Lezgin separatists are unacceptable to Lezgins themselves

06.05.23 22:00

The Talysh separatist project was quietly and imperceptibly "phased out". Yes, of course, Armenian nationalists love to harp on the alleged 'oppression of the Talysh people' in Azerbaijan. However, it is obvious that without real support from the Kremlin there is no prospect for the Talysh separatists to completely marginalize themselves.


In the current situation the Kremlin will not support the Talysh separatists, if only because it appears that the only real ally of Russia in both the Syrian and Ukrainian wars - Iran - has given it a "strict message". Tehran does not need another precedent of separatism on its border, which can spill over to Iran (this is already happening to Kurdish separatists).


One has to take into account that hundreds of thousands of Talyshs live in Iran itself (and they perceive themselves as a divided people, like the Azerbaijanis of Iran). Furthermore, the theoretical threat of separatism in the Iranian Caspian provinces, such as Gilan, where, in addition to Gilanis and Azeris, the bulk of the Iranian Talish people live, cannot be discounted. The Hilanians are different from the Persians and, in addition, there have historically been attempts to create their own state formations (including the so-called Hilani Soviet Republic).


However, another separatist project in Azerbaijani territory - the Lezghin project - has not yet been dismissed by either Armenian nationalists or the Kremlin. As Lezgins do not live in Iran, Tehran is not particularly interested in their issues. And in Russia itself Lezgins are actively involved in the Russian aggression against Ukraine.


 This is facilitated by the fact that the leader of Dagestan Sergey Malikov himself is an ethnic Lezgin. He, in fact, "in absentia" under the cover of war in Ukraine of Russian military of Lezgin nationality is creating a base for his own armed formation, which, by all appearances, will be necessary. "The Lezgin army" may well be needed by Malikov, in the event that defeat in the Ukrainian war leads to the disintegration of Russia and a civil war on its territory. As a result, in fact, many regional leaders will begin to create their own armed formations, publicly or unknowingly.


At the same time, it is much more dangerous that the "military backbone" of Lezgins, who went through the Ukrainian war, will want to be used to foment separatism in Azerbaijan and aggression on the "Artsakh" scenario. This threat persists because the Russian Armenian lobby cannot reconcile itself to the loss of Artsakh. The Armenian nationalists still nurture plans for Russian military aid to the separatists and revanchists in Khankendi. But to do this, they either need to force a "military corridor" through Georgia, or open a "new front" in the north of Azerbaijan, or both at the same time. And obviously, attempts to activate the Lezgi separatist movement "Sadval" have been renewed in order to implement such plans.


A little more than a month ago the leaders of the Lezgi separatist movement "Sadval" compiled a "analytical note" addressed to the Secretary of the Russian Security Council Patrushev. At that there is no doubt that the "memo" was prepared with the participation of representatives of the Dashnaks and the Armenian lobby. The authors of this "note" are trying diligently to turn the Kremlin against other nations of Dagestan accusing them of unreliability: "All Dagestani peoples (Avars, Kumyks and Nogais in the first place), except for Lezgins, will immediately take the side of Azerbaijan and will even fight with Russia, if necessary. It is noted that "the true patriots of Russia are representatives of the indigenous Lezghin peoples (Lezghins are the only strength and support of Russia in the South Caucasus)"..


The participation of Lezghins in the war against Ukraine is particularly emphasised: 'it is the representatives of the Lezghin peoples who are most of all the Dagestani peoples, who are in the Donbass, in the ranks of the SAF, moreover, in the first ranks of the assault detachments'.


The main purpose of the document is to play on the paranoid fears of the Russian leadership in order to convince the Kremlin of Azerbaijan's alleged plans to seize Armenia and South Dagestan:


"The Azerbaijani authorities will not wait for the Russian peacekeeping forces (in Karabakh) to finish their term and will start military operations against Armenia probably in the near future, thus calling into question both the security of the Russian peacekeeping forces and of the military base on Armenian territory.


If the above-mentioned events take place, which is all set to happen, they will:


The 2nd "genocide" of the Armenian people with the seizure of Yerevan by Azerbaijan...;


Russia is forced to withdraw from the South Caucasus, suffering not only political and moral, but also human losses.


After these events, pan-Turkic Azerbaijan, together with Turkey, will lay claim to the Russian Federation, with the possible introduction of troops into Southern Dagestan and the seizure of Derbent..."..


Based on these daunting predictions, Sadwala leaders suggest:


"1. Create three (3) additional military brigades from the people of South Dagestan (Republic of Dagestan) according to the wartime staffs, with funding from the resources of oligarchs: G. Nisanov, A. Agalarov, V. Alekperov or budget financing.


2. Increase pressure on the Azerbaijani leadership to unblock Nagorno-Karabakh and our peacekeeping contingent through representatives of the "Sadwal" (Unity) All-Union movement, both in Russia and in Azerbaijan.


3. Support the All-Russian Public Movement (APM) "Sadval" (Unity) - the organization of patriotic forces of the Lezgi people - and promote its registration at the federal level.


4. Promote the appointment of representatives of patriotic forces to the posts of heads of the districts bordering on Azerbaijan in South Dagestan and the city of Derbent, namely the Sadval (Unity) movement.”.


Recently, one of the authors of this "Analytical Note", Asul Kasumov, a Russian citizen who served a 13-year prison sentence in Azerbaijan for preparing an attack on a border outpost, announced on social media an appeal to his fellow tribesmen in Lezgi language. He announced plans to convene a "Lezghin conference" in May 2023 to, among other things, "create a unified national army and Military Council" and then "demand that Azerbaijan grants Lezgins a second (Russian) citizenship.


It is possible that in the near future Lezgins' separatists may go for provocations and escalation of the situation. All the more that they are clearly "hurried" by the Armenian Artsakh separatists that after opening of the Azerbaijani checkpoint on the Lachin road were "cornered".


And do the Lezgi people need it? Especially since they have in their mind the fate of the once prosperous Ukrainian Donbass that is turning into a scorched desert and where entire towns, including Bakhmut, are being completely demolished in the course of military operations.


The very attitude of the Lezgins to the separatists is well illustrated by a video message from a Lezgin woman living in Azerbaijan:




Grigol Giorgadze

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