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May 4, 2021
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Azerbaijan: Long live the mighty and new Soviet Union created by Putin’s will?

Azerbaijan: Long live the mighty and new Soviet Union created by Putin's will?

Photo: Gavriil Grigorov / TASS

President of Russia Vladimir Putin is striving for the revival of the USSR, certain political forces in Azerbaijan are sure, which urge not to allow Baku to be drawn into this project. Instead, a project for closer integration with Turkey is being proposed.

In April, an article was published in the Azerbaijani press citing a certain Natiga Jafarli, who argued that the presidents of Russia and Belarus during the upcoming meeting at that time on April 22 “will announce the creation of a new USSR”:

“On April 22, a new, more integrated version of the Union State of Russia and Belarus will be announced. This could be the basis for the revival of the USSR “, – says the material. After that, according to the author“The Kremlin will easily ‘win’ Kyrgyzstan later.”

“The last change of power there was precisely for this. Later it will be the turn of Kazakhstan, the next step will be the annexation of Donbass. But the most dangerous point for us is Armenia. If the Kremlin does what it plans to do in the summer elections in this country, official Yerevan will join the new “USSR”. In fact, the recent military defeat laid the foundation for this. Armenia was told that its existence as a separate country would be called into question. The situation is difficult, if this scenario is implemented, it will not be easy for us. Even the Kremlin is already openly threatening with language Rainbow and draws Azerbaijan into the “USSR”.

The only way to preserve sovereignty for Azerbaijan, according to the author, is to create a union state with Turkey. The logic “in order to maintain independence, we must unite with someone” should not succumb to comprehension. The main thing here is to prevent integration with Russia.

The prediction of the restoration of the USSR in some form, although this is a pity, turned out to be completely sucked from the finger. During the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko this topic did not arise. Where, then, is there such a panic in Baku, because Jafarli clearly calls for avoiding even a hypothetical Eurasian integration of Azerbaijan within the framework of the same EAEU and CSTO.

At the same time, intimidation by the “new USSR” sounds clearly dubious. But this is in Russia. Do they believe in such a development of events in Azerbaijan? Most surprisingly, yes. They may well believe. Such frenzied propaganda is being conducted in the country, the goal of which is to tear Azerbaijan away from Russia at any cost: Turkish emissaries have long been puffing the minds of the population that the Turks are their only brothers, and Russia is a hidden or already explicit enemy. The campaign painfully resembles handwriting Soros

– No Soros structures can forcibly implement something if there is no request from the society, – meanwhile I am sure political scientist, candidate of political sciences, senior lecturer at the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia Kamran Hasanov… – Whether we like it or not, the pro-Turkish sentiments in Azerbaijan are not weak. For objective reasons – language, culture, partly history and religion, although Shiism dominates in Azerbaijan. These sentiments are mainly represented by opposition parties with roots in Musavat. They advocate a close relationship with Turkey.

“SP”: Does the “new USSR” horror story really work in Azerbaijan? Russia and Belarus will not create a Union State in any way, wherever Azerbaijan is …

– Any small state strives to preserve its independence. The former post-Soviet countries value their sovereignty, which they have been waiting for for over 200 years. There must be obvious benefits to integrate with someone. Most likely, this is a “horror story”, because the leadership of Azerbaijan has not yet indicated an intention to join the EAEU, the CSTO, and is limited so far to a freer association in the face of the CIS. Azerbaijan is a member of the Non-Aligned Organization, and recently a summit of this structure was held there.

At the same time, some forces in Azerbaijan fear the strengthening of Russia and attempts to draw Baku into their structures. I believe that there are no serious reasons for such fears. Integration in the post-Soviet space is voluntary. Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Belarus with Armenia voluntarily entered into an alliance in order to trade without going and protect themselves from terrorists in Central Asia. As for Kazakhstan, its leadership considers itself to be the engine and initiator of Eurasian integration. Forcibly pushing Baku into the EAEU and the CSTO is not going to. Perhaps this is an attempt to earn political points for yourself on apocalyptic statements.

“SP”: To maintain independence, Azerbaijan needs to unite into a Union State with Turkey, Jafarli said. Does the person have problems with logic? Or is it frenzied pro-Turkish propaganda, calculated that those who are afraid of the “new USSR” will turn off their rational thinking?

– These people believe that it is better to lose independence with “fraternal” Turkey than with Russia. I’m sure not everyone agrees with this. On the one hand, the dominant point of view is that Azerbaijan should remain completely sovereign, independent of either Turkey or Russia. On the other hand, there are many supporters of close contacts with Russia. Unification with Turkey in a confederation carries the risks of losing close economic relations with Russia, Iran, therefore Aliyev will never do it.

“SP”: How great, in your opinion, is the danger of Azerbaijan being absorbed by Turkey, and its population being Turkishized. We are constantly being told that “Great Turan” is a myth, this is from the field of culture, but is it really so?

