ANC-HCA /en/ Azerbaijan National Committee of Helsinki Citizens Assembly Wed, 08 May 2013 19:16:34 +0000 en hourly 1 Education Profiles for Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan /en/?p=1491 /en/?p=1491#comments Tue, 07 May 2013 20:53:24 +0000 Ahmad Alili /?p=1491 The report of Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly (hCa) – Helsinki Yurttaşlar Derneği (hYd), titled “EDUCATION PROFILES FOR TURKEY, ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN” on teachers efforts for democratization and peace building in Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia Project can be accessed via appropriate link (opens in a new window).

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Probability of new war for Karabakh: LOSSES AND GAINS /en/?p=1190 /en/?p=1190#comments Wed, 07 Dec 2011 12:15:46 +0000 ismayil /?p=1190  

Zardusht Alizadeh



1. Summary _______________________________________________________


2. Introduction _____________________________________________________


3. Resume of the problem_ ___________________________________________


4. Politics alternatives________________________________________________


5. Conclusions and recommendations ___________________________________


6. References        ___________________________________________________


7. Afterword     _____________________________________________________


1.  Summary


The document deals with the probability and possible consequences of the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan for Karabakh, as well possible steps aimed at preventing the warfare. The 17-years long cease fire regime ceased to tune with changed balance of forces and movement in the right direction due to the coincidence of interests of external and internal actors in maintaining status quo. Under consideration is the correlation between military potentials of the parties and the probable response of mediating states and international organizations to the feasible warfare in the region, attitudes to the conflict inside the conflicting countries proper. An opinion about the possible political line is advanced to thus not only minimize the risk of warfare but also positively affect the democratization of the region processes.


2.  Introduction

From the date of the Bishkek cease-fire protocol signing in May 1994 all the talks and debates over the conflict resolution yielded no desirable results. The parties keep on taking incompatible stand on the issue; soldiers losing their lives on the front-line; leaders of the conflicting states go on parading their armies’ might to win a perspective war. Diplomats, politicians, analysts and the military coolly argue about a war as the next stage of the conflict. Topicality of war risk assessment visibly intensified in terms of sharp rise in the military budget of Azerbaijan and obvious lack of success in the negotiations on the basis of the “Madrid principles”.

It should be noted that the transition of conflict into the heated stage is dependent not as much upon the level of armies’ combat readiness and the volume of resources as the position of big world and regional states with their power to dictate terms to the weak and dependent states of South Caucasus. Armenian analysts are conscious of it even despite psychologically advantageous, affected panic about regular warlike statements of Azerbaijani President. Expert of the Armenian Center for National and Strategic Studies Manvel Sarkisyan explained Azerbaijan’s evasion of war as follows: «It’s too risky to draw little Azerbaijan into war. At present, war against Armenia is for internal use, feigned bellicosity. If you have such a great budget and so well-equipped army – what stymied you to attack earlier? Regional powers cannot start war without approval, both open and secret, of the world powers, first of all, Russia and the United States. Interests of big actors are involved here” (

Over the past 10 years, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen’ stance on the issue has been confined to over-emphasizing peace talks and expressing their preparedness to accept and support any variant of peace resolution to the conflict having been agreed between Armenia and Azerbaijan. However, the conflict may be resolved forcibly which is not prohibited by the international law and is vividly demonstrated by the states-permanent members of the UN Security Council that willingly resort to the military force to attain their political goals. Nevertheless, mediating states steadfastly recommend the parties to the conflict to proceed with apparently fruitless talks and transparently hint at inadmissibility and danger of the military settlement. Note that recommendations and warnings are expressed by not only representatives of the Minsk Group member-states but also by heads of these states repeatedly within the past few years: in the reviewed period Russian, American and French Presidents made three practically identical statements on Karabakh in the towns Aquila, Muskoke and Doville. The mediators refrain from exerting appreciable pressure on the parties to the conflict and, instead, try to keep with «equidistance» in an effort to provide one of the parties, ss Armenia that disposes of no financial resources, with these resources to proceed with confronting Azerbaijan. When adjusted for perpetual financial, military and political support for Armenia, it’d be wrong to define the Karabakh conflict as purely local one: it is component of global rivalry of the world powers.

Beyond any doubts, the Karabakh conflict is in the focus of global regional actors with each of them having great resources to affect Baku- and Yerevan-decision making. For the time being this impact is manifest in regular statements of peace and political, financial and information support for status quo. However, there can be no doubt that in case of threat to imaginary or real interests, these states would, without a moment’s hesitation, active interfere with the course of events. The probability remains that Russia may involve in the war directly as party to the conflict, as was in Georgia in 2008. It is natural that the «equidistance» from the parties to the conflict, multiple declarations on recognition of the territorial integrity Azerbaijan. Prior to the August war with Georgia Russia had repeatedly stressed the recognition of the territorial integrity of Georgia.

Both Armenia and Azerbaijan are apprehensive of Russia’s direct involvement in the war for Karabakh but for different reasons. Azerbaijan is afraid of the Russian invasion not unlike the Georgian-Russian war in August 2008. If Russia takes part in the Armenian-Azerbaijani war for Karabakh on the side of Armenia, absurdity of its legal arguments in favor of this interference would be regarded as cold comfort in terms of huge damage to be inflicted on Azerbaijan. Armenia is apprehensive that Russia, like other CSAO members, reasoning that the war is waged on a territory legally owned by Azerbaijan and that there is no direct threat to the Republic of Armenia, would take up non-interference position. Besides, Armenia is alarmed with high level of economic, political and military cooperation between Azerbaijan and Russia. That’s why Armenian President S. Sargsyan in his interview dated 16 May 2011 to the Russian mass media yet-unconfirmed Russian leadership’s confidence in backing Armenia in case of war against Azerbaijan. He added that “Russia has appropriate obligations and opportunities to respond properly”. In three days Armenian Defense Minister S. Oganyan repeated this thesis: “Armenia has the right to count on OCSA’s respective response to the probable Azerbaijani military aggression against Nagorno Karabakh”. In spite of the fact unrecognized by anyone, including OCSA member-countries, the so-called Nagorno Karabakh Republic has actually and legally no relation to the security of this organization’s member-states, Armenia is, nevertheless, seeking to enlist the support of Russia in the Karabakh matter.

The statements above should be regarded not only as information occasion for Russian senior officials to express their specific stand on the issue, either negative or positive, but also cause to indirectly blackmail its strategic ally with probability of changes in political orientation of Armenia. Armenian political expert V. Yakubyan hinted at this circumstance when he singled out two evident aspects of the current situation in Armenia:

  1. “Time is now ripe to put forward new peace and security guarantees that are unlikely to be given. Making an appropriate request for these guarantees from Moscow, official Yerevan thus ascertains the lack of its own confidence, as well as confidence in its current partners. Hence, the point is about consolidation of positions thanks to guarantees from other centers of forces, including the USA”.
  2. Armenia’s way to the NATO, as he sees it, “lies through a new war in Karabakh and OCSA discrediting as organism capable of ensuring basic agreements and collective security of its members. This discrediting will be reached through the West-announced threat of “spontaneous” war in Nagorno Karabakh”.(

As is seen from Armenian analyst’s reasoning, Armenia is well aware of the functional importance of ethno-territorial conflicts of South Caucasus for Russia. The Armenian political elite realize that that the South Caucasian countries’ orientation towards the West means territorial losses for Russia, whether these lands are owned by Russia de facto or de jure. Since earlier 1990s Russia has been engaged in teaching practical lessons to the authorities of the three Republics of South Caucasus. First, the lesson was taught to Armenia. For Armenia’s refusal to join “renovated USSR” Moscow, using Soviet Home Ministry’s internal troops, conducted operation ”Ring” in Spring-Summer 1991 and deported several thousands of Armenians from areas around Nagorno Karabakh. The same was true of Georgia under Gamsahurdia when Russia stirred up ethno-territorial conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Next came Azerbaijan’ turn to be taught. For Azerbaijan’s refusal to create its armed forces under CIS command (actually Russia), Azerbaijan lost Hodjaly, Shusha and Lachyn. When the government of the People’s Front, and then Heydar Aliyev began tending towardTurkeyand theUSA, the country lost nearly entire Karabakh (15,7% of country’s territory). Under President Saakashvili Georgia lost Abkhazia and South Ossetia for country’s aspiration to join the NATO.

At present, Armenia de facto and Azerbaijan de jure risk completely losing Karabakh in case of political orientation toward the West. Perhaps, this accounts for Azerbaijan’s joining the non-aligned states movement. In doing so, Azerbaijan is eager to shatter Russia’s doubts that the country is not going to integrate into the NATO.

