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 Tuesday, January 24 2023 20:48
Marianna Mkrtchyan

Zatulin: Azerbaijan needs to decide whether it will be  mere toy in  hands of extra-regional forces, appendage of Turkey, or whether it  will play more independent role

Zatulin: Azerbaijan needs to decide whether it will be  mere toy in  hands of extra-regional forces, appendage of Turkey, or whether it  will play more independent role

ArmInfo.The mandate of the EU observers in Armenia is quite limited, and their deployment at the initiative of the Armenian side is connected with the desire to  resist the pressure of Azerbaijan and find any allies in the fight  against this pressure.

This was stated by the First Deputy Chairman  of the Committee of the State Duma of the Russian Federation on CIS  Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots  Konstantin Zatulin during the Moscow-Tehran video bridge on the  topic: "South Caucasus: Interests of Russia and Iran", on a request  to comment on the dispatch of the EU mission to Armenia for a period  of for two years.

In this regard, he urged not to panic and not to make hasty  conclusions. "I should say that the behavior of Azerbaijan and  Turkey, which stands behind it, give grounds for such fears. This is  true. It seems to me that it is more important for us and Iran at  this stage that it is necessary to closely monitor the penetration of  extra-regional forces into the Caucasus. We must do it. We are able  to ensure peace in the South Caucasus, acting in solidarity," the  Russian MP said, recalling in this vein that the status quo in the  Nagorno- Karabakh conflict zone was destroyed by the 2020 war, and  due to the fact that for a long time it was not possible to reach a  settlement of the conflict.

At the same time, Zatulin believes that the initiative for not  resolving the conflict ultimately belongs to both Armenia and  Azerbaijan, especially at the stage when the RA was headed by the  government of Nikol Pashinyan, who was poorly oriented in the  capabilities of his country. He recalled that the Pashinyan  government was extremely unsuccessful both in the military and in the  diplomatic field.

The MP also pointed out a number of circumstances in connection with  the current situation. "The caution I was talking about does not mean  procrastination and cowardice. Yes, it is obvious that Russia is  involved in a big confrontation with the West in Ukraine, but this  does not mean that we should not pay attention to challenges in other  areas of our influence, including in the CIS area," the politician  noted, adding that Russia, out of good intentions, offers various  kinds of projects instead of confrontation.

In this regard, he also agreed that these good intentions do not  always have a positive outcome. "In general, I believe that the  second Karabakh war should not have happened. And at some stage we  missed the opportunity to influence the initiators of this war -  Azerbaijan and Turkey, so that it would not take place.  We missed  this move," he said, recalling that then, Russia did everything to  stop the war quickly.

According to him, even in this situation, there are many questions  for the Armenian side, which did not correctly assess the situation  and delayed it. However, according to him, Russia took responsibility  by sending 2,000 of its soldiers to Nagorno-Karabakh.

Zatalin is also convinced that today's actions of Azerbaijan in the  Lachin corridor are a challenge to this mission. The politician is  convinced that today Azerbaijan uses the unsettled mandate of the  Russian peacekeepers to demonstrate their inefficiency and ability to  solve the problem, which the Armenian side also insists on.

"I am certainly against this blockade. Urgent measures must be taken  to end it. And the joint action of Russia and Iran for these  purposes, it seems to me, would be very positive - more active, more  energetic," the Russian State Duma deputy said, adding, that the  behavior of Azerbaijan is constantly a topic of discussion in expert  circles. He recalled that some people believe that Azerbaijan has  already chosen the principle of one nation, two states, and there are  those who believe that Azerbaijan is trying to steer on a more  independent path, including through cooperation with Russia or Iran.

"But the desire to use Azerbaijan to the detriment of Iran is  certainly present," he said, recalling the latest statements made  both from Baku and from the West.

In this regard, Zatulin is convinced that Azerbaijan needs to decide  whether it will be a mere toy in the hands of extra-regional forces,  a mere appendage of Turkey in the establishmentof the Great Turan in  the Caspian and Central Asia, or whether it will play a more  independent role.

At the same time, Zatulin believes that Russia should also understand  that much more activity is required of it today, and it can no longer  expect that the parties to the conflict will create comfortable  conditions for mediation.

"Here we want, for example, to resolve the matter peacefully, and we  do not declare our principled position - Azerbaijan did the right  thing or wrong in September 2022, when it attacked the Armenian  forces. We postponed it, which gave the West powers a reason to claim  that we are unscrupulous allies and gave rise to doubts about the  need for Armenia to join the CSTO. This is growing in Armenia every  day, and we must see it," he said, adding that any provocation by  Azerbaijan leads to a surge of anti-Russian sentiment in Armenia. In  this regard, he expressed his conviction that Russian diplomacy  should be more active.

According to him, this also applies to the North-South corridor.  However, he believes that under the current conditions, Russia should  develop maritime communications with Iran. He also believes that  Russia in the 1990s hastened to divide the Caspian.

Returning to the topic of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Zatulin noted that  it is difficult to accuse him of being biased, since he has been  declared an "unwelcomed" person both in Armenia and Azerbaijan.  "Declaring me an 'unwelcomed" person in Armenia indicates the  intention of the current Armenian authorities to change their foreign  policy. But, in this regard, they create problems for Armenia itself  and the Armenian people. For all the years of the existence of the  Armenian problem for centuries, except for declarations, the Western  powers have done nothing for Armenians. There were many declarations,  promises, but very few actions, and the result is a tragedy for the  Armenian people," he said.

Zatulin reminded that Russia officially has one ally in the South  Caucasus, Armenia, neither Azerbaijan nor Georgia are considered as  such. 

The MP is convinced that today it is necessary to objectively  understand from whom the real danger for Russia comes, instead of  managing this or that personal connection in this or that country. "  The objective situation today is that the certain behavior of  Azerbaijan, which has lost its head after the victory in the Karabakh  war, which is actually not its victory, but the Turkish victory, this  victory seems to give it a basis to dictate conditions. But this  creates problems for it in the future," he said, advising Azerbaijan  to be satisfied with the results obtained and stop creating a threat  to regional peace and tranquility, no matter who comes from support.

In conclusion, he noted that if today the EU intends to objectively  assess the behavior of Azerbaijan in the region and, on this basis,  demand something from it, then what's wrong with that? "There is  nothing bad in this. If, on this basis, they try to change the  internal and external vector of Armenia, then we will naturally fight  it. And as for the fact that Russia has weakened, you know that for  more than a thousand stories of Russia, there were many episodes when  it was weakened by something. But those who, on this basis, thought  that its role could be disregarded, have been in the grave for a long  time, and it continues to exist, albe

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