– I think, under the current government, such a probability is minimal. Aliyev considers Erdogan brother, but Putin’s friend. He continues a multi-vector policy. As an experienced diplomat, if necessary, he will be ready to balance close relations with Turkey with contacts with Moscow and Tehran. At the same time, it cannot be denied that the positions of Turkey and Azerbaijan on a number of issues are very close. After all, Baku has a “favor” to Ankara for its support in the Karabakh war.

As far as Turkicization is concerned, it seems to me that there is nothing to Turkicize. The official language is Azerbaijani, which belongs to the Turkic group. Turks are perceived as a fraternal people. But this factor in no way limits the maneuvers of Azerbaijani foreign policy. Otherwise, there would be no North-South projects where there is no Turkey, but Russia and Iran.

“SP”: How realistic do you think is the future of a union state with the participation of Russia and Azerbaijan in any form (confederation etc.). And what are the country’s Eurasian prospects? Will Azerbaijan join the EAEU and the CSTO and under what conditions?

– Integration of Azerbaijan into Eurasian structures is theoretically possible. The primary condition for this is the final solution of the Karabakh conflict. Baku will wait for the return of full control over the territories where the Russian peacekeepers are now stationed.

On the other hand, we understand that the integration of Baku will be hampered by Yerevan. Incidentally, the other day Armenia blocked Azerbaijan’s participation in the EAEU meeting. Even if the conflict is completely resolved, I think that Baku’s entry into the EAEU and especially the CSTO will be a very difficult choice. After all, integration will mean “distance” from Ankara, which would not be desirable for any leadership in Azerbaijan.

– Natig Jafarli – Azerbaijani economist, public figure, board member of the Republican Alternative party, – explains political scientist Ilgar Velizade… – This is an opposition party, representing mainly the intelligentsia, including the rural one. It is not numerous, but it should be noted that a significant part of it is young people, students, active users of social networks. REAL is considered a pro-Western party, its leader Ilgar Mamedov has the support of some circles in the US and the EU. Although from its leaders, I have not seen any explicit anti-Russian statements.

The position related to the possible entry of Azerbaijan into one state with Turkey is shared by some representatives of this party – I do not think that the whole party adheres to this opinion. Other prominent members of the party did not voice such a position, so what Jafarli said is rather his own position.

On the other hand, this position is shared by many politicians – from different parties. For example, the leader of the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan made a proposal to create a confederation with Turkey at different times.

Perhaps, in a sense, these people are trying to intimidate people, to create an idea of ​​the inevitability of the creation of a single state with Turkey. But this position is not widely supported. Even in the same party REAL there are other opinions. The independence of Azerbaijan is an intrinsic value here.

At the state level, we are implementing the policy of “two states – one nation”. The key thing here is “two states”. Nobody is going to conceptually change the attitude towards their independence in Azerbaijan, despite the fact that in some cases there are other opinions. Relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan should be built on an equal basis. There is no “big brother” factor in relations between us, therefore, there is no need to talk about the creation of some kind of union state, all the more so – like the USSR.

As for the perspectives of “turning down”, one must understand that despite all the ethnic similarities between the Azerbaijani and Turkish nations, there are many differences – in tradition, culture, religion. And no one strives for identity. Diversity has its own value. Nobody is going to consign their own values ​​to oblivion. The history of Azerbaijan, especially the history of the last centuries, says that we have our own path of development, and we follow this path, and there is no other alternative.

“SP”: What about integration with Russia? Does anyone take the prospects of the “new USSR” seriously?

– Just as there is no question of creating a single state with Turkey, there is no question of creating a single state with Russia. The values ​​of independence are supported by both the ruling circles and the public.

As for the Eurasian prospects, they are quite obvious. Azerbaijan, whether someone wants it or not, is in a single Eurasian space – both political and economic. We are united with the neighboring states by thousands of ties, which, in my opinion, will only get stronger. The priority of our relations with the Russian Federation and our partners in the CIS remains unchanged.

If we are talking about the Eurasian prospects, then it is worth expanding the borders a little. Recently, Iran and Turkey have expressed interest in interaction with the EAEU, and Azerbaijan, which borders on everyone, can not only participate in these processes, but also receive significant benefits. We are talking about numerous energy and transport projects, for example – “North-South”. There are a lot of prospects in trade, investment cooperation, and they all go through the construction of a single Eurasian home. We regard this as the implementation of the EAEU + format. Recently Uzbekistan became an observer. I think Azerbaijan can have the same prospects.

As for the CSTO, here, too, Azerbaijan has long been cooperating with many states of the union. Russia is the main supplier of weapons to Azerbaijan, Belarus is an important military-technical partner, relations with Kazakhstan are developing. In addition, a Caspian security format is being formed in the region, where the main roles are played by Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

Considering that the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan are the CSTO countries, the inevitable partnership between Azerbaijan and the CSTO suggests itself. This format has been implemented for a long time, including cooperation between military departments, border services and special services. So far, no one is talking about joining the EAEU and the CSTO, such proposals have not yet been received by Baku, and Azerbaijan itself, given the specifics of the moment, is in no hurry to become a member of associations, but active cooperation is already underway, albeit largely on a bilateral basis …

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