What is meant under Mr. Yakuyan’s allegation about “discrediting OCSA”?  What does this “discrediting” mean in practice? Beyond any doubts, under “discrediting” the Armenian analyst meant Russia’s refusal to clearly guarantee its involvement in the probable Armenian-Azerbaijani war on the side of Armenia and thus present forcible return of Karabakh to Azerbaijan as an act of suicide, or failure of this military bloc to ensure “final and decisive” triumph of Armenia in the march of the supposed war. What are legal standards the OCSA (or rather Russian leadership) may rely upon “to avoid being discredited” and give public guarantees to Armenia that it would take part in the future war for Karabakh on Armenia’s side? And if Russia abstains from its unambiguous promise to fight against Azerbaijan for Armenia’s right to finally annex this territory of Azerbaijan, then would Armenia request for joining the NATO? Or the Armenian leadership would do that after it sustains a defeat in the regular Karabakh war (without Russia’s involvement that discredits the OCSA) and suppress protests (as did Saakashvili) of the opposition that demanded resignation of the President that lost the war and territories?

How does Yerevan think of implementing in practice”guarantees of other centers of force”? Following OCSA (Russia) refusal to guarantee its joining the war againstAzerbaijan, theUSAwould warnAzerbaijanagainst its attempts to return forcibly Armenia-annexed territories in exchange for the process ofArmenia’s joining the NATO? Should Azerbaijan disregard “American security guarantees for Armenia” and avail itself (under Russia’s support traditionally punished “traitress Armenia” for its drift toward the West) of its legitimate right to restore its territorial integrity – what would happen then? Would the NATO start bombing Azerbaijan with a special emphasis on oil infrastructure facilities to thus make Azerbaijan decline from Karabakh? For what purpose?

Apparently, impasse is typical both for the negotiation process and views of political elite of South Caucasian countries in terms of deficit of not only positive aspirations of the region but also prospects of their nations’ development. This impasse urges Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders to exchange bellicose statements. In doing so, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev excels in a considerable degree; however, it is explicable:territoryofAzerbaijanis occupied, not that ofArmenia. The Armenian President regards his Azerbaijani counterpart’s promises to forcibly liberate occupied territories as “aggression” and threatens “to deal a decisive and final blow to the aggressor”. Some Russian political experts term Aliyev’s statements as “warlike mantras”, nothing more. However, a part of experts for South Caucasus considers the war in the region to be inevitable, varying in its date: later 2011 – summer 2012.

Note that the war is forecast, theoretically “played”; chances of the parties, their possible gains and losses are sized up. Experts estimate military potentialities of the parties, provide views of foreign observers on the subject. Also, information war is intensified and hysteria in mass media stirred up. Suffice it to cite an interview of Acad. S. Arutyunov, head of the Caucasus sector of the Institute of Ethnology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In an interview to Regnum he stated that the Armenian general headquarters informed him about batteries of armed forces of Armenia located 40 km from the Mingechevir dam, at heights in the north of Karabakh capable of destroying the dam completely, following water torrent would wash down the center of Azerbaijan. Advisor of the Armenian Defense Minister, Gen. Gayk Kotandjan threatens Azerbaijan with war of world’s 11 million Armenians. Analyst Levon Melik-Shahnazaryan told portal «» that “…under current circumstances we should come off with flying colors to wipe off Azerbaijan” Russian media guru Modest Kolerov predicts that “local war would last 3-5 days. The front line would not change much”.


3. Resume of the problem

3.1. Why has the war become topical?

The ruling regimes in the South Caucasian countries are faced not only with the risk of future war with unpredictable consequences but also with uncertain and unstable peace. Both problems are dependent upon numerous internal and external factors that are very difficult to bring into harmony. At present, scores of political, social and economic problems in Armenia and Azerbaijan are not solved and shelved indefinitely under the pretext of a new war. Durable peace would require from the authorities to adopt difficult decisions of strategic nature and solve hard problems, especially the observance of legality and ensuring of social equality. Until recently, the situation of ”neither peace, nor war” met, to a degree, needs of ruling elites that were primarily engaged in preserving and consolidating their power than resolving the Karabakh issue. However, the situation in the world and South Caucasus changes, and the updated balance of forces put forward actions that will inevitably entail changes in the current status quo.

The economic situation in Armenia is complicated. The country is faced with difficulties in removing consequences of the world financial crisis for lack of essential raw materials, inability to produce competitive goods, scarcity of foreign financial aid and necessity of maintaining volume of military expenditures incommensurable with its potentialities. De-population process is underway in the country; it is fraught with deplorable consequences for destinies of Armenia. According to some authoritative experts, commencing from 2012 Armenia will face, as Greece does, with a problem of external debt service. The country will have to get out of hard economic situation, unfeasible in terms of the present conflict; conduct talks with international financial structures on new borrowings, perhaps, debt rescheduling, explain expediency of public expenses, disproportionally large military budget. One cannot permanently shelve adoption of decisions arising from conflict resolution that thus contributes to the aggravation of situation inside the country and weakens position of the Armenian authorities. The latter cannot excuse its ineffective Karabakh political line in the face of harsh criticism from the influential and resolute opposition. Further aggravation of the Armenian position is not in question, following which there is a temptation to change unfavorable tendency through unconventional actions, first of all, warfare. Another stimulus for President S. Sargsyan to start war is a reborn figure of former President Robert Kochyaran who enjoys support of Putin and is currently engaged in forming a bloc of irreconcilables to fill a post of Armenian President.

The point is that an appreciable rise in the volume of currency reserves, impetuous growth of budgetary funds and visible lack of political competition on the political arena make it absurd when the Azerbaijani authorities repeat that “we are sure to liberate Karabakh when the time will come”. In terms of outrageous riches of few people and degrading poverty of overwhelming majority, awareness of true reasons of Karabakh loss and senseless waste of huge funds for implementation of prestigious projects, the society asks a question: “when President makes up his mind to liberate Karabakh from foreign invaders, when hundreds of thousands of refugees will return to their towns and villages”?

President Ilham Aliyev’s thesis of waiting for an opportunity ran its positive potential out and is currently shaking his standing and legitimacy. That’s why this interest in the military sphere is turning from imitation process into the real one. Indeed, the Azerbaijani army is becoming an instrument capable of attaining foreign political goals.  Yuri Sigov from Washington lays stress on this factor: “Timid attempts of the OSCE to persuade Azerbaijan reduce its military budget and cease threatening Armenia with armed invasion to return occupied territories meet with polite rebuff from the Azerbaijani authorities. They believe that so long as the European structures are in no position to solve the Karabakh problem diplomatically even despite collaboration and mediation with the USA and Russia, the talk about volumes of Azerbaijan’s military budget is pointless”.(



 3.2. Political risks

Selection of topical variant of war to undo the Karabakh knot is pregnant with great risks, first of all, for ruling elites of the two states. The probability remains that military defeat could result for a part of the leadership not only in the loss of top position but freedom or even life as well. The defeat may create a new situation in the country-loser to provoke a split in the elite and change of power, or give rise to a dangerous round of struggle for power, as had repeatedly occurred in the past. Also high is a serious growth of migration from the region toRussiaandEurope.

The probable war its consequences may radically change the balance of forces and potential of influence of big powers in the region. In particular,Russiathat is currently controlling the region by dint of manageable conflict is directly interested in preserving the status quo. At present, it is in no position, as was earlier 1990s, to tightly and predictably regulate the course of political processes and combat operations in the region. One can suppose that escalation and war with unknown consequences and with firm Russian guarantee of preservation of Russian control over the conflict and, hence, the region seems to be undesirable for Russia. On the other hand, Russia is faced with increased difficulties in maintaining the conflict in its low-intensity conditions. At best, Russia may agree with transformation of outward status quo provided it reserves levers of effective impact on conflict’s principal mechanism.

Note that the EU is not interested in escalating the conflict in the view of the fact that it seeks to ensure not only unimpeded operation of ВТС oil pipe but also laying of “Nabucco”, cessation of immigrants’ flow into Europe and strengthening of stability in the region. A fierce war between Armenia and Azerbaijan may disable for months oil- and gas-pipelines that traverse the Caspian basin further to Europe, hike petroleum prices, give up “Nabucco” prospects together with projects of cooperation and economic integration of the Black Sea basin.

