BAKU, Azerbaijan, Oct. 2
An extensive article on the territories of Azerbaijan liberated from occupation has been published on the website of the Ukrainian service "Radio Liberty", Trend reports.
The article by the famous Ukrainian writer, journalist and blogger Stanislav Aseev "Karabakh is a story that will not be in Donbass" presents his impressions of Baku, Jabrail, Aghdam, Shusha and Fuzuli.
Trend presents this article:
"Qarabağ Azərbaycandır!" (Karabakh is Azerbaijan)
A year ago, in the autumn of 2020, Azerbaijan amazed the world with a quick liberation of its territories that had been under occupation for more than thirty years. How this became possible is actually an important question for the Ukrainian experience in Donbass. With a deeper immersion in the topic of the war in Karabakh, it becomes clear that this conflict is much more complicated than the Ukrainian one. The way Azerbaijan quickly integrates the liberated from occupation Karabakh is an excellent example for Ukraine. We are flying to Baku with a small Ukrainian delegation of journalists in connection with the anniversary of the war. And those of us who hope to see the former Azerbaijan SSR in the capital of Azerbaijan are deeply mistaken, because the Soviet era realities are disappearing more and more right before your eyes. The answer to the main question for Azerbaijanis is Karabakh. Which, by the way, is literally everywhere now: screens in Baku show the inscription "Qarabağ Azərbaycandır!" "Karabakh is Azerbaijan," and this is the first thing you see at the airport. The same phrase is shouted by children, with national flags in their hands, they pose against the background of burnt-out Armenian equipment, silently stand in the Martyrs' Alley - those who died for the independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
Portrait of modern Baku
The city center is lined with marble, the embankment is more reminiscent of one of the Emirates, and rubbish can only be seen in the trash can. New roads have been laid in the city, which are used not by Soviet Volga and Zhiguli cars, but by various foreign cars; instead of Soviet buildings, there are modern buildings. When old buildings are demolished, residents are provided with temporary housing, and after a new house is built, each resident receives a new apartment at the expense of the state.
The economic development of Azerbaijan over the past ten years has allowed it to form from a military point of view, re-equip the army and be ready for a war for Karabakh.
Karabakh is a symbol of unity
But no less important was another factor - the moral and psychological aspects. After the second Karabakh war, Azerbaijan regained control over the destroyed lands. Not a single whole house remained in Agdam, Jabrayil and other previously occupied cities. This is a desert and mountains, where there is no infrastructure left. Even there is almost no vegetation here: vineyards, flowering orchards were destroyed, only kilometers of mined areas remained.
Those who thought that after thirty years of occupation Karabakh would be forgotten in the national consciousness of Azerbaijanis and would be abandoned, were mistaken. The Azerbaijanis never forgot Karabakh for a moment. It was freed from the occupation by the younger generation, who grew up over these years, and has now become a symbol of unity.
For those who are in Azerbaijan for the first time, Karabakh begins with the Martyrs' Alley: there are two of them in Baku. Now these Alleys are not only a story about the war itself, but also a symbol of victory. Portraits of martyred servicemen are placed not only on tombstones in the Alley, but also on billboards and bus stops throughout Azerbaijan. These heroes are saints, the memory of them is remembered with love and respect by all of the population - from children to adults.
War Trophy Park
Another example of the adaptation of the Victory in the Second Karabakh War to national life is the Trophy Park, located in one of the central parts of the city - next to skyscrapers, not far from the coast. Instead of building another business center or hotel here, a Trophy Park was built by order of President Ilham Aliyev. Destroyed Armenian equipment, including the remains of Iskander missiles fired by Armenia and discovered near Shusha, are on display in the park.
Attention - mines!
Most of Karabakh is covered with mines that do not match the maps provided by Armenia. Therefore, the Azerbaijani side does not know the exact number of mines here and how long it will take to clear them. Representatives of the agency are demonstrating Armenian mines and ammunition, which have already been defused this year. However, despite ongoing demining efforts and the lack of settlements in the liberated territories, in the past year alone, about 50 people have died in mine explosions.
Infrastructure wonder. Fuzuli airport
The construction of the airport in Fuzuli in eight months can be considered a great achievement of Azerbaijan in restoring the infrastructure of Karabakh. With new postmodern style and new runway road, the airport will be able to receive Boeing 747 class aircrafts weighing up to 400 tons.
Victory Road. Shusha
Another significant event is the construction of the Victory Road leading Azerbaijani servicemen to Shusha. The fact is that this is a brand new 55 km road, built from scratch in extremely difficult mountainous terrain and with a difference in elevation of several kilometers.
Aghdam. Hiroshima of Caucasus
Aghdam is a city worthy of a separate report. It is called the "Hiroshima of the Caucasus" because the city was completely destroyed over the period of occupation. Once upon a time, there were 17 industrial enterprises, its own drama theater and well-developed infrastructure. Thirty years later, only a destroyed mosque remained from the city. But this happened not because of the religious tolerance of the Armenians. On the contrary, the presidential representative in the liberated territories showed us a photo of a mosque turned into a barn for keeping pigs and cows during the Armenian occupation. Armenians wrote obscene words on the walls of the mosque, and now Azerbaijanis are painting the walls white. The Armenians destroyed the Arabic inscriptions with bullets. Therefore, the mosque was not destroyed only because of its tactical importance - from its minarets a magnificent view of the whole of Aghdam opens up.
But Azerbaijan has an ambitious plan to rebuild Aghdam. The presidential representative said that the foundation of the new city was laid by President Ilham Aliyev himself.
In particular, this plan provides for the construction of a city for a population of one hundred thousand people, despite the fact that 37 thousand people lived here at its prime time. A modern university building for 10 thousand students, an industrial park, several ring roads and a large-scale green belt around it should be built in Aghdam. The project cost is $ 10 billion. But the biggest problem is not money, but mines.
Another moment caught my attention - in the completely destroyed Aghdam, against the background of the ruins, we can say that pomegranate trees were blooming at every step. This is a national symbol for Azerbaijanis, and years later, all of Karabakh will also flourish.