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November 16, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 9032

Senior Journalist Eggert: Russian Leaders From The Tsars To Boris Yeltsin Kept The Turks At Bay, Now Under Putin, The Turks Have Entered The Caucasus And The Dreams Of The Turkish Sultans Have Come True

November 16, 2020
Russia, Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 9032

One of the constant refrains of Putin loyalists is that Putin lifted a prostrate Russia off its knees and restored it to the rank of global power with a modernized military. Konstantin Eggert, a former editor of Kommersant and former head of the BBC Russian service, believes that Boris Yeltsin, Putin's predecessor may be having the last laugh. Reviled as a capitulator, Yeltsin did not forfeit Russia's position in the post-Soviet space; it was Putin who lost it via his decision to let the Turkish-backed Azerbaijan maul Armenia. The Russian-trained Armenian army was revealed to be an outmoded army despite the boasting about military modernization under Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Russian intelligence was caught flat-footed. The entire post-Soviet space has taken notice from Kiev to Tashkent.

Eggert's article follows below.[1]


Konstantin Eggert (Source: Kommersant.ru)

"Moscow has conclusively lost its influence in the post-Soviet space. Other players will take its place.

"I am very interested in what Andrei Kozyrev, the first foreign minister of post-communist Russia, or his deputy Fyodor Shelov-Kovedyaev, are feeling now? What is Boris Yeltsin thinking, looking at all this from heaven? As I recall our patriots and all kinds of loyal Putinists bashed them (and still bash them now) as 'capitulators', who allegedly 'surrendered national interests' in the nineties.

"It's time for the hysterical persons to change the album. Kozyrev wouldn’t have dreamed in his worst nightmare such a humiliating surrender, as the one that Vladimir Putin signed under the supervision of Recep Erdogan and Ilham Aliyev. The short-lived Karabakh war resulted in a severe defeat not only for Moscow’s main ally, Armenia, but also for the Putin regime. This unpleasant but obvious news cannot be silenced by the nightingale trills of state propagandists [in the original a pun at the expense of pro-Putin presenter Vladimir Solovyov] about the 'peace', that the Russian peacekeeping contingent will now bring to the Caucasus. They will bring nothing. More precisely, they will bring a truce at best. The agreement between Pashinyan, Aliyev and Putin, from the point of view of Azerbaijan and its sponsor, the Turkish regime, is only a stage on the path to complete control over Nagorno-Karabakh and the expulsion of Armenians from it.

"Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan found in himself the courage to tell the truth: the Armenian army was unprepared to face Azerbaijan’s attack and had 'problems with mobilization' (i.e. people were evading the call to the front). But Yerevan is Moscow’s main ally. If Russian intelligence knew about the impending attack, then why didn't they share information about it with Armenia? Moreover, why didn't Putin drop a hint to Baku: hey, we know everything, we advise you to think carefully before going to war? It turns out that either Moscow betrayed Yerevan, or Russian intelligence, including electronic, is so useless that there is no way that it can be trusted.

"A version, now making the rounds on social networks, that Putin was in cahoots with Aliyev to take revenge on Pashinyan for the overthrow of Moscow’s client Serzh Sargsyan in 2018 is, from my point of view, nonsense. But, even if it’s true, Moscow looks bad here as well. It turns out that, for the sake of personal revenge, Putin knocked out the main ally under the Collective Security Treaty, on whose territory (in a key region from Russia's point of view) a Russian military base is located. I deliberately do not go into the analysis of the international legal status of Karabakh and the Stalinist nationality policy with its artificial boundaries. I proceed from the situation as it was usually perceived in Russia and in the world prior to the start of the Azerbaijani offensive.

"What happened is a disgrace, even if we proceed from the neo-imperial Kremlin’s logic, according to which the entire post-Soviet space is “a zone of Russia's privileged interests” (as it was elegantly put by our previous president Dmitry Medvedev after the seizure of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008). Seeing what is happening, any interested player, and first and foremost Turkey and China, will draw the conclusions that it is now possible to make war in this very zone. Furthermore, [it is possible to] win wars - without Moscow's sanction, and that an alliance with Russia does not guarantee protection from any troubles (this if someone suddenly hadn't figured it out after what the Kremlin did to 'fraternal' Ukraine in 2014). Additionally, much has become clear about the modernization of the Russian armed forces, which has been praised by Sergei Shoigu and the “Zvezda TV” channel. The Armed Forces of Armenia, trained by the Russians, were defeated by the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, trained by the Turks and Israelis. As my friend, a Western military analyst, remarked, 'the army of the 20th century lost to the army of the 21st century.'

"The Kremlin's geopolitical games resulted in Erdogan's Turkey, with its authoritarian regime and global ambitions, to enter the Caucasus, which in Moscow, until yesterday, was practically considered a Russian courtyard in serious fashion and for a long time. The Turks were kept at a distance by the tsars, general secretaries [of the Communist Party] and the very same “capitulator” Yeltsin. The dreams of the Ottoman sultans have come true under Putin. As it was figuratively put by another friend of mine, an experienced diplomat, 'On November 10, Russia, of its own free will, submitted an application on the renunciation of [its] regional power status.' The best confirmation of this is the note of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry regarding the downed Russian helicopter, in the following spirit: 'Of course, we will pay compensation, but you yourself are to blame.' The meek response of Sergey Lavrov’s department to this demarche is the best illustration of the fact that Russian diplomats are only unafraid of being rude to Western democracies. Pressure by a 'kindred' dictatorship, supported additionally by the new regional leader in the person of Erdogan, they turn into what they really are – cowed courtiers, without minds or dignity of their own.

"November 10 will echo everywhere in the post-Soviet space - from revolutionary Minsk to the always revolutionary Bishkek, from pre-revolutionary Chisinau to turbulent Tbilisi, from mobilized Kiev to increasingly prosperous Tashkent. To put it more precisely, on what was recently called the “post-Soviet space". It's gone now. There is no need to make a call to Putin, (even for those who, out of habit, still called). I think that soon it will be possible to even approach NATO directly."

 

[1] Echo.msk.ru, November 11, 2020.

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