K. Sivkov, vice-president of the Academy of geopolitical problems and doctor of military sciences maintains that in the view of strategy and practice of the US foreign policy, one can suppose that destabilization and war, irrespective of its consequences, would enhance chances to get out of Russia’s control. To his thinking, in case of war in Transcaucasia, “Russia, Turkey and Iran will ha0ve “a headache”. Under the pretext of peaceful population’s protection, the NATO will gain an offing to enter the region. Russia’s position would be weakened: if Russia fails to back Armenia, the latter will be offended; if Russia backs Armenia, Azerbaijan is sure to rely on the West. At any rate, the post-war South Caucasus would unreservedly tend toward the West, and the Karabakh conflict cease to link Armenia and Azerbaijan to Russia. Is it easy to contest Russian expert’s thesis? In any case, US favorable attitude to the aggressor and occupant give no grounds to categorically deny certain logic in his words.

However, US resources to urge one of the two states on unleashing war at the given stage are rather restricted. A lesson of US non-interference during the Russian reprisal with Georgia has been learned rather well. Americans are well aware that Russia is still playing the first fiddle in the region.

Also, losses of the parties will be great in economy and life; the war will throw the states involved to the beginning of the 1990s. Costly facilities of oil infrastructure and housing stock of populated localities will also suffer. Losses in life among the military and peace population reach tens of thousands.

3.3.Undesirable and still inevitable war

Search for peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan that started since 1994, after Azerbaijan lost the war and Armenia declining from executing UN SC Resolution on liberation of occupied territories, hinges on alleged incompatibility of the two fundamental standards of the international law: territorial integrity of the state and right of nations to self-determination. Note that Russian analysts always stress this incompatibility. For instance, A. Khranchikhin, deputy director of the Institute of political and military analysis, points out: “The problem of unrecognized states is known to arise from unsolvable contradiction between the fundamental legal norms designed to regulate relation on the international arena, – inviolability of borders and right of nations to self-determination. Further complicating the case is that an unrecognized state springs up as a result of conflicts of ethnic and/or religious nature and, hence, irreconcilable psychologically. The conflicts of this sort are accompanied by mutual unprecedented atrocities, and dwell long in people’s memory. An eloquent testimony to this is the Karabakh conflict. Note that the Karabakh conflict is not patronized by any powerful entity, as is in case of Kosovo or Georgian autonomies.

That’s why the peace resolution to the Karabakh conflict is none other than illusion. Armenians and Azerbaijanis are well aware of this. They know that the war is sure to burst out, and they want it to be as soon as possible, because it is poignant to wait, and even fatal for one of the parties. And hurry is fatal for another party, however, one cannot remain waiting any longer”. (

Beyond this conclusion there is desire to gloss over such decisive factors of conflict origin and development as information, financial, political and military support rendered to a party or parties to the conflict by “powerful patrons”.

It has to be kept in mind that contracting parties skillfully decline from debates over realities when these two principles harmoniously get on with each other and are realized effectively. It should be noted that the public opinion of the two countries, with few exceptions, is in no position to exceed the limits of dichotomy and roams between war and “non-peace”- ceasefire regime. It is obvious that the authoritarianism, to the best advantage of the ruling elites, is engendered by the conflict, and the same authoritarianism make it no possible to build democracy and thus open up way for non-military variant of conflict resolution. That’s why war risks for political elites may be accompanied by demands of the establishment of real democracy in the region. This document will consider both military and non-military variants of Karabakh resolution.


3.3. Comparison of parties’ military potentials

Following the disintegration of the USSR, as a result of Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe there have established the following quotas for CIS countries (except for Russia): 220 tanks, 220 fighting vehicles, 285 artillery systems, 100 aircrafts and 50 helicopters.

In reality, Azerbaijan has 500 tanks, 1,200 armored fighting cars, 400 artillery systems, 130 aircrafts and 35 helicopters.

According to 2009 data, armed forces of Azerbaijan have 150, 000 servicemen. Mobilization potentialities are 600,000.

It should be noted that the quality of training and the distribution of these servicemen by armed forces restricts, to a certain degree, Azerbaijan’s opportunity to advance a contingent of troops by far the greater potential strength than enemy’s one. Thus, land forces number 103,000, air force and anti-aircraft defense – 8,000, naval forces– 3, 000, internal troops -12, 000, frontier troops – 16,000, national security forces – 5, 000, home office troops-12, 000, presidential guard – 2, 500, other military structures – 3, 000.

Armenia has 110 tanks, 140 fighting vehicles, 160 artillery systems, 16 aircrafts and 8 helicopters. In addition, the Karabakh army has316 tanks, 324 fighting vehicles, 322 artillery systems.

On the territory of Armenia, in Gumri there is a 102nd military base of Russia consisting of 4,500 soldiers and officers. However, the Russian grouping is scattered across the whole of Armenia. Above 50% of its personnel is comprised of ethnic Armenians with Russian citizenship who are sure, according to Russian analysts, to take part in the war against Azerbaijan even despite order of their command. This grouping has 100 tanks, 300 fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, 20 self-propelled artillery facilities and РСЗО, 18 aircrafts and two battalions ЗРВ С-300. External borders of Armenia are protected by 58 frontier posts of the Frontier Department of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation.

Armed forces of Armenia number 46, 684; a contingent of mobilization reserve numbers 210, 000. The Karabakh army is believed to number 20, 000 soldiers and officers.

Armenia’s advantage is a Karabakh-headquartered system of concrete defensive works and minefields.

The military budget-2011 of Azerbaijan is equal to the whole budget of Armenia and thus up 10 times from its military item. This disproportion is compensated by free Russian arms deliveries and other types of military aid. It should be noted that the Russian Federation also supplies Azerbaijan with arms but on commercial basis. Thus, both conflicting armies are largely equipped with outdated Soviet armaments and ready to repeat the type that had been used earlier 1990s. But each party is hopeful of favorable outcome and final victory.


3.4 Quality of armed forces organization

.     Though both Armenia and Azerbaijan’ military sphere transparency degree equally causes discontent of journalists, mass media obtain from time to time information about military management and discipline in the armies. Note that the both armies suffer from negative processes that weaken their combat efficiency. The processes include acts of violence among servicemen, corruption, nepotism and indiscipline, poor care of soldiers. Also, there is a confrontation in the Armenian army between natives of Armenia and Karabakh.

When comparing fighting capacity of the two armies, foreign experts prefer to the Armenian one pursuant to its victory in the first Karabakh war. For instance, American expert Robert Farley opines that: “Military expenditure of Azerbaijan is much higher than Armenia’s, however, Armenian battle training is high, their reputation is good and relations with the Russian military are rather warm” ( Russian military expert К. Sivkov regards the Armenian army to be inferior to the Belorussian army only on the whole CIS expanse.

Selection by negative properties on all the scale of ranks of the Azerbaijani state also affected military structures, whereupon a level of professional training of officers, particularly, higher command, gives rise to complaints. The same is true of army control which is openly criticized among retired servicemen.

The both armies seriously suffer from non-fighting losses due to bad organization of active and rear service.


 3.5. Nature of future war

No restricted nature will be typical for the future war for Karabakh. At stake will be power and riches and, even perhaps, the life of ruling elites of the two states countries. At stake will be preservation of Russia’s control over or its “exodus” from the region, and the transfer of tensions from the South to the North Caucasus. That’s why the local war will immediately turn into the full-fledged warfare.

Now and again, mass media is involved in debates over a variant of “restricted war” when the Azerbaijani army will be committed to getting to the state frontier along the flanks of Nagorno Karabakh without infringing its territory. In doing so, Azerbaijan reserves the right to start peace talks about the status of the region after the establishment of a new ceasefire regime in terms of new strategic and spatial configuration. But in practice the situation and the level of confrontation is that no “gentleman’s war” is feasible in the region. It runs contrary to the “traditions” of the two peoples and is out of tune with Karabakh perspectives, as the parties put it. No international deterrent mechanisms and forces are available to reprove the parties to the conflict. If it were, no start to the new war would be made.

Many experts believe that Azerbaijan will avail itself of numerical superiority and assume the offensive in three directions: in the south along the frontier with Iran to get to Lachyn; to Kelbajar in the North right flank and, finally, via the center to Agdam and Stepanakert. It is natural that the Armenians will deal a pre-emptive blow (or counter-blow) north-eastwards with a view of occupying new regions and cleaving country’s territory. In the first hours the parties will make use of the whole power of artillery and aviation, shell and bomb not only military fortifications and units but also populated localities and economic facilities.

It is Russia that supplied Armenia with stock of ammunition to last two Karabakh wars. Azerbaijan disposes of the same reserves enough to wage war for long; even better, Azerbaijan has organized its production of ammunition. Theoretically, the war may assume the shape of protracted fighting unless one of the parties would be utterly defeated at the initial stage of the war or mediating states deliver an ultimatum to cease combat operations. From this it follows that the parties, in the view of such a scenario, would try at the very beginning of the war to gain a stunning victory at the earliest possible date.

