Ilham Aliyev adresses Russians in Sputnik interview
Hostilities have been going on in Nagorno-Karabakh since late September. Though a ceasefire deal was reached in Moscow between the conflicting parties, it's not observed. Sputnik Head Dmitry Kiselev held parallel interviews with the Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders, where they were asked the same questions and given equal time.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev told Dmitry Kiselev about his assessment of the current situation in the region, as well as about the losses of the parties to the conflict and whether it is true that Syrian and Libyan mercenaries are fighting for Azerbaijan.
He also explained Baku’s position on the basic principles of the resolution, as well as where reconciliation should start. Aliyev shared Azerbaijan’s vision of a compromise on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and spoke about the red lines, which the country would never cross. The Azerbaijani President also shared his opinion on whether Azerbaijanis and Armenians can coexist peacefully, Sputnik reports.
In addition, he also adressed Russian audience:
"I’d like to use this opportunity to address the multi-million Russian audience. I wish there were more understanding of Azerbaijan’s position, because sometimes there are different opinions on the conflict, with its history and today’s situation. Based on the facts, I want to bring the audience’s attention to what actually happened and is happening.
In the early 19th century, Karabakh and Shusha Khan Ibrahim Khalil signed an agreement with Tsarist Russia represented by General Tsitsianov on the Karabakh Khanate’s entry into Russia. This agreement is called the Kurekchay Treaty; it can be found on the Internet, everyone can read it.
This agreement doesn’t say a word about the Karabakh Khanate’s Armenian population. The Armenian population started migrating en masse to this region during the two Russian-Persian wars of 1813 and 1828. Since then, Armenians started migrating en masse to the Karabakh region from the territory of modern Iran and partly Eastern Anatolia. This is about who this land belongs to historically.
After the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1918, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and the Armenian independent state were established. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was created within all these territories; moreover, the day after the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic's establishment had been announced, it was decided to transfer the city of Yerevan to Armenia as the capital. This is also a historical fact.
In 1921, the Caucasian Bureau decided to leave Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan, and not transfer it, as some pseudo-historians interpret it. This is the history of this region. I think everyone knows what happened at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The collapse of the Soviet Union indeed started with separatism in Nagorno-Karabakh. That was the trigger. People often forget about those rallies, who organised all this, who was behind it. I often say that Pashinyan is a product of [George] Soros, and I believe everyone would agree with that.
Soros is not just an individual, he is a concept. I in no way rule out that such instruments were used back then to disintegrate the great nation. Just explode it from the inside, sow discord, play off the people, and disintegrate the country. And, by the way, it has happened. Therefore, I’d just like to draw the Russian public’s attention to this historic evidence and say that Azerbaijan and Russia are tied with centuries-long friendship, cooperation and mutual understanding.
I am sure that no power can influence that, even though we see attempts, made from different directions, to sow discord and mistrust. However, thanks to the consecutive policies of the Russian and the Azerbaijani leadership we do not regress, we make progress.
Russia and Azerbaijan refer to each other as strategic partners. The relationship between our countries can be an example to any neighbours. And I am sure that once the military phase of the conflict ends and we move to a political settlement — which we are ready to do as soon as tomorrow as long as Armenia gives up on trying to recover what is lost and what it has no claim to — I am sure that Russia will continue to play the leading role in stabilizing our region.
So, I would like to use this opportunity to extend my best wishes to all Russians.
Last year, one million Russians visited Azerbaijan. I hope this dynamic will be restored after the pandemic. We always welcome our guests from Russia. And they know that they feel at home when they come to Azerbaijan."