Russia is responding to TANAP with Armenia's hands
The death of an Azerbaijani soldier in the Nakhchivan direction is part of the "aggravation game" designed to disrupt Azerbaijani oil and gas projects in the region.
The expression "cease-fire regime", probably, can still deceive the external observers, some of whom are sure that peace reigns along the line where Azerbaijani and Armenian soldiers see each other with the naked eye, and only the border trade or checkpoints for civilians wishing to take a walk "to the other side" is left to organize. But in reality this is still the front line. They fire almost all the time. And they kill too.
And now a tragic news is being discussed in Azerbaijan: a soldier of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan Adil Ali oglu Tatarov was killed on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic during prevention of the next provocation on the contact line of troops. The Defense Ministry did not exclude that the newly appointed Defense and Foreign Ministers of Armenia, who visited the line of confrontation of troops in this direction, are directly behind the committed provocation. And warned: the heroic defenders of Nakhchivan will soon take revenge for the martyr.
Here it is necessary to recall the background of events. The other day Nakhchivan AR was visited by the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. Among other things, the head of state and Supreme Commander-in-Chief said that the Azerbaijani army in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is equipped with modern weapons to prevent provocation of the enemy and hold counter-offensive. "We pay great attention to ensuring the security of Nakhchivan (bordering on Armenia), strengthening the military potential of the autonomous republic," the Azerbaijani leader said. According to him, the army of Nakhchivan, as a part of the Azerbaijani army, is equipped with the modern weapons and hardware. "You live here face to face with the enemy. Of course, first of all, for the successful development of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, security measures should be at the forefront and be a priority issue. We perceive it as such. In recent years, we have done a lot to strengthen the Azerbaijani army, modern military hardware is also being sent to Nakhchivan, taking into account the location of the republic and its landscape. Today, the army in Nakhchivan has the capacity to prevent any provocation of the enemy and counter-offensive. There are weapons and long-range missiles in Nakhchivan that can destroy any military target of the enemy. Security issues have been completely resolved, "Aliyev said.
Here, perhaps, it is necessary to remind: by that moment Armenians have already been rattling with tongues and weapons. Nikol Pashinyan's trip to Karabakh, a whole series of provocative statements, the appointment of David Tonoyan, the one who voiced threats to Azerbaijan in the spring of 2015, as the Minister of Defense - all this, according to Yerevan, was to make Baku incredibly "compliant" during negotiations next morning.
But now it turned out that neither geography nor the alignment of forces disappeared anywhere. And Azerbaijan can still "get" from Nakhchivan any goal in Armenia with the help of the weapons that are already there, without waiting for either the Polonez, the Olkha, or anything of the sort.
In response, Armenian Minister of Defense David Tonoyan and Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan hastily left to the Nakhchivan border. And soon an Azerbaijani soldier was killed here. Moreover, unlike the practice of the past, Artsrun Hovhannisyan, a spokesman for the Armenian Defense Ministry, made a special statement on this issue. It turns out that, according to his version, "the Azerbaijani Armed Forces launched active engineering work to improve their positions in some areas of the border. The Armenian Armed Forces warned that the activation of engineering work, as well as provocative actions, cause a shootout and, as a result, it led to casualties." The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan denied the very fact of provocative "engineering activity".
But, according to the logic of Artsrun Hovhannisyan and those who are behind him, or rather, over him, the reason for the "fire to defeat" from the Armenian side can be anything, from really serious engineering work, which Azerbaijan has every right to carry out in its territory , up to painting the walls of the barracks. And Yerevan's "First Information", which after Yerevan's "undermaidan" tries itself as a pro-government resource, gives the floor to Levon Shirinyan, who declares: "I consider it a very important visit. This is our homeland, and we need demanding ministers of a demanding state. They did not talk about eating ice cream, but about defense, and I hope about the return of Nakhichevan. This is an inseparable part of our state, enshrined in international law. "
Here, of course, it's time to ask: what kind of "international law" is Mr. Shirinyan speaking of if Azerbaijan is recognized in its "post-Soviet" borders, that is, together with Karabakh and Nakhchivan? Moreover, the status of Nakhchivan is additionally enshrined in the Kars Treaty, which provides for the military intervention by Turkey, in case of a threat? It is possible, of course, that in Armenia they are still betting on the Treaty of Sevres, but it is, as it were more delicately expressed, already sent "to the silence of the libraries."
But judging by everything, Armenia decided not to dwell on this. And they staged such a demonstration of permissiveness, more precisely, a dangerous provocation with far-reaching goals.
Provocation on the border - what's behind the scenes?
It is worth recalling that in the Nakhchivan direction the line of contact coincides with the internationally recognized border of Armenia. And here, unlike Karabakh, Yerevan can count on CSTO guarantees. Moreover, this organization is headed by none other than Yuri Khachaturov, who recently visited Yerevan and held talks with Nikol Pashinyan. Nikol Vovaevich assured the high guest of Armenia's loyalty to the CSTO commitments, but assurances received in response can only be guessed. But, judging by the dangerous games Yerevan arranged on the Nakhchivan direction, Mr. Khachaturov managed to please Pashinyan.