The anticipated war in the South Caucasus is reminiscent of “chronicle of declared murder”. It is common knowledge that the region is inescapably falling away to the death-defying slough; that no blitzkrieg is possible and that the parties to the conflict will be sucked down into the crucible of the new war. It is known to everyone that war-caused damages will be enormous; however, key actors cannot discontinue their political gambling fraught with war, deaths of thousands of people and destruction of the whole region.


3.6. Attitudes to Armenia and Azerbaijan

Armenian hostility to Turks (including Azerbaijanis-Z.A.) and their dream of building “Great Armenia” form the pivot of their century-long political tradition and official ideology. An idea of Karabakh’s inevitable annexation from Azerbaijan by means of triumphant war is shared in Armenia by most population and enjoys nation-wide support. Note that both authorities and opposition are of this view. Of different view is a small group of intellectuals which is attributed to “marginal groups” due to their small number and scanty resources.

The situation in Azerbaijan is identical save that the ethnic animosity to Armenians is a relatively new phenomenon to date back from the conflict beginning in 1988. The conflict strongly intensified Armenian phobia in Azerbaijan, and over a short period of time it reached the level of Turkic-phobia in Armenia. Note that there is a small group of intellectuals in Azerbaijan that stands up for overcoming the Armenian phobia.

Both in Armenia and Azerbaijan the Karabakh conflict remains to be effective means of struggle for power; in both countries the opposition charges the authorities with insufficient firmness in the protection of “our Karabakh”.

In Azerbaijan, the authorities are pursuing their political line without consideration of the exhausted and crushed opposition. In Armenia, the opposition enjoys great support of broader masses, and the authorities have to take into account the very existence and response of the opposition to Karabakh-related decisions.

Small groups of peace-makers in Armenia and Azerbaijan are engaged in making bridges of communication and cooperation in quest of variants of peace resolution of equal worth and honor for the two peoples. Against the background of war, successes achieved by them are scanty. But if we size up the results in the view of resources used, our achievements are grandiose. Peace potential proved to be much more productive than that of war.


4. Politics alternatives

Both Armenia and Azerbaijan are pursuing a policy aimed at using the war potential to resolve the Karabakh conflict. .Both parties decline from opportunities arising from the use of peace potential. For truth’s sake, the peace potential is in the focus of the authorities, and it is sometimes triggered for a short period of time; still, war and armament are chief arguments of the authorities. Tailored to the war are programs of information-ideological work with the population and a considerable part of economic development programs. In doing so, both parties are expending huge funds, ignoring economic interests and prospects of nation development, for the sake of final triumph. Suffice it to remind that Armenia chose the conflict with Azerbaijan because of Nagorno Karabakh to the detriment of long-term multi-billion with contracts of regional cooperation and integration.

Below shown will be variants of political line of key actors that either make for the war or avert it. Let’s begin with countries, without political, information, financial and military participation of which the conflict would have unlikely broken out and reached its current prewar condition.


4.1. Russia:

It was the CPSU leaders who pronounced their benediction to the start of the Karabakh conflict, so the role of the Russian authorities has been decisive at all the stages of the conflict existence. Armenia with its restricted resources would have been in no position to stand the conflict over a long period of time. Russia was and remains to be principal sponsor and manager of the conflict. However, this advantage is rather questionable. Privatization of nearly all strategic branches of Armenia’s economy by Russian companies promises Russia permanent losses due to unprofitability of these branches. Politically, Russia is loser always.

The conflict played a great role, first, in the disintegration of the USSR, then in the discredit of Russia’s authority and undermining of its positions through the creation of favorable conditions for penetration of big powers in the region. At present, Russia is faced with a difficult dilemma of further development. As A. Tsyganok, head of the Russian Center of Military Prognostication, put it: “the most interesting thing is that Russia has conflicts neither with Azerbaijan, nor Armenia, so it is inexplicable how we shall have to act in case of Karabakh aggravation” (i-news/kz/news/2011/05/17/5495059.html). Rasim Musabekov, Azerbaijani political expert, emphasizes ever growing positive tendencies in the triangle Russia-Turkey–Azerbaijan as saying that there is a theoretical chance of implementation of the joint Russian-Turkish peace initiatives in the South Caucasus, including the Karabakh resolution (R.Musabekov. At the Junction of Attraction Fields.”Russia in the Global Policy”. №3, 2011). Not in denial of such tendencies in reality, one should focus on sluggishness, conservatism and irrationalism of the Russian policy as a whole which makes any positive scenarios in regard to Russia unreal.

More than 20-years Russian patronage over the conflict is characterized by the fact that Russia as sole leader of the region turned into one of several mediators; into a mediator whose position in all directions tends to worsen in perspective. Continuation of thoughtless support of the present status quo may provoke a new war for Karabakh. Attempts to preserve its control over the conflict and the region as a whole through bringing troops as peace-makers into the affected area find no response of Azerbaijan which is apprehensive of the repetition of South Ossetian and Abkhazian scenarios in Nagorno Karabakh. Under these circumstances Russia may choose variants as follows:

а) continue the current policy of blind support of status quo unaltered that inevitably leads to a new war. Keep neutrality in the war and join collective efforts of mediating countries aimed at restoring the ceasefire regime which is fraught with the loss of political control over the region and the transfer of epicenter of new ethno-territorial conflicts to the North Caucasus;

б) in case of a new war for Karabakh, engage in it on the side of Armenia. The latter tears Karabakh away completely, the West defines it as was in the case of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and declines from recognizing it. Azerbaijan heads for the NATO and the EU. Two of three South Caucasian countries move off Russia and select the NATO that gets a thorough corridor along the west-east axis with access to the Central Asia. Russia assumes an impasse policy of Armenia’s support, which is subject to still more isolation. The North Caucasus’ disconnection from the Russian Federation is a matter of time;

в) try in the course of talks to dictate on bringing Russian peace-makers into the conflict zone as one of key elements of safeguarding peace and security in the region. However, all hope on Azerbaijan’s consent to this proposal is lost, and this position is understood and backed by the western countries. The point is that Azerbaijan is, not unfoundedly, apprehensive of the repetition of the Georgian variant «08.08.08»;

г) discontinue military and economic support to the irreconcilable policy of Armenian leaders which will, in the end, compel Armenia to take more flexible stand on the issue, agree with a jointly developed concept of conflict resolution provided interests of all the parties and, first of all, the population of Karabakh proper, are met adequately. Through backing the stage-by-stagy settlement plan and drawing up an autonomy project on the basis of the Aland Islands, make the relapse of war hardly probable. In this case the parties to the conflict and mediators are likely to agree with Russia’s key position as guarantor of the observance of peace agreement.

Unfortunately, such an approach is absolutely alien to the political philosophy and culture of the Russian leaders, so expectations arising from this variant are quite delusive.


4.2.The USA:

а) as a leading democratic country worldwide, may proceed with its soft policy of benevolent neutrality to enable time and onward march of history to do away with Russia’s hegemony in the region. Not to cease fully but to reduce to symbolic volumes the financial aid to Armenia as unequivocal signal of its disapproving attitude to its complete dependence upon Russia. Wait passively for gradual intensification of the conflict. Make several harsh statements and warnings after the war has started. Wait until first results of the war become apparent, then organize international pressures on military conflict participants and impose a certain “new peace-making order” with them as leader (after Russia’s fiasco) as higher pacificatory entity, as was inn the Near East;

б) the Minsk group should, under direct Russian participation, make the parties to comply with the stage-by-stage plan implementation. After the settlement process started, come out as one of the key organizers of democratic autonomous status of Nagorno Karabakh to provide conciliation of the two principles of the international law and impose this status on Armenia and Azerbaijan with the EU as chief executor of the will of the international community. Arrange an international coalition of sponsors for the development of the region, including Armenia.


4.3. France and the EU:

а) go on with mediators’ chores, give hope to Armenia, persuade Azerbaijan to make concessions, create conditions for meetings to be held in Paris and other towns of France before a new war is unleashed. After that, in close coordination with the USA, do everything in power to prioritize French companies as chief oil and gas project implementation decision-maker;

б) jointly with Minsk group partners, compel the countries concerned to adopt the stage-by-stage plan, make the war resumption impossible and draw the populations of Armenia and Azerbaijan into drawing up a project of democratic status of Karabakh as a part of Azerbaijan, provide mechanisms of actual self-independence, exclusive of administrative interference of the central government in the autonomy affairs. Provide for guarantees of mediating countries plus the EU in implementing this agreement; continue efforts to develop the region.


