On December 3, 2020 Viktor Krivopuskov published a new article in the well known information agency REGNUM “Who will be responsible for the tragedy of Nagorno-Karabakh?” Viktor Krivopuskov is a chairman of the Russian Society for Friendship with Armenia, PhD in sociology, laureate of the Boris Polevoy Literary Prize, Honorary Member of the Writers’ Union of Armenia. Below is a partially non official translation from Russian by AGA-Tribunal.info.
… On November 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin commented on the territorial affiliation of Nagorno-Karabakh on the air of the “Russia 1” TV channel: “From the point of view of international law, Nagorno-Karabakh and all adjacent regions were and are an integral part of the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan”. This statement, without taking into account the international legal norms and provisions, unfortunately, sounds like a mantra about only one of the principles of the Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe on the “territorial integrity of states” and, it turns out, looks like a reasonable justification Azerbaijan for its aggressive so-called de-occupation war against the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), despite a direct violation, and in fact, blatant disregard of the principle of “Non-use of force or threat of force”, and especially the Bishkek document on ceasefire, four UN resolutions and other international agreements…
In addition, one more Helsinki principle is not mentioned today, which has a more important imperative force for the Karabakh problem, since it deals with the “rights of peoples to self-determination.” This was hardly mentioned before, but now, as we see, there is no talk about it at all. But it can be argued that for the sake of this eighth paragraph on universal human and political values, other nine principles of the OSCE Final Act were formulated in Helsinki in 1975. In opposite, we are now persistently told only about the importance of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, about the fact that, as in fairness, the territory of not only seven regions of the buffer zone is returned to it, but also 37 percent of 4.4 thousand square km of NKR, occupied in addition during the war. In fact, only the territorial ambitions of the president of Azerbaijan are at stake and in price, but the universal and democratic values, thousands of lives of peoples, both Armenian and Azerbaijani, by the apt expression of Falstaff in the XVII century Shakespeare’s play “King Henry”, are just “cannon fodder”. Isn’t that so?
If we suddenly follow the logic of Ilham Aliyev, it turns out that we should now welcome a new principle in interstate and international relations: “aggressive and unconditional use of force.” But, oddly enough, exactly these words sound like a justification for the war and its winner, who, firstly, unleashed it aggressively and, secondly, led it with dire consequences, moreover, with the participation of the Turkish military and more than 2,000 Islamist militants from Syria, Libya, from Ukraine, with the targeted use of prohibited types of rockets and shells against civilians, destroying civilian infrastructure: residential areas, schools, churches, maternity hospitals. Azerbaijan conducted the so-called counter-offensive operation against the NKR, what is called, with untied hands, although there was no offensive by Armenians along the entire line of contact at all. This allowed Aliyev and, while with impunity, to arrange a “tragedy in Nagorno-Karabakh”, putting the world almost on the brink of not only a regional conflict. On the other hand Armenia undoubtedly also bears its military-political responsibility for the war, victims and tragedy in the NKR.
A logical question arises: if there is a tragedy, then who is the culprit or the culprits? And why should we clearly recognize Azerbaijan as a winner in this war, and not as an aggressor worthy of a new Nuremberg?
We have still remembered and have not forgotten that Azerbaijan was ruthlessly waging a new war, trampling on all the key agreements on “ceasefire and non-use of force” developments in the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh problem. Azerbaijan actually deposed and rendered meaningless the long-term activities of the OSCE Minsk Group mission, Madrid, Kazan and other developments for a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh problem.The long-term deadlock was beneficial to Baku, allowed Ilham Aliyev to openly trample on the mediation efforts of Putin and other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Presidents of France Emmanuel Macron and the United States of America Donald Trump, appeals and appeals to this effect from the leaders of many leading countries of the world, the UN Security Council, as well as the agreement on humanitarian ceasefire of October 9, 2020. Moreover, every day he intensified the hostilities, deliberately directing them to the destruction of the civilian population and the civilian infrastructure of the NKR, while continuously accusing the NKR defense army of the same defensive actions.
… It should be pointed out directly that since the beginning of the XXI century, due to the Russian connivance, Azerbaijan at the state level began to confess a harsh Armenophobia, also both the ancient and even more modern history of Karabakh, Armenia, the Caucasus, Iran, and at the same time history of Russia, were perverted in an incomparable manner. This important topic, by the way, deserves a separate study.
One gets the impression that in the post-Soviet era, the Russian leadership was under political influence, but rather pressure from Azerbaijan, stopped full interaction with the NKR. It was explained that this is in the interests of the principle of “equal distance to both Armenia and Azerbaijan”. But what does the NKR and its people have to do with it?
With other unrecognized republics, for example, with Transnistria, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, communication from Moscow was carried out on a full scale, but not with NKR. Citizens and officials of other countries, including the Minsk Group co-chairing states, freely and fully communicated with the NKR. For Russians, there was a ban on any visit to Karabakh and on personal contact there with local residents, whose ancestors 300 years ago, in 1721, under Peter the Great, voluntarily accepted citizenship of the Russian Empire. This was especially true for diplomats and officials. Cultural and humanitarian contacts were not allowed. Whatever contradictory anti-historical and Armenophobic statements were expressed by Azerbaijan, they did not meet any objections from the official Moscow. Azerbaijan, infringing on the international rights and freedoms of Russians, was the first in the post-Soviet period to maintain black lists of those who have visited the NKR, including including deputies of the State Duma, journalists, and baku did not allow later those people into their country. Now this bad example turned out to be at the court of Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova…
… Today, Ilham Aliyev loudly and shamelessly dictates territorial conditions, unrealistic terms and schedules for the return of the buffer zone areas, threatens to claim billions of dollars in indemnities from the Armenians, increases the Armenian-phobic information war, declares the deprivation of even autonomous rights of Armenians, drags out the investigation of the allegedly accidentally shot down Russian helicopter flying in the internal airspace of Armenia, and the death of Russian pilots. However, at the same time, on the territory that Aliyev considers to be within the borders of integral Azerbaijan, on the issues of restoring the cities and villages destroyed by him, the return of Armenian refugees, both to Stepanakert and to the settlements of Azerbaijani regions, preventing a humanitarian catastrophe in Nagorno-Karabakh and solving other numerous problems he does not speak. As one can see, he perceives this work as a bonus to Azerbaijan, since along with the introduction of peacekeeping forces, the creation of humanitarian centers, the delivery of construction materials and the solution of many vital issues, generous Russia has already taken upon itself.
There are no questions to the fact that Russia in the form of peacekeepers returned to the Armenians of Karabakh and that our country provided urgent humanitarian assistance. But there is no need to push aside and replace the direct perpetrators of the tragedy in Karabakh, it is completely man-made, and for it the perpetrators must bear the full burden of responsibility, including material.