Moreover, material gift followed from the Russian Federation. As the "Zinuzh" TV program ("Armed Forces") of the First State TV Channel of Armenia happily reported, its armed forces will receive Russian Tor air defense systems in the coming months. "In a few months, the Russian air defense missile systems 'Tor' will occupy a special place among air defense systems," said the presenter of the program. Meanwhile, Arthur Poghosyan, Deputy Chief of the Air Defense Forces of the Republic, already commented on their combat capabilities: "The Tor system is a state-of-the-art air defense missile system that can, in an automatic mode, even without the participation of personnel, carry out air attacks of any spectrum, including with high-precision missiles. "
Another important thing is that Armenia received a new "weapon gift" from Russia. It paid for the weapons not in rubles, dollars and the more so not in drams, but its proven "currency" - loyalty. Russia clearly does not benefit from abandoning its last 'outpost' and Yerevan has already felt it. And after such inspiring events decided to arrange a provocation.
But that is not all.
From Tallinn to Baku, or the Baltic scenario on the Azerbaijani border
And here it is necessary to distract from the topic. And remember another story, not so tragic, but, no doubt, worth attention. On September 3, 2014, after the first sanctions against Russia, the then-US President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia. Among other things, he gave an "iron guarantee" that the United States and its NATO partners are ready to ensure the security of the Baltic States, and the "Crimean-Donbass" scenario will not grow into a proxy war.
A day later, on September 5, 2014, Russian special services kidnapped Eston Kohver, an Estonian security police officer. He was investigating cross-border smuggling. Kohver was simply faced by a smuggler, who turned out to be an FSB agent and who promised to take him to the ringleader of the gang, but instead led to an ambush prepared in the border forest (in the Estonian territory). Kohver was deafened with the help of flash-light grenades, dragged to Russian territory, where he was accused of espionage against the Russian Federation and ... illegal crossing of the Russian border (!). The meaning is clear: Russia decided to arrange such a "demonstration of permissiveness" for Estonia and its allies saying: you can join NATO, Barack Obama can guarantee your security, and we can still kidnap your officer and charge him with anything, even with the illegal crossing of border which he was dragged through deafened, even in an attempt to target the Kremlin with an asteroid from another galaxy, and we will not be punished for it. Moscow is well aware that neither Estonia nor its NATO allies, including the United States, would launch a large-scale war in response to Kohver's kidnapping.
And one can not help noticing that in the last few days, the same scenario is played out in the Nakhchivan direction. But, unlike Estonia, where NATO guarantees operate, they were shooting "to defeat" here. But in exactly the same way they were in full confidence: a big war next morning after such a provocation will most likely not happen.
Yerevan, of course, likes to repeat other people's moves. But now the case is clearly different. Because the game of aggravation on the Nakhchivan direction dated not only to Khachaturov's visit to Yerevan and another weapon gift to Armenia. Two more events fit into the same picture. First of all, it is - we will call things by their own names - the boorish response of the Russian Foreign Ministry to the legitimate resentment of the Azerbaijani side by the very fact of the meeting of Russian diplomats with the representatives of separatist Karabakh (and not only Karabakh). And the Lavrov and Zakharova-style response was as follows: Well, yes, they met, so what? And in general because of anyone we are not going to think where our diplomats can appear, and where not. On this account, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of course, provides for the protocol service, but Moscow considers it superfluous to observe all these subtleties towards Azerbaijan - just as when Sergey Lavrov appeared on Ara Abrahamyan's birthday, where Bako Sahakyan was also present.
But most importantly, the solemn opening of the TANAP - Transanatolian gas pipeline for the export of Azerbaijani gas is scheduled for June 12. Bypassing Russia, as they never tire of repeating in Moscow. And the fact that this event dates to the Day of Russia was generally regarded almost as a personal insult.
Here, perhaps, it is necessary to emphasize once again: Azerbaijan does not intend to "displace" anyone from the market, to arrange "economic strangulation", and so on (with the exception of Armenia, with which our country is at war), etc. Another question is that TANAP - and this is not slogans, but the truth - really strengthens the energy security of Europe, allows us to saturate the market and diversify the sources of gas. And most importantly, it reduces the opportunity for the Russian Federation to use its gas as a means of pressure - for such games, the status of a monopolist is needed, and it will no longer exist. Therefore, Moscow in all serious is arranging a game of aggravation with the hands of Armenia. Here any option, down to the most desired scenario for the Russian Federation - long-term internal destabilization in Azerbaijan, including that provoked by dramatic news from the front line is suitable.
Another question is that, as the battles of 2016 showed, the scripts written in Moscow and Yerevan for Azerbaijan can work quite differently than their authors expect.