 4.4. Armenia:

а) go on falling away into a new war, strengthen armed forces, raise military expenditures, set hopes on foreign aid in the war against the neighbors and prepare the population to new losses and hardships. Intensify patriotic education: under this is meant citizens’ preparedness to lose their lives heroically and be ready for continuation of eternal animosity to Turks. Study prospects and status of abortive states, count up roughly the date of legal annexation of Karabakh to Armenia and departure of the last Armenian from the undemocratic and abortive state;

б) assume as a basis of settlement not territory but security and prosperity of the Karabakh’s population, adopt the stage-by-stage plan of the conflict resolution; in collaboration with Azerbaijan draw up a project of autonomous status of Nagorno Karabakh to ensure safe co-residence of Armenians and Azerbaijanis in the region. Act as one of the six guarantors of agreement observance together with the Russian Federation, USA, France, the EU and Azerbaijan.


4.5. Azerbaijan should:

а) expend funds for arms race. Develop military industry. Maintain its dependence upon countries affecting the Karabakh destiny. Cultivate ethnic hatred to the Armenian people. Avoid the country’s democratization under the pretext of motherland’s protection. Bring the military budget to 10-fold level as against the Armenian budget. Prepare the population to the total war, mass heroism and death in the name of Karabakh. If failed in the war, seek concluding a new armistice with the help of the same mediators. In case of victory, to turn Karabakh into a new region with unbearable living conditions for the population;

б) adopt the settlement model on the basis of the Madrid principles, start implementing the stage-by-stage plan, appeal to Armenia and mediating states, as well as the public of Armenia and Azerbaijan with a proposal to jointly draw up a draft project of Nagorno Karabakh’s higher autonomy as a part of Azerbaijan that will ensure security and economic welfare, real independence and conditions for effective economic development of Armenian and Azerbaijani residents of the region. Create favorable conditions for dialogue between representatives of civil societies of Armenia and Azerbaijan, and draw Karabakh NGOs into the dialogue and joint work. Encourage mutual visits of Armenians and Azerbaijanis. Prohibit the propaganda of ethnic hatred to the Armenian people in mass media. Start discussing joint economic projects in Karabakh with the purpose of developing the region. Take into account the demilitarization of the entire Caucasus and the creation of free economic zone in Karabakh. Get down to the real democratization of Azerbaijan.



4.6. Civil societies of Armenia and Azerbaijan should:

а) assist the authorities in coaching the nation for war. Declare willingness to sacrifice democracy to Karabakh. As the war comes nearer, decline from struggle for democracy. Expand and strengthen propaganda of patriotism, preparedness to die for homeland-Karabakh, inspire the population with the necessity of suffering privations in the name of Karabakh. Teach citizens to ignore luxurious living conditions and riches of the elite as factor that undermines national patriotism. Suggest hatred to the neighboring people, spirit of contempt and superiority;

б) intensify active and effective mutual collaboration. Draw up joint projects for peaceful and worthy life of the two peoples. Come out against the war from unified position. Draw colleagues from Karabakh, civil society activists of Europe, USA and Russia and academic circles in the implementation of peace projects. Jointly oppose approaching the war. Turn into important national and regional peace alternative to the war. Act as leading force for democratization and integration of the entire South Caucasus.


5. Conclusions and recommendations                                                              

5.1. Azerbaijan is recommended to:

- adopt the Madrid principles-based resolution plan;

- scrupulously comply with provisions of the stage-by-stage plan;

- cease propaganda of ethnic hatred in mass media;

- not only to permit but also foster mutual visits of Armenians and Azerbaijanis;

- initiate the establishment of international group of experts with the participation of Armenians and Azerbaijanis to draw up a project of real and democratic autonomy of Nagorno Karabakh on the basis of successful autonomy models in democratic countries (Alands, Tyrol, etc.);

- not to stymie but, instead, promote the resolution of the Armenian-Turkish relations;

- start discussing joint with Armenia economic development projects aimed at integrating the region into the Black Sea and the EU economic expanse;

- introduce proper order in army;

- start real democratic reforms in society and comply with the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic.


5.2. Armenia is recommended to:

- adopt the resolution plan to comply with the Madrid principles;

- thoroughly comply with the stage-by-stage plan provisions;

- cease propagating Turko-phobia at all the levels and spheres;

- foster mutual travels of Armenians and Azerbaijanis;

- remove impediments before the implementation of Zurich protocols;

-organize an international group of experts to draft an agreement that secures joint peaceful residence of Armenians and Azerbaijanis in the autonomous Nagorno Karabakh. Provide internationally recognized measures to ensure real self-independence and security of Karabakh residents and develop and preserve their identity;

- start talks with Azerbaijan regarding joint economic projects, especially toward integration of the South Caucasus into the Black Sea economic space and the EU;

- restore order in the army;

- start observing provisions of the Armenian Constitution.


5.3. Russia should

-  make innovations in its South Caucasus political line as follows:

-  cease prolongation of the conflict policy and make the parties to adopt a stage-by-stage resolution plan to comply with the Madrid principles;

- cease the practice of free-of-charge or commercial provision of the parties to the conflict with arms;

- promote the creation and activity of an international group of experts to draw up a package of documents needed for peace, safe and joint residence of Armenians and Azerbaijanis in the autonomous and actually self-dependent Nagorno Karabakh;

- guarantee implementation of the plan of Nagorno Karabakh’s transformation into an oasis of flowering economy and democracy in the region.



5.4. The United States is suggested to:

- actively involve in putting forward plans of peace resolution to the conflict and exploit its potentialities as world leader to foster the peace process;

- act as one of the guarantors of peace and democratic autonomous Nagorno Karabakh, mobilize and trigger off democratic reforms in the region.

5.5. France and the EU are suggested to:

- start a specific work with the governments and societies of Armenia and Azerbaijan to prepare these societies to adopt and accept European values of peace co-existence and development;

- take active part in developing and implementing the construction of democratic society in Karabakh characterized by rule of law and compliance with standards of European democracy.


6. References

  7. topwar,ru/898-noviy-favorit.html
  8.  ispaniy.html

  9. karabah.html
  10.Вооруженные силы Армении.
  11. R.Musabekov. At the point of intersection: «Russia in the Global Politics». №3, 2011. Москва

7. Afterword

In considering Turkey’ and Armenia’s indirect involvement in the conflict and political processes in the region, it’d be appropriate to touch upon these states’ probable response to the probability of the war and the war proper.

Iran is unlikely to interfere with these developments and would rather confine itself to calls for armistice and creation of certain stability regime.

Turkey is likely to render information and political support to Azerbaijan, and show willing to act as one of the guarantors of lasting and long-term peace in the region. Turkey is unlikely to involve in the warfare.

/?feed=rss2&p=1190 0
Applicability of European Autonomy models to Nagorno Karabakh /en/?p=1184 /en/?p=1184#comments Wed, 07 Dec 2011 12:06:35 +0000 ismayil /?p=1184  


Elkhan Shahinogly




  1. 1.     Deadlock Talks


  1. Kernel of Autonomies Worldwide


  1. Nakhchivan Model of Autonomy


  1. 4.     Aland islands: Optimal Status of Autonomy


  1. Tataria Model means Economic Well-being


  1. 6.     Southern Tyrol: Wide Autonomy that Needs no Referendum


  1. 7.     Interim Status for Nagorno Karabakh




1. Deadlock Talks


Talks over the Karabakh resolution have come to a deadlock. The year 2010 marked no changes in the conflict settlement. Also, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev’s particular efforts were crowned with no success. No progress was reached during Sochi, St.-Petersburg and Astrakhan 2010 meeting. In2011, aseries of bilateral meetings re-started with Sochi. Like the past year meetings of Presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, the parties exchanged views on an area to host the Olympic Games of 2014.

As has been before, Armenia declined from adopting the “renovated Madrid” principles, while Kremlin as active negotiation mediator has no intention to pressure Yerevan on the issue. Furthermore, Dmitri Medvedev visited Yerevan August last year and signed a memorandum of understanding with his Armenian counterpart Serj Sarkisyan on prolongation of the military base activity in this country. Under a new provision of the memorandum, on the Russian base will be responsible for the Armenian security henceforward.

A general content of “the renovated Madris principles” is as follows: 5 occupied regions (Agdam, Fizuli,Zangilan, Qubadly and Jabrail) and 13 villages of Lachin region are liberated, refugees return home, all communication lines are opened, interim status of Nagorno Karabakh is identified, peace-making forces of unknown composition are stationed, the date of Lachin and Kelbadjar regions’ liberation is specified and a referendum on the final status of Nagorno Karabakh is held. 

