But in this material we are not going to comment on the Ukrainian events. We are more interested in the likelihood of a repetition of the “Ukrainian syndrome” in other post-Soviet countries, and first of all in the Azerbaijan Republic. Because, with a careful analysis, we can identify too many parallels between these two states as in terms of stories their occurrence, and in terms of the presence of a sufficient number of internal and external political forces that can lead to the action of destructive processes.
The first. It is known that both Ukraine and the Azerbaijan Republic emerged after the October 1917 coup in Russia. At the same time, it is also known that, in contrast to the AR, in previous periods of history, on the territory of modern Ukraine, several attempts were made to create an independent state in these West Slavic lands. But each time these attempts were doomed to defeat, as they were attacked and enslaved by neighboring Western states. As a result, only thanks to the concessions of some of the historical Russian lands by the Bolsheviks, the last of which was the Crimea, Ukraine was finally able to become a full-fledged state, which, after the collapse of the USSR, declared its independence.
Unlike Ukraine, a state entity called “Azerbaijan” has never existed before. For the first time, the creation of a state under this name was announced in 1918 year. But this state entity, which was called the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, was not recognized by the world community for the 23 month of its miserable existence. And only after the proclamation of Soviet power, the Azerbaijani SSR acquired the features of a more or less full-fledged state, which only in 1935, with the adoption of the Constitution, took place as a “sovereign union republic within the USSR”, i.e. as a separate state. After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the Republic of Azerbaijan declared its independence.
In this sense, both Ukraine and the Republic of Azerbaijan are in fact artificial projects of certain behind-the-scenes world forces. And both of them, in the event of a certain length of time, completely exhausted their resources for independent existence, and, judging by the events in Ukraine, and in some Arab countries, they should disappear from the world map (at least in their current form).
The second. The presence of a strong spectrum of nationalist forces. If in Ukraine these forces are mainly concentrated in the western part of the country, in the Republic of Azerbaijan they are Pan-Turkists who are ardent opponents of the existing Kurdish elite ruling elite, and advocate the formation of a single Turkic state from Azerbaijan and Turkey to Uiguristan - the Turkic region of China. If in Ukraine these nationalist forces are confronted mainly by the Russian-speaking south-eastern regions of the country, in the Republic of Azerbaijan the main force capable of opposing them is the indigenous non-Turkic peoples who, against their will and desire, were part of this state and throughout this period lead fierce struggle for the restoration of its statehood.
Here we can distinguish one distinctive feature between the realities of Ukraine and the Azerbaijan Republic: it is known that the western nationalists of Ukraine do not want to dismember Ukraine at all, but by all means try to take the country under their complete control. At the same time, the south-eastern regions of Ukraine are also not particularly eager to dismember the country and are trying in every way to preserve its integrity.
In contrast, in the AR, indigenous peoples, with the exception of a small part of them, mostly befuddled by government propaganda, do not see any prospects for living together in a single state with a Turkic ethnic group and therefore do not advocate maintaining its integrity. And this in turn foreshadows a more destructive struggle between the Turkic chauvinistic forces, on the other hand, and the indigenous peoples of the country, on the other.
In this regard, it is also important that the struggle of the indigenous peoples of Azerbaijan has lately been increasingly understood and approved in the West, including in Europe. Evidence of this is: 1) Last year's discussions in the European Parliament with the participation of deputies of this structure and the UNPO (Organization of unrepresented peoples), and representatives of the Federer-Lezgin National-Cultural Autonomy in Russia; 2) A conference in the same European Parliament, organized by a fairly large group of European deputies, the same UNPO and the Talysh National Movement, held on 19 in February of this year. It is noteworthy that representatives of the entire spectrum of existing Talysh organizations and associations in the territory of Azerbaijan, Europe and the Russian Federation participated in it. At the conference, moreover, in the presence of a rather large delegation from Baku, the Talysh National Movement, on behalf of the entire Talysh people, stated that "the declaration of independence of Talyshistan is the main goal of our struggle." Plus, the same European organizations are planning to hold another similar conference with the participation of representatives of indigenous peoples and official representatives of the authorities of the Republic of Azerbaijan in May this year.
All this suggests that the indigenous peoples of Azerbaijan, unlike the fascist nationalists in Ukraine, are gradually recognized by the international community as a significant factor in the upcoming fateful processes in Azerbaijan, and by the subjects of regional geopolitics leading to a completely peaceful democratic struggle for the restoration of their rights.
Third. For about a hundred years of existence of this statehood, the authorities of the Azerbaijan Republic (ADR and AzSSR including) did not succeed (and didn’t try very hard!) To form a single civil nation in the country from the so-called “titular ethnos”. Unlike Ukraine, where the “fault line” appears more or less clearly, dividing the country into West and East (Southeast), in Azerbaijan there are historically established separate regions, the relations between which, to put it mildly, are characterized by deep contradictions, if not open enmity. Each of these regions is leading a fierce power struggle in the country, and hates its neighbor.
During the years of independence, these regions were joined by Turkic-speaking immigrants from Armenia and Georgia, who, in a historically short time, created their own clans in the country, which now actually hold power in the country, and many key positions in the economy. This further aggravates the relationship between the “Azerbaijanis” themselves, who are actually out of work, and alien “Eraz” and “graces”.
Plus to this, the majority of Azerbaijanis themselves perceive the Aliyev family as an “occupier”, who seized power in the country by force. This is not only talked about, but recently they are often written in various media. For comparison, we say that Yanukovych is “his” for the entire population of the country, i.e. Ukrainian, that says a lot.
