Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 10
By Fikret Dolukhanov - Trend:
Right after Azerbaijan announced to hold early presidential election, some Armenian experts rushed to making unreal guesses about the reasons for the decision.
Many versions were voiced: from possible political reasons to imaginary economic issues.
The economic theory was the most popular. According to the latter, Azerbaijan decided to change the election date because of the “economic issues”. It is hard to understand, what kind of problems the so-called experts are talking about, considering positive 2018 economic forecast in Azerbaijan and the fact that country is actively carrying out and funding numerous internal and external projects, plus successful diversification of the economy is attracting more and more foreign investors.
It is understandable that unable to boast with real advances of its own, Armenian government decided to please its local audience at least with something. In my opinion, it didn't really work.
Time of the state monopoly in information sphere has long passed, and nowadays it is impossible to hide the truth. Before long, Armenian media realized rashness of the theories put by the local experts.
"There are no economic problems in Azerbaijan, and it doesn't matter if we acknowledge that fact or not. Moreover, the country, unfortunately, has serious perspectives for economic growth. Countries, which we long considered our faithful allies are openly developing relations with Azerbaijan. It is not politics, it is business," one Armenian news agency wrote.
"Such projects as North-South transport corridor connecting Russia with Iran and South-West connecting Persian Gulf with Black Sea and such European countries as Poland, Ukraine and Georgia are implemented with participation of Azerbaijan," it said.
Really, what problems can one talk about if Azerbaijan is consistently accomplishes all the initiated projects and gets both economic and politic profits?
In contrast, Armenian government has its hands full.
First and foremost - economic problems, caused by the inability and unwillingness of the local authorities to correct the internal situation, and a blockade imposed by Azerbaijan because of the Armenian aggression.
Even though Armenian government is trying to put on a good face, people have become sick and tired of the never-ending circus of Armenian politics.
"The leaking of funds abroad dramatically increased in 2017, according to Zhoghovurd [a local newspaper]. The figure reached $1.25 billion last year. Armenia lost a total of $8.65 billion during Serzh Sargsyan's administration," another Armenian resource wrote in an article titled "Paradox of Armenian budget".
The title alone is enough to understand that local audience is too savvy to believe in any kind of official data without fact-checking, because the latest announcement showed that even the budget increase doesn't necessarily lead to real social development. It was quite the opposite: prospects of economy advance look quite gloomy because of the degradation of investing climate.
"American Embassy in Armenia issued a report on investment environment of our country in 2017. The report accuses the Armenian authorities of promoting monopolization of economy. Core segments of economy are controlled by interrelated businesses, that use government patronage to get better positions on the market," local media outlets reported, commenting on the worsening of the country's economy.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in his latest speech also mentioned the consequences of Armenia's aggressive stance.
"Armenia has become a political, economic, energy and transportation dead-end", said Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, addressing the 6th congress of the New Azerbaijan Party Feb. 8.
"We could isolate them from all international projects, all energy and transport lines bypass them, and we did it," the head of state said. ""The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi- Erzurum, the Southern Gas Corridor projects and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars bypassed them."
President Aliyev also emphasized that no one now invests in Armenia.
"First of all, because the criminal, corrupt and bloodthirsty regime that seized the power in Armenia does not allow investing, all previously invested and donated money has been stolen by the regime. On the other hand, the market restrictions and decreasing market does not allow a serious investor to come there and export opportunities are also very limited," he stressed.
In his speech President of Azerbaijan pointed out the main reason of social end economic problems in Armenia - its isolation, blockade from all regional and international integrative projects. Aggression and territorial claims crossed Armenia out of all important processes happening round it.
Until recently Armenia sincerely hoped for the opening of transportation corridors to Russia through Georgia. However, considering the latest developments, "great expectations" of Armenian political establishment are way too far from being fulfilled.
"As expected, situation around Russian-Georgian transportation corridors is getting more complicated. According to specialist in Georgian studies Alik Eroyants, the agreement signed in 2011 is nowhere close to implementation because of the numerous contradictions concerning status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia" Armenian media outlets reported.
However, Abkhazian and South Ossetian issues are not the sole reason for the transportation stalemate. Most of the Georgian and International analysts agree that Georgia would never take a step countering the interests of Azerbaijan. The latter is an obvious regional leader supporting and implementing all integrative processes.
That said, apart from Armenian leaders being unable to improve the internal situation, the occupation of Azerbaijani territories turned Armenia into dead-end both for its population and foreign investors.
The other crucial problem of Armenia is worsening of relations with Russia. Armenian authorities tried to keep a foot in both worlds, mimicking Azerbaijan's foreign policy. But lack of required political experience and foresight resulted in Armenia seeing the EU Association Agreement being too hard to handle.
Date change for presidential election in Azerbaijan can lead to unexpected twists on the road to resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
"Ilham Aliyev has very amiable relationships with Vladimir Putin. It is ironic, considering Russia and Azerbaijan being competitors in the oil and gas market. For those doubting I'd recommend recalling that Azerbaijan has never been criticized on Russian TV. The country has never been offended, whereas Armenia is being attacked by Russian media more and more," one Armenian resource reported.
Comparing the election dates in Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, the report further says that Russian support to Armenia may cease. In such case, the status-quo in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will not last any longer, sinking the holed boat of Armenian government.
All the aforementioned shed light on the reasons of panic in Armenia caused by Ilham Aliyev's speech. Because Azerbaijani president not only talked about disastrous situation in Armenia, but also made it clear that Azerbaijan has never forgotten about its historic lands, on which Armenian government is rattling a saber against neighbors losing a slightest sense of reality.
"Our historical lands are the Irevan Khanate, Zangazur, and Goycha. Younger generation and the whole world should know this. I am glad that today in connection with this issue, solid scientific works are made, films are shot and exhibitions are organized," president of Azerbaijan said.
"Irevan is our historical land, and we, Azerbaijanis, should return to these historic lands. This is our political and strategic goal, and we must gradually approach it," the president said.
Leaders of Armenia better think about Ilham Aliyev's speech and take some magic pills during the next bout of militaristic fever, because while constantly advancing claims on lands of neighbors, they seem to forget that it will be impossible to retain the lands they plunder parasitizing on the patriotism and innocence of ordinary Armenians if Azerbaijan's patience runs out.