30 thoughts on “Thoughts on Armenian-azeri conflict”

  1. Some sort of a compromise, perhaps? If Armenia returned the surrounding territories, perhaps Nagorno-Karabakh itself could become an ‘autonomous republic’, a-la Nakhchivan?

    Another thing: while Turkey does provide political support, Azeri military seems to cooperate more with Israel than Turkey, which also seems a bit contradictory. A knot of contradictions, as they say.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nakhchivan is overwhelmingly Azeri. The better compromise is my proposal to consider Nagorno-Karabakh as being a part of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

      Rather interestingly, Nakhchivan issued a non-binding recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, unlike Azerbaijan. As excerpted from Wiki:

      “In the late 1990s the Supreme Assembly issued a non-binding declaration recognising the sovereignty of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and calling upon Azerbaijan to do so. While sympathetic to the TRNC, Azerbaijan has not followed suit because doing so could prompt the Republic of Cyprus to recognise the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Close relations between Nakhchivan and Turkey probably initiated this recognition.”


      1. “Nakhchivan is overwhelmingly Azeri.”

        I know. That’s my point.

        Nagorno-Karabakh is overwhelmingly Armenian. If Nakhchivan can exist as a separate autonomous region of Azerbaijan, then perhaps Nagorno-Karabakh could exist as a separate autonomous region of Armenia, if the surrounding Azeri areas currently occupied by Armenia are returned to Azerbaijan.

        Look at the map. Armenia currently controls a large chunk of Azeri territory outside Nagorno-Karabakh.


      2. Nakhchivan is geographically within the Azeri SSR boundary, with Armenia having no claim on it. Nagorno-Karabakh is within Azeri SSR territory, with no nation formally recognizing it as independent or a part of Armenia.

        Once again, Azerbaijan hasn’t been able to take it back, with the Armenians standing firm there. Hence, my proposal (of Nagorno-Karabakh being a part of Armenia and Azerbaijan) appearing to be the best possible compromise.


  2. Is Azerbaijan now really militarily stronger than Armenia as claimed in the beginning of the aforementioned RT piece? I don’t deny that it has gotten stronger.

    Armenia’s position is compromised by it’s non-recognition of NK’s independence or formally claiming NK as a part of Armenia.

    There’s a doable peace settlement on this matter. As articulated by yours truly (going back to over ten years ago to the present), it involves NK being simultaneously recognized as a part of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Both sides aren’t going to budge anytime soon. A possible way out is to give something to everyone.


    1. I don’t say that Azerbaijan is stronger militarily than Armenia, merely that it is getting relatively stronger due to its relative increasing size and wealth. That, of course, creates a danger that the Armenians might thinks it’s better to fight now rather than some years down the road when the odds will be less in their favour (sort of like German thinking in 1914).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. From the first paragraph:

        “Azerbaijan has never forgotten its 1990s humiliation at the hands of Armenia. Now stronger than its sworn enemy, and emboldened by Turkish support, Baku’s assertiveness is creating a headache for Moscow.”


        The Arabs unanimously once thought that time was on their side regarding Israel. Not sure the Armenians provoked this latest skirmish.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. it involves NK being simultaneously recognized as a part of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

        vs arbitarily

        That, of course, creates a danger that the Armenians might thinks it’s better to fight now rather than some years down the road when the odds will be less in their favour (sort of like German thinking in 1914).

        sort of? I read as vaguely similar. Thus I ask myself: how similiar could it be?

        I am not a historian, unfortunately; or an expert on state power, but.how and why did you use “German thinking”? “Thinking” in the German-speaking part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, or Vienna was equal to the “German thinking”? Or thus, in one part of the Post Bismarck ‘national interest’ alliances?


    2. ‘.how and why did you use “German thinking”?; asks moon.

