GSAC Analytics

Can one and the same country be both an aggressor and a “peacemaker”?

Can one and the same country be both an aggressor and a “peacemaker”?

Once again, I note that the very raising of this kind of questions on Azerbaijani media and expert platforms is a positive marker. Evidence of a serious approach in Baku to studying the challenges and risks posed by the Russian “peacekeeping lever”. Can one and the same country in practice be both an aggressor and a “peacemaker”? – the question in the case of Russia is either rhetorical or not quite correctly formulated. Since the Kremlin can act as an aggressor, including in the guise of “peacekeepers”. In fact, in the Kremlin’s logic (it can be as flawed as you like, but what it is) in Karabakh, for all the “but”, Russia still managed to outplay its favorite formula “de-escalation through escalation”. I see no reason to describe elementary truths and examples. After all, until November 9, 2020, none other than Azerbaijan, for 30 years, categorically rejected the very idea of ​​Russian “peacekeepers” in Karabakh (read, on its territory). And during the 44 days of fighting for Karabakh, the very mention of a solution to the Russian “peacekeepers” – actually readable and most likely – was considered a sign of bad taste in the Azerbaijani expert community.

Now, if we nevertheless carefully admit that in fact the Russian “peacekeepers” were meant as the least evil, and crossing this red line as a necessary compromise, Azerbaijan, of course, thanks to its soldier squeezed the maximum out of the situation. Plus the Turkish “fuse”, we will not repeat ourselves.

However, the euphoria from victory on the battlefield should not lull the vigilance, since in the Russian “peacekeeping saga” in Karabakh this is only a prologue, and the corresponding challenges and risks for Baku are a topic for a separate study.

Why Azerbaijan is not selectively indicated in the NATO report – in my opinion, there are two obvious reasons for this. Firstly, it is the inertia from twenty years of comfort in which the “consolidated West” was, consciously and tacitly giving the Karabakh problem to the Kremlin’s monopoly under the roof of the initially stillborn OSCE Minsk Group. Yes, today this monopoly has been destroyed by the military presence of Turkey, but the inertia of comfort has not yet disappeared.

And, secondly, Azerbaijan itself gave its “mandate” to the Russian contingent on its territory, which, as it were, smooths out the trail of Russian intervention in the eyes of the West.

And if no one asked Yerevan in the conditions of a military defeat, then the levers of bargaining / pressure applied to Baku, in fact, form a new system of challenges and risks for Azerbaijan in the light of the presence of the Russian “peacekeeping” contingent in Karabakh.

It was no accident that I quoted the word “mandate”. It, in my opinion, has yet to be formed. With specifically defined functions of “peacekeepers” and a system of control over the observance of this very mandate. Independently or with the help of Turkey – it doesn’t matter. And for this, in my opinion, Baku hardly needs any special hints or messages from outside …

Volodimir Kopchak, comment to Zerkalo.az portal