Armenia wanted to take Karabakh in an 'intelligent' way - as opposed to the 'stupid' revanchists and separatists

11.04.24 12:48

There are two ways for separatists to achieve their goals. The first one is to declare their 'independence', secession, or 'miatsum', and rely  solely on the help of external occupants and their bayonets. The second way is to engage in peaceful negotiations with the state they originally belong to. It is important to note that the separatist territory may have a different historical background, but it is still connected to the original state in various ways. The slogans "Artsakh" has always been "Armenian" has never been and will never be Azerbaijani", "Abkhazia" has never had anything in common and will never have anything in common with Georgia", "Crimea has always been Russian" and other nonsense - from this series.


This path almost always eventually leads to bloodshed and geopolitical deadlock. It does not contribute in any way to international recognition of the separatists' "independence" and redrawing of borders.


All separatists of the post-Soviet space - Artsakh, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria, Crimea and Donbas - have followed this path. As a result, no separatist "independence" or annexation (as in the case of Crimea and Donbass) has not been recognised by the international community and will never be recognised. Why is also obvious. Practically any state has "special" territories with ethnic, religious, cultural or any other specificity. If we allow any community to secede with a portion of the state's territory at any time, it could lead to chaos.  This could cause states to fragment and borders to be redrawn indefinitely.


However, there is a second, more astute approach.  This involves the separatists formally acknowledging the territorial integrity of the state they belong to, while demanding autonomy, self-government, and a special status.  This would attract the attention of the international community to the alleged 'problem of rights' of the population in the separatist region. Constant reminder that the rights are allegedly "infringed" and that the population infected with separatist ideas cannot live in one state with the "central government" because of "oppression", "threat of genocide" and so on.


And so step by step the separatist movement "in a smart way" tries to lead to the fact that the world community can raise the issue of "divorce" of the separatists and the state in which they are part of. During his address to the parliament on 10 April 2024, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, stated that he intended to take Karabakh from Azerbaijan using a 'smart' approach, while the 'Karabakh clan' and the 'Artsakh' separatists advocated for 'stupid' military occupation methods.  This information was discussed in relation to the 2023 report on the implementation of the government's 5-year programme (2021-2026).


Pashinyan stated that after the 1996 OSCE Lisbon Summit, the Karabakh issue did not exist. The international architecture, which de jure predetermined the content of the Karabakh issue, was already established and unchanged, stating that Nagorno-Karabakh could only be a part of Azerbaijan.


He claimed that some states used the Karabakh issue to limit Armenia's actions as an independent state by giving vague and false hopes. He was referring to Russia.


According to Pashinyan, Armenians should have started taking Karabakh away from Azerbaijan 'in a smart way' as early as 1996. Despite Armenia's apparent victory in the first Karabakh war with Russia's assistance, it occupied Karabakh.


Pashinyan stated that if Armenia had recognized Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan and gradually de-occupied it, they would have had more opportunities and flexibility to achieve status and privileges for the Armenians of Karabakh within Azerbaijan. The text has been edited for clarity, objectivity, and grammatical correctness.


Pashinyan also admitted that when he came to power in 2018, and especially after losing the 44-day war in 2020, he had a plan to separate Karabakh from Azerbaijan. He gave a rough description of this plan.


In the first stage, Armenia recognized Karabakh as Azerbaijani territory, and in return, the Karabakh Armenians were to receive a certain 'status' from the Azerbaijani authorities. This status could include 'rights and security of Karabakh Armenians', which the 'international community' would help secure. The second stage involves the fixation of Karabakh Armenians. In a similar scenario to Kosovo, Karabakh, which is inhabited by Armenians, was ceded by Azerbaijan to protect the local Armenian population.


Pashinyan also admitted that the 'international community' recommended him to recognize Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan to help Armenia in a smart way. It is evident that this was France, which has long been the primary Western supporter of the Armenian nationalists.


Pashinyan had planned to erase the fact of Armenia's occupation by recognizing Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan. The plan was to then launch the mechanism of its separation from Azerbaijan based on the principles of self-determination of peoples and separation for the sake of salvation, similar to what happened in Kosovo and South Sudan. However, Pashinyan's recognition of Karabakh as Azerbaijani territory in 2022 does not mean that Armenia is giving up its claims to Karabakh. On the contrary, it is planned to realize these claims in a more clever, cunning, and legal way.


However, Azerbaijan responded cleverly, flexibly, and quickly. It recognized the purpose behind Pashinyan's acknowledgement of Karabakh as Azerbaijani territory and took appropriate action. As a result, Armenians, who are native to Karabakh and left after the one-day counter-terrorist operation, can only return on the condition that they accept Azerbaijani citizenship without any claims to a special status. This will make them equal citizens of Azerbaijan alongside people of other nationalities. The door is open! However, the issue of 'status' for the Armenians, which could potentially incite separatism, has been resolved permanently.


Georgia must also be aware that while attempting to salvage separatist projects in Abkhazia and Samachablo, their supporters may switch from a 'stupid' to a 'smart' strategy of separatism. A 'confederation' with similar special 'rights' and status as Sukhumi and Tskhinvali separatists is already being suggested.


However, the Constitution of Georgia already includes provisions for the rights of the indigenous Abkhazian people and the recognition of the Abkhazian language as the state language. The separatist movement, which is contributing to the decline of both the Abkhazian language and people, is hindering their progress.


However, Armenian settlers, who have become the majority in Abkhazia, may be seeking to establish another Armenian 'state' on the shores of the Black Sea through the use of 'confederation' games, as their attempts in Azerbaijani Karabakh were unsuccessful.



Varden Tsulukidze

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