A Russian blogger and journalist, who recently visited Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) to join the events marking the 30th anniversary of the liberation movement, shared his impressions of the trip in recent comments to Tert.am.
Stanislav Stremidlovsky, an editor for the regional news agency Regnum, said it was his second visit to the country after a tour several years ago.
“The Republic breathes in peace and is full of optimism; it is developing and looking towards the future,” he said, addressing also the population’s concerns over the existing war threats.
“The restless neighbor [Azerbaijan] is preparing for presidential elections in April, and because they have long opted for the confrontational behavior, it is reasonable to expect certain provocations, including armed conflicts,” he said, noting that he didn’t observe any anxiety or panic in the course of the visit.
The journalist said he had met with very knowledgeable and smart people in Artsakh.
“The people of Artsakh are peace-loving but also very attentive,” he added. Asked to comment on the liberation movement’s impact on the world history, or regional developments, Stremidlovsky said, “I really like to hear the word combination ‘people of Artsakh’ because, to the best of my understanding, the Artaskhtsis are really considered a people – united by their strong will. And I don’t believe that they made their way into history only in the past 30 years; they trace their roots back to 300 years,” he said, referring to important episodes of history.
Addressing the Azerbaijan’s policy of blacklisting foreigners who visit Artsakh, the Regnum editor attributed it to the Soviet Azerbaijani authorities’ ambition to create “a uniform country” (banning any claims or sympathies for the Armenian identity).
“And that probably led them to the idea of creating those black lists,” he said. ”What would, after all, make the things so horrible for them if the people who ever visited Artsakh visit also Azerbaijan to tell [the people there] how the country lives now. In that case very probably, the much respected people of Azerbaijan might exert pressure upon their government to urge them to normalize the relations with the Armenians (who aren’t absolutely aliens to them). If that’s really true, this kind of behavior by Baku gives ground only to compassion,” he added.