The Azerbaijani government announced that as a whole it had adopted this plan, true, with few reservations. Meanwhile, official Yerevan is still hesitating: it disagrees with the sequence of actions; it tries to make all provisions dependent upon Nagorno Karabakh’s final status. Yerevan demands to specify conditions of the referendum on the final status of Nagorno Karabakh.

The Azerbaijani government does not decline from debates over the status; yet,  the government considers it possible to start discussing the issue after putting the first provisions of the plan into practice. As a matter of fact, the whole question rests on “stage-by-stage” and “package” variants of conflict resolution. While the Azerbaijani variant is consistent with “stage-by-stage” plan, i.e. “the liberation of the occupied territories and return of refugees, following which other questions may be discussed”, Armenia insists on realization of the above together with the status definition, i.e. “package” variant.

In July 2009, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in an interview to The Russian “RTR” TV-channel explained the referendum issue as follows: “The referendum may be held in10, 20 and even 100 years or unheld at all”. (1)

It is obvious that Azerbaijan cannot give the go-ahead to the referendum date-related conflict resolution plan. The point is that this would mean none other than granting independence to Nagorno Karabakh. However many Azerbaijani refugees return to Karabakh, a proportion would be in favor of Armenians. Hence, the results of the referendum are known beforehand.

In his November 2009 speech at the opening ceremony of housing estate for families of forced migrants Ilham Aliyev (2) avowed that difficulties arose in diplomatic methods of the Karabakh resolution. Four conclusions might be derived from the President’s speech:

1. Armenia’s stance on the issue became tougher and digressed from previous arrangements; Yerevan is seeking to stall for time; 

2. Under the pressure of the Armenian lobby the international community livens no up its efforts in the Karabakh resolution; 

3. Minsk Group activity yields no desirable results; 

4. Hence, Azerbaijan is expected to step up the political, economic and military pressure on Armenia.

President Ilham Aliyev did not fail to add that with Armenia’s real population in 1,700,000, the Azerbaijan’s one draws nearer to 10 million. He stressed that nowadays the Azerbaijani economy is 7 times up from the Armenian one, and expected to exceed 15 times in the future; that Armenia is standing apart from all regional projects. In this respect, account has to be taken of the fact that Azerbaijani military expenditures excel the whole of the Armenian budget and that this difference is likely to increase from year to year.

This notwithstanding, Armenia is unyielding in its demands. With 95% of the plan having been agreed, co-chairmen are held up in the status question. All arrangements are being hampered by these 5 % – the date of referendum to identify the status of Nagorno Karabakh. Taken separately, this provision seems to be intractable against the background of all other provisions, and it is no mere coincidence that diplomats perpetually repeat that “unless, at least, a single provision is agreed, hence, nothing is considered to have been agreed”.


2. Kernel of Autonomies Worldwide

In their Karabakh status-related numerous statements and interviews Azerbaijani officials lay a special emphasis on the issue as follows: “The world’s highest ever autonomy may be granted to Nagorno Karabakh”.

To understand what it means, suffice to look closely at the world’s avowed autonomy models. The analysis is indicative that the crux of models that embrace European, American and Asian continents is identical: demands of separation and independence at the first stage; acts of terror at the next one and finally the preference is given to co-existence. This practice reduces to nothing allegations of the Armenian separatists that “one conflict is dissimilar to another”. What is the difference between the Karabakh model and those worldwide? True, one conflict is more, another – less bloody; however, the finale of all autonomy models’ realization is identical: co-existence of peoples and communities is preferable. It is no mere coincidence that advocates of independence had repeatedly suffered defeat at referendums held in Quebec or Puerto-Rico.

The Armenian authorities refer to autonomies that held independence-related referendums. As is seen, referendums end in no results that separatists dream of. Brought into the forefront are co-existence of peoples and formation of confidence atmosphere and sustained stability.

Azerbaijan’s point of view on the issue is as follows: first, occupied territories are to be liberated, previous ties re-established, atmosphere of confidence between the two peoples restored, Nagorno Karabakh Armenians to enjoy wide powers, so that no need in referendum would ever occur, and Armenians to realize that calls for independence would lead to collapse and a new war.

The only argument of Armenian separatists is Kosovo. After some western states recognized this region’s independence, and the UN Hague Court proclaimed Kosovo’s independence as non-conflicting with the international law, Yerevan began to bustle. The Armenian authorities claimed that Kosovo was a precedent for Nagorno Karabakh. Yerevan did not dare to recognize Kosovo’s independence solely to avoid vexing Russia. This looks like non-recognition of “independence” of Nagorno Karabakh by Armenia. Armenian political circles are well aware of the fact that unceasing citation to Kosovo’s independence would contribute to the disintegration of neighboring Georgia. The point is that Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia proclaimed their independences as well. Armenia would be utterly disadvantaged, should it damage relations with Georgia after it spoiled relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Just as the West recognized Kosovo’s independence, so did Russia in respect of “independences” of Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia. “Unique” settlement of the Kosovo problem, as the West puts it, was titled by Kremlin as “universal” model of conflict resolution. However, Kosovo cannot be a precedent for Nagorno Karabakh, as repeatedly stressed by western leaders and diplomats. The Albanian population of Kosovo went through ethnic cleansing by Serbs, and this factor greatly contributed to the recognition of Kosovo independence. Among others, decisions of this sort were accounted for by genocide inflicted by the former Yugoslavian leaders in the Balkans. As distinct from Kosovo, Azerbaijanis underwent ethnic cleansing in Nagorno Karabakh, so it’d be out of place to draw a parallel between the two regions.

Faced with separatism, various states, including Azerbaijan, are showing a growing interest in autonomy problems worldwide. Suffice it to recall world’s famous man Dalay-lama’s 2009 visit to Italy when he headed for Southern Tyrol. (3) The purpose of Dalay-lama’s visit to the region was to familiarize himself with joint residence of different peoples in an Italian province. There is a great need in studying the experience of this sort, for the status to be finally granted to Nagorno Karabakh cannot be higher than the one having been granted to autonomies worldwide.


3. Nakhchivan Model of Autonomy


In principle, it’d be appropriate to look at the autonomy experience of Azerbaijan. The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is meant.

Pursuant to the status of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, the NAR is an autonomous entity as part of the Azerbaijan Republic. Head of the entity is a chairman of the Supreme Majlis of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

Under the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic, public authority in the NAR is based on separation of powers; legislative powers are regulated by the Supreme Majlis – Parliament of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

The Supreme Majlis is a principal legislative body of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. The Parliament consists of 45 deputies. They are elected on majority basis to comply with universal, equal and direct suffrage by free, personal and secret vote for a term of 5 years. Two sessions are held a year; an extraordinary session of the Parliament may be held on requests of the President and Milli Majlis of the AR, 16 deputies or Chairman of the Supreme Majlis of the NAR.

The Supreme Majlis of the NAR may initiate bills to the Milli Majlis of the AR. Under the Constitution, Chairman of the Supreme Majlis of the NAR is elected for a term of 5 years.

The Cabinet of Ministers of the NAR is subordinated to the Supreme Majlis and reports back to this body. On presentation of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic, the Supreme Majlis of the NAR approves and appoints Prime Minister; while the staff of the Cabinet of Ministers is approved at the suggestion of the Prime Minister. Note that the Cabinet of Ministers of the NAR is responsible for draft budget development and its submission to the Supreme Majlis, implementation of the budget and realization of economic and social programs, management of the activities of Ministries and other executive bodies, adoption of decisions on general questions and approval of decrees.

The scope of activity of the Supreme Majlis of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic:

1. elections to the Supreme Majlis of theNakhchivanAutonomousRepublic;

2. taxes;

3. directions of economic development of theNakhchivanAutonomousRepublic;

4. social security;

5. environmental protection;

6. tourism;

7. public health, science and culture.

Thus, enjoying sufficiently wide authorities in the sphere of policy and economy, Nakhchivan is free to select its own way of development. True, there is quite a few questions regarding Nakhchivan’s present administrative methods of management; however, the scope of activity is to be complied with by the two parties. The Nakhchivan example is illustrative that within the framework of authorities granted Nagorno Karabakh could contribute to the development of the region, formation of legislative and executive institutions, while problems that arise could be resolved within the framework of a dialogue between Khankendi and Baku.

4. Aland Islands: Optimal Status of Autonomy


When it comes to talking about models of the Karabakh resolution, an emphasis is often laid on Aland Islands pertaining to Finland and populated by Swedes. Some experts in the West are prone to consider the Karabakh status as consistent with this model. It is no mere coincidence that in his report OSCE Parliamentary Assembly special envoy on Nagorno Karabakh Goran Lenmaker put forward an idea that the Alands may serve as a model for the Karabakh resolution (4).