      I have in mind the way some German generals considered that the balance of military power was shifting inexorably in Russia’s favour and that it was therefore better to have a war in 1914 than leave it to a later date.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Overall a good analysis of the sitrep, Professor.
    It will be horrible if Armenians and Azerbaijanis end up killing each other again. People should stop and think: Each one of those soldiers has a family that wants him to come home again.

    I obviously take umbrage at Putin’s remark, which you quote, namely “Russian president Vladimir Putin once complained that communist leader Vladimir Lenin had placed a ‘time bomb’ under Russia….”

    That was no time-bomb, and Putin’s remark was completely unfair.

    It ticks me off that Putin still blames Lenin; and that people in general try to put the blame on Lenin, for their own failures to live in peace together and try to work out their differences without bloodshed. Putin was absolutely in the wrong here, and I attempted to refute him in this post from July .


    1. Bravo Putin for offering a perspective long restricted in Soviet times. Lenin spoke of “Great Russian Chauvinism”, while being comparatively mum on the anti-Russian variant, thereby explaining his secret deal with Pilsudski during the Russian Civil War.


  4. Professor, may I ask you – what qualifies you as an expert in the matter of this particular… event? Are you a regional specialist with the focus on the so-called “Souther Caucasus”? Do you have some insider information? Did you ever travelled to the affected zomes of conflict as well as to both Armenia and Azerbaijan?

    Your recent activity on RT reminds me of this verse (hope, your Russian is still good enough to understand it):

    Гаврила был эксперт-ракетчик
    Потом Гаврила был лингвист,
    Но тут с рублем случилось что-то,
    И вот Гаврила – финансист!

    You also appear to be such “jack-of-all-trades” of the hype quick brigade. Note – I understand, why you resort to this kind of “Gavrilliad”. Nothing personal – just business! 🙂

    BTW, nowhere does in your presentation of the “background events” you dwell upon the nature of the nationalism, which naturally arises with the advent of the capitalism. What, saying this makes you feel incomfortable?

    P.S. For all those naive well-wishers, thinking that negotiations will help – they won’t. If the events in Balkans throughout XX c. taught us anything, is that young capitalist and fragile nationalist states will keep fighting to the bitter end. Only two solutions are known for the elimination of the nationalist irritant that sparks these conflicts – become non-capitalist, or become part of the empire.


    1. Did you ever travelled

      Yes, emotions emotions may sometimes surface grammatically. At least it feels. Even to those without a good grasp of their “emotions”???


      It feels it is un in this context. Don’t ask me for the rule though. 🙂


  5. I was waiting for this twitt:


    Comment section is a veritable portal to Jahannam, where (nominally) Sunni Turks support (nominally) Shia Azeris. This is too funny, a`ūdhu billāh!


  6. Professor, I just watched the first 5 minutes of the Lavelle video, I see that I am almost running late for work, so will catch the rest later tonight!

    Anyhow, good job so far, I can’t believe that I am defending Stalin here, given my utter dislike for that man, but I think Lavelle got it wrong when he said that Stalin’s “cartography” put everybody in everybody’s throat (which is true), but probably not by accident (which I don’t believe was Stalin’s actual intent).
    I think the intent, on the contrary, was to make everybody happy (in a way) and not feel occupied, in order to keep the level of ethnic conflict down below a simmering level. But you know what they say happens, when you try to make everybody happy!
    In the end, this was Lenin’s nationalities policy, which Stalin implemented and became an expert on, and I don’t believe even his intent was the Roman “divide and conquer”, but rather to try to eliminate (or at least mitigate) regional conflict, with everybody under the same Federal umbrella.

    Also I don’t think you are entirely correct, Professor, when you stated in the video that it was “arbitrary” who got to be a Republic, and who an Autonomy. There were actually certain rules, including number of people, languages and dialects used; and also geographical features such as rivers and mountains.
    There was a sort of “cookbook”, in other words, and the “cartographers” were supposed to follow a certain algorithm.


