‘Azerbaijan should be ready for negative processes at the end of the year’
The political spring in the region is held under the sign of elections: presidential elections in Russia (March 18) and in Azerbaijan (April 11). In Armenia, however, the election has already passed on March 2 through voting in the parliament, and in April the Armenian prime minister will be elected, who will receive all the power in this country. How will this series of elections affect these countries?
Grigory Trofimchuk, Chairman of the Expert Council of the Foundation for the Support of Scientific Research ‘Workshop of Eurasian Ideas,’ is convinced that for Azerbaijan and Russia, elections of such a high level as presidential elections, by definition, cannot aggravate the situation in the region, on the contrary, they stabilise it. Grigory Trofimchuk himself stated this in an interview with Azeri Daily on the sidelines of the Round Table ‘Youth Against Extremism and Radicalism,’ organised by the political centre ‘North-South,’ the Russian Press Club ‘Commonwealth,’ and the Azerbaijan University of Languages in partnership with Russian State University for the Humanities.
‘Take, for example, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Azerbaijan. Here everything (i.e. the elections – Ed) has been occuring within the legal framework for a long time. There are observers, Russian and Azerbaijani societies are within laws, constitutions. And this principle will be strictly observed. As for the issue of stability in the South Caucasus, the main factor here are Russian-Azerbaijani relations. We will continue to strive to strengthen stability in the South Caucasus,’ our interlocutor stressed.
According to Grigory Trofimchuk, only the voters will determine the results of the presidential elections in Russia and Azerbaijan: ‘If you focus on public opinion polls, then Vladimir Putin will be elected president of the Russian Federation and this will be the key to stability in the South Caucasus.’
As for Armenia, according to the expert, the situation in this country is clear: nothing will change in this country. ‘Of course, Azerbaijan is also following the election campaign in Armenia and asks a natural question about how its results will affect the Karabakh settlement process and the situation in the South Caucasus as a whole. In principle, in Armenia, no radical events are expected. There everything happens within the established framework. Although extreme bursts cannot be ruled out, given the fact that the Western structures are paying special attention to this series of elections in Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia,’ the analyst said.
He notes that he is not inclined to blame the West for all the troubles: ‘They are simply trying to strengthen their position in the South Caucasus, in particular by building some kind of gaps in our relations. And then the implementation of their goals comes. Given the tension in Karabakh, taking into account what is happening to the south, in Syria, the wars in the Middle East, no one is to be left in peace. We hope that no one will interfere in the process of presidential elections in Azerbaijan, although there are many who wish to do so. I hope that the South Caucasus, in general, and Azerbaijan, in particular, will be prepared for a rather negative development of the processes that are expected closer to the end of this year.’
– What is it about?
– After the turn of 2013-2014 an avalanche occurred (I mean the Ukrainian events), the whole crystal lattice of international law was violated, no one believes anyone. And Azerbaijan is involved in these processes, willy-nilly. In this negative picture, Karabakh is also built.
In this sense, April 2016 was indicative. But the region was not set on fire. And here the Russian president played a role. Thanks to him, the process has moved to the negotiation stage, and we must now decide how to move on.
Yes, the four-day war ended rather quickly, but Azerbaijan is not ready to get involved in a long, endless negotiation process, unless negotiations lead to practical developments. But for now we see negotiations for the sake of negotiations. There is not a single move even in a purely structural sense.
For example, Azerbaijan clearly, calmly, carefully weighs out the question of the composition of the OSCE Minsk Group. But even at this level nothing has been decided. I, as an expert, proposed one more option: to expand the group of experts under the same Minsk group. And it was not decided. No one specifically figured out what happened in April 2016.
So all this confrontation in the military version may well splash out.
– And do you expect this at the end of the year?
– No. But at the end of the year, we can expect a deterioration in the geopolitical situation as a whole, which will affect the regional situation. This, of course, will undermine security in the zone of the Karabakh conflict.
We have already heard statements by a number of representatives of the United States and the West in general, about their interest in the situation around Karabakh. This indicates that they are closely watching and are ready at any time to integrate into the very cracks that I mentioned above.