It has to be kept in mind that the Alands are located in the Baltic Sea and consist of approx. 8,000 large and small islands. People reside on large islands only. An overwhelming majority of the population is made of Swedes, and till 1808 the Aland Islands had been a part of the Swedish Kingdom. Over this same period Sweden sustained a defeat in the war against the Russian Empire and had to cede the Aland Islands and Finland to Russia. Following the downfall of the Russian Empire in 1917, the independence of Finland was recognized by the international community. In the meanwhile, the Swedish population of the Alands sought to join Sweden. However, Finland stood up against Alanders’ self-determination efforts. A signature-gathering campaign started and secret societies established. No military confrontation between the two parties took place; still, the Finnish police detained a group of Swedish separatists. In 1921, the League of Nations proclaimed the Aland Islands as a territory of Finland. Note that this decision demanded from Finland to secure the language, traditions and culture of the islanders. Finland and Sweden applied joint efforts to device a mechanism of the decision implementation.

In conformity with an agreement entered into between Finland and Sweden, the population of the Aland Islands was granted the right to freely enjoy its language, culture and traditions and thus avoid the risk of assimilation. Sweden gave a warranty to secure safety of Swedes residing on the Islands and ensure unimpeded ties with their compatriots. Under a law of 1922 on self-government, the local Parliament – Lagting – was responsible not only for enactment of domestic laws and budget of the Islands but also for the formation of a government. Under the Constitution of Finland, the Finnish Parliament may make amendments in the self-government legislation with the Lagting of the Aland Islands only. Legal authority of the Lagting applies to education and culture, health and economy, transport, communal services, police, mail, radio and television. The Alands enjoy sovereign state powers to administer the said branches. Other legal authority, including – foreign policy, a main part of civil code, judicial and criminal laws, customs and money circulation, fall under the Finland’s authority.

To protect interests of the Aland population, a deputy is elected to the Finnish Parliament from the Islands. With the Lagting’s permission, the Finnish President nominates a Governor of the Islands. Governor is responsible for managing the Council of Representatives of the Aland Islands (formed on parity basis) and presiding over opening/closing Lagting sessions.

Relations in the sphere of economy are maintained on a simplified basis: taxes, customs duties, etc, are levied by the Finnish government to comply with applicable regulations. Archipelago charges are paid from the state budget. Less debts of the state, a part of profits is allocated for the archipelago. The rest funds are distributed to comply with Lagting budget items.

The Finnish President has the right to veto laws adopted by the Lagting. President is entitled to veto laws in two cases only: when the Alands Parliament goes beyond its commissions or a law adopted compromises Finland’s foreign and home security.

The right to residence on the Islands is the right to citizenship. A newborn of the Islands whose parent is a citizen of the Alands is entitled to this right. Note that the Islanders are simultaneously citizens of Finland. Also, the Alands citizenship is granted to a Finnish citizen residing in the Islands for 5 years and proficient in Swedish.

Restrictions imposed on the right to own real estate are explained as being due to aspirations of Islanders to consolidate their land plots as form of property. An islander who lived for 5 years outside the Alands loses his citizenship. An Aland citizen is exempt from military service in the Finnish army. It is prohibited to deploy military units and facilities on the Islands.

The Alands are entitled to directly cooperate with Scandinavian countries. The Aland government may take part in the activity of the Councils of Ministers of the Scandinavian countries.

The Finnish government and Parliament have the authority to pursue the foreign policy. However, when signing an international agreement to influence the domestic affairs of the Alands, Finland shall agree this agreement’s coming into effect with the Lagting.

Thus, should the Aland model be applied to the Karabakh resolution, the local Parliament would be entitled to pass decisions on domestic and budgetary affairs, and form a government.

Scope of activity of the Karabakh Parliament and government may include as follows:


- Education and culture;

- Public health;

- Some branches of economy;

- Transport;

-Communal services;

- Police;

- Postal services;

- Radio and television.


To proceed from the Aland model, Nagorno Karabakh may delegate the following powers to the Azerbaijani President and Parliament:


- Foreign policy;

- Judiciary and criminal law;

- A greater part of civil code;

- Customs and money turnover.


Relations between the parties in the sphere of economy may be established as follows: like other regions of the Republic, the government of Azerbaijan is engaged in levying taxes in Nagorno Karabakh and allocating funds to the local budget, as set forth in appropriate regulations. Decisions adopted by the Karabakh Parliament are submitted to the President of the Azerbaijan Republic. Like Alands, the head of the Azerbaijani state may veto in two cases: if the local Parliament goes beyond its commission or a law adopted runs contrary to home and foreign security. Under the Aland model, residents of Nagorno Karabakh may be exempt from military service in the Azerbaijani army. It may be prohibited to deploy military bases and units in the region. Nagorno Karabakh has the right to cooperate with Armenia.

In short, within the framework of the Aland model application Nagorno Karabakh with its widest self-government authority might be recognized as territory of Azerbaijan and establish close ties with Armenia; hence, the region would be disarmed.

As a matter of fact, the Aland model-stipulated rights are not wider than those as set forth for Nakhchivan in the Azerbaijani Constitution. In other words, amendments would be made in the Aland model to provide necessary conditions for Armenians and Azerbaijanis to co-exist in Nagorno Karabakh. For instance, it is essential to specify a mechanism of participation of Azerbaijanis in the formation of the Karabakh Parliament, government and political line of the region.


5. Tataria Model means Economic Well-being


When it comes to talking about the Karabakh resolution, an emphasis is occasionally laid on the Tataria model. Above 70 various nationalities currently reside in Tataria, located in the center of the Russian Federation and numbering approx. 4 million. An overwhelming majority of the population is Tatars and Russians. On the eve of the USSR collapse, Tataria succeeded in expanding its status. As an Autonomous Republic and a part of the Russian Federation, Tataria proclaimed its state independence on August 30, 1990.

Under a declaration of sovereignty, the region is officially titled as the Tatar Republic.

The Act of Tataria sovereignty says that no status of the Tatar Republic may be changed without joint agreement of the Tatar Republic and the Russian Federation. Also, no borders of the Tatar Republic may be changed without its consent. Within the framework of its powers, the Tatar Republic may independently enter into foreign economic relations and open its economic missions abroad. Another provision of the document says that the Council of State of the Tatar Republic or a referendum may adopt the Constitution of the Tatar Republic and amendments hereto.

It would be appropriate to note that the Tataria model might serve as a model for Nagorno Karabakh. The status granted to Nagorno Karabakh like the Tataria one, independent economic policy, signing of economic agreements with foreign partners, opening of economic offices abroad, formation of local governmental institutions and bringing laws adopted into conformity with Azerbaijani legislation – all these meant that the local power disposes of much administrative authority.

It should be noted that Tataria enjoys wide economic independence, especially as the region is one of the richest in the Russian Federation. Suffice it to say that Russia’s some large enterprises are located in Tataria; the region is also rich in energy resources. Tataria keeps for its own needs a greater part of profits, and this factor plays a significant part in the development of the region. In the meanwhile, there is no claim to fame in the economy of Nagorno Karabakh, particularly in its agriculture. That’s to say that unlike Tataria that feels no need in the aid from the outside, large-scale funds may be appropriated from the Azerbaijani budget to find its parallel in the final status of the region.


6. Southern Tyrol: Wide Autonomy that Needs no Referendum


There is one more example – Southern Tyrol as part of Italy. Note that German-speaking population makes up majority in the region. Tyrol proper is located in Austria with Innsbruck as its capital; however, Tyrol’s southern part is pertaining to Italy. Southern Tyrol’s autonomy is an eloquent testimony to the peaceful co-existence of the peoples speaking two different languages. Rights both of German and Italian languages are protected in Southern Tyrol. It’d be appropriate to note that Southern Tyrol disposes of wide legislative and managerial powers to enact laws in the national economy and agriculture, tourism, mining industry, social and educational spheres (5). In common with other autonomies, the foreign policy and defense matters are regulated by the center. Also, 90% of taxes levied are kept in the region in addition to funds from the Italian budget. In other words, Southern Tyrol commands budget revenues at its own discretion.

Under this status, should a law adopted in Southern Tyrol run contrary to an Italian legislation, the case would be considered at the Constitution Court. To prevent confrontation between the two peoples of Southern Tyrol, an overwhelming majority of posts is regulated to comply with rotation principle; i.e. within a certain period a post is filled either by German-speaking or Italian-speaking official. Note that the ethnic factor is also taken into consideration during the voting at the Parliament and committees with due account of interests of the two peoples.