      1. Thanks. One of my mom’s sayings is: “When you try please everyone, you end up pleasing no one!” which relates to ethnic policies too, I reckon.
        Anyhow, the rest of the Lavelle discussion is pretty good, but also scary, if Erdoğan actually is the kind of guy who would just stumble cynically into a war without thinking of the consequences. It would be horrible if innocent people get killed or lose their homes; and one also has to remember that every soldier on either side has a mom who wants him to come home alive.


      2. When considering a move, Erdoğan looks like he might calculate the relationship of others. Consider the museum to mosque changeover he implemented. Perhaps he saw that the not so good relations between the Constantinople and ROC-MP churches is a basis to make that aforementioned move.

        The relatively new Armenian government has gone after some pro-Russian elements, along with some (stress some) Russians not viewing Armenians so positively. At some Unz threads, there has been expressed disdain which includes the image of Armenians being ingrates towards Russia and having clannish groups in Russia that have screwed over Russians.

        So there’s no misunderstanding, I’m hesitant about accepting such generalities (which to some degree might exist), instead preferring to judge on an individual basis.

        Don’t like it when people of my backgrounds are negatively and inaccurately portrayed.


  7. Re: video update.





    His [Nikifor Lapis-Trubetskoi’s] first visit was to the editorial office of the monthly sporting magazine “Gerasim and Mumu”. Comrade Napernikov had not yet arrived, so Nikifor moved on to the “Hygroscopic Herald”, the weekly mouthpiece by which pharmaceutical workers communicated with the outside world.

    “Good morning!” said Nikifor. “I’ve written a marvellous poem.”
    “What about?” asked the editor of the literary page. “On what subject? You know, Trubetskoi, our magazine…”

    To give a more subtle definition of the essence of the “Hygroscopic Herald”, the editor gestured with his fingers.

    Trubetskoi-Lapis looked at his white sailcloth trousers, leaned
    backward, and said in a singsong voice: “The Ballad of the Gangrene”.

    “That’s interesting,” said the hygroscopic individual. “It’s about
    time we introduced prophylaxis in popular form.”

    Lapis immediately began declaiming:

    “Gavrila took to bed with gangrene.
    The gangrene made Gavrila sick…”

    The poem went on in the same heroic iambic tetrameter to relate how, through ignorance, Gavrila failed to go to the chemist’s in time and died because he had not put iodine on a scratch.

    “You’re making progress, Trubetskoi,” said the editor in approval. “But we’d like something a bit longer. Do you understand?”

    He began moving his fingers, but nevertheless took the terrifying
    ballad, promising to pay on Tuesday.

    In the magazine “Telegraphist’s Week” Lapis was greeted hospitably.

    “A good thing you’ve come, Trubetskoi. We need some verse right away. But it must be about life, life, and life. No lyrical stuff. Do you hear,
    Trubetskoi? Something about the everyday life of post-office workers, but at the same time… Do you get me?”

    “Only yesterday I was thinking about the everyday life of post-office
    workers, and I concocted the following poem. It’s called ‘The Last Letter’. Here it is:

    “Gavrila had a job as postman.
    Gavrila took the letters round…”

    The story of Gavrila was contained in seventy-two lines. At the end of the poem, Gavrila, although wounded by a fascist bullet, managed to deliver the letter to the right address.

    “Where does it take place? ” they asked Lapis.

    It was a good question. There were no fascists in the USSR, and no
    Gavrilas or members of the post-office union abroad.

    “What’s wrong?” asked Lapis. “It takes place here, of course, and the fascist is disguised.”
    “You know, Trubetskoi, you’d do better to write about a radio station.”
    “Why don’t you want the postman?”
    “Let’s wait a bit. We’ll take it conditionally.

    The crestfallen Nikifor Trubetskoi-Lapis went back to “Gerasim and Mumu.” Napernikov was already at his desk. On the wall hung a greatly enlarged picture of Turgenev with a pince-nez, waders, and a double-barrel shotgun across his shoulders. Beside Napernikov stood Lapis’s rival, a poet from the suburbs.

