Wednesday, March 3

Nagorno-Karabakh: Azerbaijanis worried about the return of the Russians


Tuesday 10 November. The streets of Baku are bubbling with euphoria, songs, dances and screams. The unanimous joy of having triumphed over the Armenian enemy. Sitting at the back of an empty downtown restaurant, Amin seems to be the only one who doesn’t share the feelings of his compatriots. “The Russians hid our victory. It is as if we were going back a century: an imperialist power, which has always imposed its interests on us, is redeploying its soldiers on our territory for five, ten years and probably more, when we had worked so hard to get rid of them. affecting “, fulminates Amin, who refuses to give his real name because he works in the diplomatic sphere. Alone with his spite he predicts “That once the dust settles, many will be disillusioned”.

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The previous evening, a nine-point tripartite agreement, signed by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, ordered the immediate cessation of fighting and the deployment of a force. interposition. That is to say 2,000 Russian soldiers, responsible for ensuring the security of Armenian civilians on a perimeter of Nagorno-Karabakh narrowed by the Azerbaijani advance. For at least five years. Just before the signing of the agreement, the Azerbaijani army shot down a Russian military helicopter flying at night at low altitude towards the Nakhichevan region (far from the combat zone), killing the two pilots. A serious military incident and little commented on by officials, Baku stuck to apologies for killing ” by mistake “ the Russian device.

“Putin, go home”

The days that followed saw a barrage of images of tanks, helicopters, trucks and light armored vehicles, Russian flags flying in the wind, rolling towards Nagorno-Karabakh, the Azerbaijani territory that President Aliyev had repeatedly seen during his visit. the military campaign, promised to reconquer. A deployment carried out despite the Azerbaijani Constitution, which prohibits the presence of foreign troops on national soil.

As Amin predicted, the Russian standard made people cringe. On November 17, an anti-Russian demonstration took place on the Allée des Martyrs, a highly symbolic place where the heroes who fell on the field of honor are buried. “Putin, go home”, “We don’t want Russians on our territory” and other slogans hostile to Russia were chanted by the crowd, punctuated by “Turkey, come help us! “ and the waving of Azerbaijani and Turkish flags. The police passively watched the parade. Proof that, if the demonstration was not encouraged by the authorities, it was at least authorized. The authoritarian regime of President Aliyev does not allow any dissent, especially on matters relating to Karabakh.

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