In spite of this, separatist trends now and again become apparent in Southern Tyrol. High living conditions in the provinces with wider rights notwithstanding, there are persons that demand independence. Separatist elements claim that the German language “cannot get on with the Italian one”, just “co-exist”. However, the separatists enjoy no population’s support and are in the minority, for the German-speaking representatives of Southern Tyrol feel no need in the slogans of this type, adopt decisions at their own discretion, live as they like and strive for no independence.

A parallel may be drawn between statuses of Southern Tyrol and Nagorno Karabakh. The first similarity is that Southern Tyrol consists, like Nagorno Karabakh, of two communities. The second similarity is that at first the separatism at Southern Tyrol received a backing from Austria; the same is true of the Karabakh separatism backed by Armenia. The third similarity is that Austria demanded to separate Southern Tyrol from Italy that sustained defeat in the war; the same is true of Armenia that allegedly gained victory over Azerbaijan demanded from the international community to recognize “the independence” of Nagorno Karabakh.

Note that Armenia set its hopes upon referendum to settle the Karabakh conflict. However, the stage-by-stage principle was applied in resolving the Southern Tyrol problem. While initially German-speaking people of Austria and related regions demanded independence for Southern Tyrol, afterwards they arrived at an idea of granting broader autonomy to the region at issue. Austrian supporters realized that the independence would lead to the conflict, so they habituated themselves to the idea that neither winners, nor losers would be in clashes. Should German-speaking demand referendum on region’s status, the process would go out of control to develop too dangerously. Fortunately, the both parties rejected prospective dangers, and at present, reside in one and the same political, economic and cultural expanse. True, in our case the bloodshed in Karabakh and around it will not for long be scrubbed from memory of people. On the other hand, objective difficulties arising from co-existence of Azerbaijanis and Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh notwithstanding, there are, nevertheless, no obstacles for the two communities to live “in the neighborhood”.

It’d be appropriate to note that no problems ever arise between the two groups of the population when Germans title the region as Southern Tyrol and Italian as Bolsano. Note that Azerbaijanis call Nagorno Karabakh’s capital under its ancient name – Khankendi; Armenians as Stepanakert. Armenian separatists always protest at international conferences when the town is called Khankendi, while the capital of Southern Tyrol is called at discretion of the two parties.

Note that a mechanism used at Southern Tyrol – 90% of taxes levied are kept in the region in addition to funds from the Italian budget, may as well be applied in Nagorno Karabakh.


7. Interim Status for Nagorno Karabakh


Thus, factors contributing to the concept of autonomy rise above factors that call for separation. The most important thing is that historically the autonomy of this sort having learnt a bitter lesson gave afterwards its preference to cooperation and mutual understanding, not confrontation. In so doing, such a model of autonomy made it possible to protect interests of autonomous structures and secure related states and regions against possible disorders.

The Karabakh conflict has also to be resolved to avoid further complications. Forv this to happen, it is essential to make compromises. True, tragedies of the latest history are unlikely to be forgotten in the offing. In order to provide for the future development and stymie new confrontation, it’d be expedient to put forward a peace plan and ensure peaceful co-existence of the two communities of Nagorno Karabakh.

Note that the Madrid principles provide for an interim status of Nagorno Karabakh. The said status is acceptable for the both parties in the transition period. The interim status will make it possible to gain results as follows:


-               Ensuring Nagorno Karabakh’s security and self-government;

-               Liberating occupied territories, resolving a corridor question and opening communication lines;

-               Normalizing relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan/Turkey, opening borders and restoring diplomatic relations.


In addressing the Royal Institute of International Relations in London, July 13, 2009, the President of the Azerbaijan Republic stressed that no mechanism of independence had been put forward by OSCE Minsk Group co-Chairmen. He had his say about an interim status as saying: “The fact is that Nagorno Karabakh has not been recognized today by any country worldwide, including Armenia. That clearly indicates that no independence is admissible. What can be done on this track? It is possible to seek agreement with Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of Nagorno Karabakh to co-exist peacefully”. In other words, the two communities may co-exist peacefully even under statusless conditions (6). It is essential to solve existing problems through the round table talks.



(1)   – “Interview of the President of Azerbaijan with the RTR TV channel”. 2009;

(2)   “The President of Azerbaijan made a statement at the opening ceremony of buildings for forced migrants”. 2009;

(3)   «Dalai Lama visits a regional government of Southern Tyrol, Northern Italy’s autonomous region with a special legislation». ASKA. 2009;

(4)   – “Time is ripe to adopt a decision regarding the Nagorno Karabakh conflict”. 2008;

(5)   – «Status of Southern Tyrol». 2005;

(6)    - “Statusless status”. Media Forum. 2010.

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A regular meeting of the Public Council for Karabakh Resolution (PCKR) was held on 23 November, HCA office. /en/?p=1137 /en/?p=1137#comments Fri, 25 Nov 2011 13:28:01 +0000 ismayil /?p=1137  


A regular meeting of the Public Council for Karabakh    Resolution (PCKR) was held on 23 November, HCA office.

      The agenda included questions arising from the OSCE Minsk  Group co-chairmanship, political processes going on in  Russia and Iran, activity of the Armenian lobby at the US    Senate.

Touching upon the first issue, PCKR experts focused on  the latest developments arising from a South Caucasian visit of K. Eshton, chairman of the EU foreign relations commission, and on the substitution of the French co-chairman to the Minsk Group for an EU representative. Political expert Eldar Namazov emphasized that today’s agenda is whether France may represent the EU to the Minsk Group. To his thinking, this will enable Azerbaijan to maneuver better on the European political expanse, for many EU members are unequivocally supportive of the principle of territorial integrity of states. As distinct from the OSCE, this structure disposes of armed units to form peace-making forces for resolving conflicts.Besides, Azerbaijan may strengthen its opportunities on diplomatic pursuits through bringing up an issue of South Caucasian conflicts resolution to be discussed by the European public.

Sabit Bagirov pointed out that the EU is more than France interested in energy projects, particularly, in Nabucco gas pipeline. The EU-adopted Program of Eastern Partnership provides for peace resolution of conflicts for closer integration into a single political and economic expanse. Some experts queried as to EU’s potential and willingness to solve the Karabakh conflict.

Journalist Nijat Samed oglu opined about positive and negative aspects of transferring discussions into the EU space with a special emphasis on the factor of Eastern Europe, personality factor, etc.

Political expert Zardusht Alizadeh accentuated that positions of France and other countries, including the United States, are not at variance with each other. At any rate, key actors in South Caucasus are not small European countries, but Russia and the United States, none of which is seeking to put an end to conflicts in this region in the nearest future.

Chairman of the HCA Arzu Abdullayeva noted that as far back as six months ago no substitution of France had ever been put on the EU agenda during the Brussels debates. As to negative factors of EU’s involvement into the Minsk Group, she singled out the complexity of the adoption by 27 member-countries of a decision related to numerous bureaucratic procrastinations, as well as obstacles of political nature.

The PCKR meeting discussed situations in Russia and Iran, each country being on the threshold of decisive events and disinterested in the Karabakh resolution.

To conclude, a question of US Senate hearings to prolong authorities of the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan was raised. The PCKR arrived at a decision to issue an appeal concerning the very principle of decision making, under which Senators representing interests of the Armenian lobby are entitled to approve or disapprove Ambassador’s candidacy to Azerbaijan.

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A regular meeting of the Public Council for Karabakh Resolution (PCKR) was held on September 27. /en/?p=1123 /en/?p=1123#comments Thu, 29 Sep 2011 05:05:04 +0000 admin /?p=1123 Addressing the meeting was Michael Mirziashvili, coordinator of «Crisis Management Initiative» (CMI). The Karabakh Expert Council as participant of the project «The Role of Civil Society in Solving Conflicts in the Black Sea Region» under the aegis of CMI and HCA (Helsinki Civilian Assembly) was informed about plans of the organization for this and next years. Results of the activities of expert councils of seven countries of the Black Sea basin – Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Turkey are mirrored in analytical studies on the most topical crisis problems of the region, which are summed up at annual meetings. This year’s concluding meeting will be held in Istanbul, following which the PCKR has been suggested to put forward several topics for discussions to thus awake interest of all regional participants.

      Another subject for discussions of the PCKR experts was the situation in Iran and its influence on regional and world political processes. Heated discussions in role-playing manner broke out that divided those present into proponents and opponents of domestic and foreign political lines of the Iranian government. The experts agreed that the aggressive rhetoric of Iranian leaders does not reflect their genuine intentions in respect of the West, with which this country is not going to come into conflict due to vulnerability of its domestic policy. First of all, the point is about the hair-trigger situation in ethnic and religious questions, intra-power disagreements that make it no possible to regard the current status of the Iranian regime as stable. The next topic to be discussed was to consider the influence of all the factors above on Azerbaijan.

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