    The same old story of Gavrila was begun again, but this time with a hunting twist to it. The work went under the title of “The Poacher’s

    Gavrila lay in wait for rabbits.
    Gavrila shot and winged a doe…

    “Very good!” said the kindly Napernikov. “You have surpassed Entich himself in this poem, Trubetskoi. Only there are one or two things to be changed. The first thing is to get rid of the word ‘prayer’.”

    “And ‘rabbit’,” said the rival.
    “Why ‘rabbit’?” asked Nikifor in surprise.
    “It’s the wrong season.”
    “You hear that, Trubetskoi! Change the word ‘rabbit’ as well.”

    After transformation the poem bore the title “The Poacher’s Lesson” and the rabbits were changed to snipe. It then turned out that snipe were not game birds in the summer, either. In its final form the poem read:

    Gavrila lay in wait for sparrows.
    Gavrila shot and winged a bird…

    After lunch in the canteen, Lapis set to work again. His white trousers flashed up and down the corridor. He entered various editorial offices and sold the many-faced Gavrila.

    In the “Co-operative Flute” Gavrila was submitted under the title of “The Eolean Recorder”.

    Gavrila worked behind the counter.
    Gavrila did a trade in flutes…

    The simpletons in the voluminous magazine “The Forest as It Is” bought a short poem by Lapis entitled “On the Verge”. It began like this:

    Gavrila passed through virgin forest,
    Hacking at the thick bamboo…

    The last Gavrila for that day worked in a bakery. He was found a place in the editorial office of “The Cake Worker”. The poem had the long and sad title of “Bread, Standards of Output, and One’s Sweetheart”. The poem was dedicated to a mysterious Hina Chlek. The beginning was as epic as before:

    Gavrila had a job as baker.
    Gavrila baked the cakes and bread . . .

    After a delicate argument, the dedication was deleted.

    The saddest thing of all was that no one gave Lapis any money. Some promised to pay him on Tuesday, others said Thursday, or Friday in two weeks’ time. He was forced to go and borrow money from the enemy camp – the place where he was never published.


    1. Lapis went down to the second floor and entered the office of the “Lathe”. To his misfortune he immediately bumped into Persidsky, the slogger.

      “Ah!” exclaimed Persidsky, “Lapsus!”
      “Listen,” said Nikifor Lapis, lowering his voice. “Let me have three roubles. “Gerasim and Mumu” owes me a pile of cash.”
      “I’ll give you half a rouble. Wait a moment. I’m just coming.”

      And Persidsky returned with a dozen employees of the “Lathe”. Everyone joined in the conversation.

      “Well, how have you been making out?” asked Persidsky.
      “I’ve written a marvellous poem!”
      “About Gavrila? Something peasanty? ‘Gavrila ploughed the fields early. Gavrila just adored his plough’?”
      “Not about Gavrila. That’s a pot-boiler,” said Lapis defensively. “I’ve written about the Caucasus.”
      “Have you ever been to the Caucasus?”
      “I’m going in two weeks.”
      “Aren’t you afraid, Lapis? There are jackals there.”
      “Takes more than that to frighten me. Anyway, the ones in the Caucasus aren’t poisonous.”

      They all pricked up their ears at this reply.

      “Tell me, Lapis,” said Persidsky, “what do you think jackals are?”
      “I know what they are. Leave me alone.”
      “All right, tell us then if you know.”
      Well, they’re sort of … like … snakes.

