in Russian – https://crossroadorg.info/manasyan-13-10-2020/
Source (in Russian) – Information agency REGNUM, October 13, 2020.
The topic of the Karabakh war is in the first line of the global political discourse now. The invisible dot on the political map named Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) suddenly turned out to be particular bifurcation point, where the main political meridians of the world are intersecting now. The war against Artsakh unleashed by Baku made this obvious. The war is in full swing not only on the battlefield, but also on information portals, where two versions of the conflict essence collide.
The key thesis in Baku’s argumentation boils down to the fact that the war is taking place in the territory of the internationally recognized Republic of Azerbaijan and that this gives it every right to forcibly liberate the territories occupied by the Armenians. It’s a fact that in 1991, during the USSR collapse the present Republic of Azerbaijan was recognized within the borders of the former Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic (AzSSR). The Armenian side does not dispute this fact and puts forward the following counterarguments.
- During the USSR collapse, Europe and the United States recognized the Republic of Azerbaijan within the borders of the former AzSSR to ensure the safe dismantling of such a nuclear superpower, as the USSR was. This act was a special case, arising from the general principle of the USSR breakdown into union republics, the implementation of which was pursued by Gorbachev and his team. It played into the hands of the West. However, recognition is a political act which doesn’t lead legally lead to Nagorno-Karabakh’s belonging to the Republic of Azerbaijan. The answer to the question whether Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to the Republic of Azerbaijan or not is contained only in the legal basis of the problem itself.
- There is no such principle of international law, as well as such an agreement regarding Nagorno-Karabakh or a law of the USSR as a disintegrated state, which would question the legitimacy of the formation of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
- Baku does not have a single legally significant document proving the right of the Republic of Azerbaijan to sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.
- Even if we assume that the Republic of Azerbaijan has legitimate jurisdiction over Nagorno-Karabakh, this does not alienate the people of Nagorno-Karabakh from the right to self-determination in accordance with the well-known principle of international law on the free self-determination of peoples.
- The only document referred to in Azerbaijan is the decision of the Caucasian Bureau of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) – RCP (B) – dated July 5, 1921, decreeing that: “Nagorno-Karabakh should be left within the Azerbaijan SSR, providing it with wide regional autonomy …”. This key argument is untenable with the following arguments: a) in fact, the decision itself was not adopted, it was not discussed at the plenum of the Caucasian Bureau of the RCP (B) and was not put to a vote (unlike the other decision in favor of Armenia adopted a day earlier, on July 4, 1921); b) the party unconstitutional body of the Caucasian Bureau of the RCP (B) did not have the competence to resolve territorial issues outside Russia; c) in the unapproved document, the word “leave” (“should be left”) was included arbitrarily as it would be possible to leave what was already there, but at the time of the “adoption” of the mentioned decision, Nagorno-Karabakh was not part of the AzSSR, not only because its borders were not established, but also due to the fact that Nagorno-Karabakh had already been declared an integral part of Soviet Armenia.
- The rejected party decision to separate Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenia was implemented under pressure of the Bolshevik Center. But this predatory decision was also violated. Baku did not intend to give a full autonomy status to this region at all, as it was obliged by the Caucasian Bureau of the RCP (B). Delaying the execution of the party’s resolution in violation of the already illegal and actually not adopted decision, Baku by its decree of July 7, 1923 granted the status of autonomy not to Nagorno-Karabakh, as it was supposed by the “decision” of the Caucasian Bureau of the RCP (B), but to one fourth of it. The initial name of the region, the autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh (ARNK), corresponded with the decision about granting the status of autonomy to the entire Nagorno-Karabakh. In 1936, the region was renamed the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region (NKAO), which reflected the fact of the arbitrariness of the decree of the fourth part of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh).
- During the Soviet period, especially after Stalin put forward a project to build an Azerbaijani nation, with the knowledge and consent of the Cental Authorities, Baku pursued a policy of aggressive assimilation of indigenous peoples professing Islam and a policy of expulsion of Armenians from the republic. Nakhichevan was already dearmenized by the 1980s. The people of Nagorno-Karabakh and the authorities of the AOK / NKAO did not give a tacit consent (estoppel) to the forcible inclusion of their lands into the AzSSR. The issue has been raised several times. And when an extraordinary session of the NKAO Regional Council on February 20, 1988 addressed Baku, Yerevan and Moscow with a request to consider and positively resolve the issue of reuniting the region with the Armenian SSR, the Armenian Genocide followed in Sumgait. The civilized request was answered with barbarism. A wave of violences and atrocities swept the entire republic.
Not the request of the region for reunification, but the Genocide in Sumgait became the impetus for the USSR collapse, whose peoples were personally convinced that the Central authorities were not a guarantor of their physical security. Gorbachev and his team, who followed the course of the disintegration of the USSR into separate republics, supported Baku in order to prevent deviations from this course. After the USSR collapse when Baku lost the support of the Central authorities, the self-defense forces of the NKR had proclaimed its independence and in the imposed war managed not only to defend the attacks of Azerbaijan, but also to liberate part of the territories that were supposed to be within the Armenian region in accordance with the above mentioned predatory decision of the Caucasian Bureau of the RCP (B), according to which Nagorno-Karabakh was torn away from Armenia with the condition of granting it (and not its part) the status of autonomy with broad rights.
NKR now executes state power only in the territories of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Republic of Artsakh does not control the territory around the geographical Nagorno-Karabakh, as they usually say. It is enough to look at the map to be sure of this. As for the liberated territories, they are not at all a security belt. These are territories that had been torn away from the region and which were returned in the war imposed on Artsakh.
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