Fourth. Political regimes both in Ukraine and in the Azerbaijan Republic are deeply “oligarchic”, which predetermines the presence in the country of a deep abyss between the “upper” and “lower”, between the rich and the poor. The population of both countries for the most part is doomed to a beggarly existence, and as a result of this, literally hates power in the country. If one is attentive, one can observe how a rather sluggish ferment of protest moods of the population is going on in Azerbaijan today. Practically every day, spontaneous protests of various sections of the population arise here and there in particular localities, especially in the capital Baku. It is also important that, unlike in previous times, now the authorities are no longer able to tame the anger of the citizens of the country with the help of force, and often have to go to meet them and fulfill their demands. That is, gradually, a revolutionary situation ripens in the country, which sooner or later will lead to an explosion on a national scale.
It should be noted that some observers express rather timid confidence that in the presence of such protest processes, the Baku authorities will feel safe for a long time. But, in our opinion, it is also necessary to take into account the presence of an “external factor,” that is, those destructive processes that embrace entire regions of the modern world, primarily the Greater Middle East, and which have long been “knocking on the doors of Azerbaijan.”
The fifth. It is necessary to state the presence of one, very important difference of the situation in Azerbaijan from the situation in Ukraine. This is the functioning of a powerful religious factor in the country, which is gaining momentum every day and is already moving to open threats against the authorities. At the same time, we take into account the fact that there is a “religious factor” in Ukraine, which manifests itself in the opposition of Catholics and Orthodox. But, as the course of the Ukrainian events shows, this factor is not there on the surface and does not play a decisive role in the fate of Ukraine.
Azerbaijan is a traditional Shiite country where Shiite Muslims constitute the absolute majority of the population. But during the entire period of independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Pan-Turkists openly urge their fellow tribesmen to go to the Sunni Hanafi madhhab, which is traditional for the Anatolian Turks. As a result of this, today a certain part of the Azeri-Turks already identify themselves as Sunnis. Moreover, a broad, well-coordinated network of so-called “Nurists” functions at all levels in Azerbaijan. At the same time, their small part belongs to the so-called “Khalis”, i.e. followers of Nursi, Badi-Zaman, and most of them belong to the “Jamaat”, i.e. led by F. Gulen organization "Hizmet", which has numerous schools (darskhana) almost throughout the country. In addition, the Gülenovs have a strong position in the economy, and are widely represented in the state’s power structures (recently, various Baku media have regularly reported on the links of high-ranking officials of Azerbaijan with Gülen).
Besides all this, recently Salafism has become widespread in Azerbaijan. According to the portal haqqin.az, currently the number of Salafis in Azerbaijan is 50 thousand. Note that the same site believes that such a number of Salafis cannot constitute a threat to Azerbaijan. But such an assessment is not evidence of its correctness, but rather of ignorance of the laws of the revolution. To be more objective, such a number of Salafis is a rather formidable force capable of "declaring jihad to Azerbaijan."
It should be noted here that many of these Salafis have already managed to go through "fire and water", i.e. good training in battles in Afghanistan, Syria and other countries. According to the same Baku media, so far only 100 citizens of AR have been killed only in Syria. And how many of them there are fighting at all, no one can say.
If we take into account the experience of the same Ukraine, where, according to various media, before the recent events, militants who fought in Syria returned around 400 in an organized way, then the likelihood of hundreds, and maybe thousands of such Islamists at the right time in Azerbaijan is quite high.
In addition to the Salafists, against the background of the confrontation in “fraternal” Turkey between Prime Minister R. Erdogan and F. Gulen, the activation of Nurists in Azerbaijan cannot be ruled out.
As for the Shiite majority, it has more reasons for dissatisfaction with the actions of the authorities than other confessional groups: the authorities gave the Nurists complete freedom of action, and until recently they did not fight any Salafists, and sent all their power to the struggle only against the Shiites. In a certain course of events, the Shiites will be able to become a powerful force, which in many ways will determine the fate of the state.
The sixth. The legitimacy of power. Despite the fact that the policy of Yanukovych in its anti-national character is not much different from the policy of Ilham Aliyev, the Ukrainian leader is still the legitimately elected president of Ukraine. His election to the presidency, as acknowledged by almost all international organizations and leading states, took place on the basis of the free and democratic will of the citizens of Ukraine. In contrast, the rise to power of Ilham Aliyev, as acknowledged by many international organizations, occurred by forceful seizure and inherited from his father. As for the last presidential elections of the AR in October last year, they were recognized by the major European organizations and the US authorities to be "undemocratic" and past "with numerous violations", not to mention that I. Aliyev went for his third term in defiance of all democratic principles adopted in the civilized world.
Under such conditions, one cannot expect that if “his Maidan” is formed in Baku, one of the external forces will dare to emphasize “legitimate authority”, which, according to the law of the state, has all rights to use force “to restore constitutional order in the country” . This suggests that in Azerbaijan the likely outcome of the destructive processes will be even more transient, i.e. I. Aliyev, left without international support, will have to leave his post even faster.
Thus, despite all the attempts of Azerbaijani political scientists to convince their readers that the alleged Ukrainian events can not be repeated in Azerbaijan, citing their opinion while “having their own characteristics in each country”, a closer analysis proves that it is “these particularities” make the Republic of Azerbaijan more vulnerable to the upcoming geopolitical storm, and the emergence of its “Maidan” in the center of Baku is even more likely.