      “Yes, of course, right as usual. You think a wild-goat’s saddle is served at table together with the spurs.”
      “I never said that,” cried Trubetskoi…
      “You didn’t say it, you wrote it. Napernikov told me you tried to palm off some doggerel on “Gerasim and Mumu”, supposed to be about the everyday life of hunters. Honestly, Lapis, why do you write about things you’ve never seen and haven’t the first idea about? Why is the peignoir in your poem ‘Canton’ an evening dress? Why?”
      “You philistine!” said Lapis boastfully.
      “Why is it that in your poem ‘The Budyonny Stakes’ the jockey tightens the hame strap and then gets into the coach box? Have you ever seen a hame strap?”
      “What’s it like?”
      “Leave me alone. You’re nuts!” ,
      “Have you ever seen a coach box or been to the races?”
      “You don’t have to go everywhere!” cried Lapis. “Pushkin wrote poems about Turkey without ever having been there.”
      “Oh, yes. Erzerum is in Tula province, of course.”

      Lapis did not appreciate the sarcasm. He continued heatedly. “Pushkin wrote from material he read. He read the history of the Pugachov revolt and then wrote about it. It was Entich who told me about the races.”

      After this masterly defence, Persidsky dragged the resisting Lapis into the next room. The onlookers followed. On the wall hung a large newspaper clipping edged in black like an obituary notice.

      “Did you write this piece for the “Captain’s Bridge”?”
      “Yes, I did.”
      “I believe it was your first attempt at prose. Congratulations! ‘The waves rolled across the pier and fell headlong below like a jack.’ A lot of help to the “Captain’s Bridge” you are!’ The Bridge won’t forget you for some time!
      “What’s the matter?”
      “The matter is… do you know what a jack is?”
      “Of course I know. Leave me alone.”
      “How do you envisage a jack? Describe it in your own words.”
      “It… sort of… falls.”
      “A jack falls. Note that, everyone. A jack falls headlong. Just a moment, Lapis, I’ll bring you half a rouble. Don’t let him go.”

      But this time, too, there was no half-rouble forthcoming. Persidsky brought back the twenty-first volume of the Brockhaus encyclopaedia.

      “Listen! ‘Jack: a machine for lifting heavy weights. A simple jack used for lifting carriages, etc., consists of a mobile toothed bar gripped by a rod which is turned by means of a lever’… And here… ‘In 1879 John Dixon set up the obelisk known as Cleopatra’s Needle by means of four workers operating four hydraulic jacks.’ And this instrument, in your opinion, can fall headlong? So Brockhaus has deceived humanity for fifty years? Why do you write such rubbish instead of learning? Answer!

      “I need the money.”
      “But you never have any. You’re always trying to cadge half-roubles.”
      – “The Twelve Chairs”, Ch. 29, by I. Ilf and E.Petrov


  8. Meanwhile, according to this piece in VZGLIAD, the Azeri blitzkrieg has failed, or at least stalled.
    Various theories are proposed for Azeri failure, including the fact that they did not remember what they learned in Soviet military academies about driving their tanks over mine fields, etc.

    Also, Russian diplomacy is very active. Russian press reporting that Erdogan was in extremely bellicose mood early this morning; but by evening, after speaking with Lavrov, had moderated his language.
    (Maybe he had a glass of wine and cooled down.)

    Also, nobody is saying this out loud, but Armenian army has tacit support of Russia, who provides intel and tactical advice. Highly dubious Russia is going to allow Armenia to lose this war. If Turks had their way, they probably would not be satisfied until every last Armenian on the planet has been exterminated.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. In skimming Russian press today, trying to form a tally of whose side people are on: Israel supports Azerbaijan. Now Ukraine openly supports Azerbaijan. Turkey is sending Islamists and folks like ISIS to fight on the side of Azerbaijan. Can’t find anybody who openly supports Armenia. (Poor Armenia!)

    Russia playing sort of a double game here, they have not openly come out for Armenia, and are desperately trying to preserve good relations with Azerbaijan, with whom Russia enjoys myriad ties. But I think it goes without saying they cannot let Armenia lose. Especially since goal of Turkey is to push Russia out of the Caucasus altogether.

    Very tricky business.

    Liked by 3 people

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