- Leyla khanim, we have been watching the recent reports of Armenian attacks on Azerbaijanis in the United States and Belgium, and Azerbaijani retaliatory attacks on Armenians in Russia. What is happening? What does the fact that the Armenian-Azerbaijani confrontation took place outside the borders of the two countries, the front, and the line of contact, mean?

Leyla Aliyeva- The first reason is that the conflict has been going on for 30 years and is not resolved. In other words, it cannot be resolved either within the existing negotiations or by military means. Therefore, this conflict is already crossing borders in various forms. Until now, the Armenian Diaspora was active. But for 30 years, the Azerbaijani Diaspora has also slowly emerged. Now, not only the views of the Armenian Diaspora are spreading abroad but also they are facing resistance as a result of the activities of the Azerbaijani Diaspora. Of course, our embassies also have a role in this issue. Many experts also note the lack of continuous, consistent steps in this regard, the lack of conditions for speeches and demonstrations. Some accuse the police of indifference. New issues will be raised in this issue. It is very worrying that this conflict extends beyond regional borders. This can have different consequences. It will be difficult for Azerbaijanis to go abroad as immigrants, migrants, or in any other form, there will be a problem with the reputation of these people, and so on.

- Russian officials have already called on the people of the two countries to calm down. At the same time, criminal proceedings have been instituted against those involved in the incident in the United States and Belgium. However, these successive events set the stage for a new trend beyond the borders of the two countries. What can Azerbaijanis and Armenians expect after that?

- As I said, there will be difficulties for Azerbaijanis and Armenians to go abroad. In terms of prestige, this will not create a positive image for them. In their speeches, Azerbaijani intellectuals sent an important message that we should not go to provocation abroad. Because the Armenian Diaspora is stronger than the Azerbaijani Diaspora in terms of information and political influence in general. And they can turn these provocations against us. Therefore, we need to be careful. I completely agree with these views. We must not forget that war is not won on the streets of other countries. The war must be on the front. On the other hand, it is necessary to build a very strong state. As a free, democratic country, it is necessary to negotiate with Armenia from a stronger position.

There are those who liken the events to those of the last years of the USSR. In those years too, oil prices had fallen sharply. Protests had begun in some regions of the USSR. For example, since 1987, the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict had been heating up. Today, mass rallies with thousands of people are taking place in Russian regions such as Khabarovsk. The post-Soviet space is shaking. What processes do the events, which are happening now, indicate in the post-Soviet space?

The post-Soviet space, especially oil-rich countries, is in crisis as a result of a pandemic and falling oil prices. Therefore, various social explosions are possible in those countries. If we compare with the 1980s, we can say that the oil factor divides society today. That is, there was great unity in the 1980s. But now we see that in both Azerbaijani and Russian societies, there are different classes, interest groups, ideologies. To combine them, some very serious and common factors are needed. In our case, that factor is again the Karabakh issue. But the society united under the slogan of Karabakh is still under the control of the government. And it is too early to talk about a change. But anything can happen. This cannot be ruled out.

- Today, as during the collapse of the USSR, Moscow is trying to control the conflict, to influence both countries in order to keep them in its sphere of influence. Isn't this policy dangerous?

- It is dangerous for Moscow to use the Karabakh conflict as a political tool. From that point of view, Moscow can inflame the conflict and have a war started at any time. But even in Europe, many believe that Moscow is a stabilizing factor. Because the war there is not profitable for Moscow. In fact, the conflict could involve regional forces such as Turkey and other countries, as well as lead to clashes between the two communities in other countries, as it is now. This will lead to instability. Therefore, the role of Moscow in this issue is very negative. First, it is not profitable for Azerbaijan. During the rule of the Popular Front Party, Elchibey's vision was that the sooner Azerbaijan was free of Russia, the better it would be for resolving the conflict. Therefore, we must be close to international security organizations, soon integrate into NATO, and build closer relations with Turkey as a strategic ally. We must move away from Russia. Russia's name is not mentioned in this conflict. Although we would not be in such a situation if Russia did not involve the conflict.

- On July 23, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan listed seven conditions for the normalization of relations with Azerbaijan at a government meeting. This includes the self-determination of the Armenians of Karabakh, as well as guaranteeing the security of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. What can this ultimatum tone lead to?

- In fact, Nikol Pashinyan is highly dependent on domestic public opinion. In addition, Moscow is using the Karabakh issue as a tool against him. And it turns the Karabakh clan against him. Therefore, Pashinyan knows that he will be forced to leave power if he is a little soft on this issue. That is, Russia and the Karabakh clan will not make concessions to him in this matter. The Karabakh clan is used as a tool of Russia. Pashinyan is always under pressure from this opposition. That is why he takes such a radical position on this issue. If he came to power with the support of some oligarchic groups, perhaps he would be softer. But because the people have elected him, he must defend the sensitive issues of the people. Domestic tendencies force him to make such radical, populist speeches. And this aggravates his situation. This is called a closed circle. In other words, he is afraid that the opposition will be stronger, Russia will overthrow him, so he is making sharp statements. But usually, its result becomes bad. Because he complicates his situation. Therefore, Azerbaijan must have a very serious and smart strategy in this matter.

- In your opinion, what steps should be taken to prevent the Azerbaijani-Armenian confrontation and the Karabakh conflict from continuing for many years to come?

- The long duration of this conflict is mutually beneficial. To both Armenia and Russia. But this is not profitable for Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan must take serious initiatives and make serious changes. Some say the conflict should not be resolved militarily. The reason is that Moscow will not allow it. The second factor is that military means can pose greater dangers. That is, other forces may be involved and the conflict may spiral out of control. According to them, the status quo is better than war, is a way to peace, and so on. Azerbaijan should have urgently resolved this issue. Because Azerbaijan had about one million refugees and IDPs. Those one million people were deprived of their basic rights. They have become the subject of ethnic cleansing. This is called a humanitarian emergency. Everything had to be done to solve their problems. Now the main competition and victory go through the construction of a more civilized, democratic, free, and strong society. Unlike Armenia, if Azerbaijan builds a freer, civilized, independent, economically strong, and socially just society in its country, it will have a better chance of victory.

And, of course, solutions to the conflict between societies must be found. Intellectuals, NGOs, politicians must negotiate intensively and find common ground. Because it can not continue like that. This conflict will intensify. Azerbaijan is facing a very serious economic crisis. This conflict may deepen the crisis. Therefore, this issue needs to be resolved soon. If this format is not profitable for Azerbaijan, it is necessary to find other ways. Because the pressure of the conflict is now felt more seriously.


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Сможет ли Москва сорвать уход Еревана под крыло Запада? - беседа с экспертом по Центральной Азии Аркадиtv Дубновым в программе "Çətin sual"

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