our enemy, who is ready to kill us.
In the city of Shusha I met a man who had previously considered himself Azerbaijani, based on his father’s nationality. Then he was taken as a prisoner by Azerbaijanis. He spent six month in prison, where he was beaten and tortured. Now he says: “I am not an Azerbaijani, I am Arminian!”
It is hard to blame the Azerbaijani people, at least less so than Ukrainians. It is now possible to understand what is happening in the world, thanks to the Internet that provides this opportunity. Today it’s up to you to be blind or to open your eyes. But back in those years people could get only the information which they were programmed to receive through the media.
My colleague, a Chechen journalist named Saslanbek Isayev asked the headman of the village of Talish, Vilen Petrosyan, would it be a different situation, if the ideological efforts of Azerbaijan were deprived of aggression and anti-Armenian propaganda. “Nothing bad would have happened, – said Vilen, – there would be no war.” People on both sides are only unwitting participants in the bloody spectacle orchestrated not by them, but in which they are forced to take part, leaving their homes, losing loved ones and their own lives.
Nagorno-Karabakh demanded independence in 1988. This is recent history. But for the peoples of the Caucasus it is very important, who lived in the area for centuries. According to their mentality it is very important for them to stay close to the graves of their ancestors.
However, to address this issue, it is more important that the majority of the population now and before are Armenians. They care about this region and are doing everything possible for its prosperity (in fact, the new industries have begun to develop after the proclamation of the independence). All men in more or less mature age passed through the first Karabakh war, and all the boys and young men are ready to either join the ranks of the defenders, or are already in combat positions. These people deserve their rights for this land. All the people of Karabakh stand together as one giant monolith. Both women and children all are filled with patriotism and ready, if necessary, to die for their land. It is no pathos, just a statement of fact. When I was at the firing positions I, too, said without any pathos: “Nobody’ll ever defeat you. You’ll win.” I just saw it. The entire republic is like a single clenched fist.
What is the motivation of the Azerbaijanis? No matter how they have flared nationalist sentiment in the media and social networks, Azerbaijani soldiers do not need this land. The four-day war claimed the lives of nearly one hundred Armenians and, according to unconfirmed reports, nearly two thousand Azerbaijanis. This is after the complete retooling of the Azerbaijani army. “We are stronger” – said the Armenians and this true. Their spirit is higher, their motivation is stronger. They protect their land, their families and their people.
Who needed that war that began so suddenly and so fast stopped? After Nuland’s trip to Azerbaijan, a new outbreak of the Karabakh conflict was expected. But despite the fact that the Karabakh conflict is inscribed into global politics and is managed from overseas, it is still unlikely that the signal to spark this hot phase was given from Washington. On the contrary, by suddenness, futility and rapid pacification of the conflict, it seems that it came untimely. Rather, it could be expected that fires would be set all over the arc from the possible conflict in Kaliningrad (remember the remark of McFaul?), Baltic States, Moldova, Tajikistan and Nagorno-Karabakh, as one of the links in this chain. Armenian politicians voiced the version that for Erdogan (Baku always coordinates its action with Istanbul) it was an opportunity to carry out his wet dream to finally achieve direct dialogue with Putin. That Erdogan is shallow-minded and crude in his actions is already a well-known fact. In Karabakh itself, many believe that Ilham Aliyev sparked this conflict, due to the deteriorating economic situation of the country, in order to divert people’s attention. In this case, he did not need a protracted conflict. The motivation of the servicemen was very low at first, but will raise after losses among their comrades. The patriotic spirit will be enhanced and this can guarantee protection against social unrest for some time.
And this version of events has the right to exist. Being in combat positions, I was curious as to whether there was any provocation or other signs that active military hostilities would begin. The tension was always there, but without special features.
However this came to take place, that four days of fighting did not bore solve any global problems and, apparently, was untimely. Whatever goals were trying to be met by those who started the “four day war” people were killed on both sides.
Alla Pierce, Veterans Today correspondent, especially for RINF