I have been thinking over Nagorno Karabakh issue for a long time, over the issue of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as well, and this is what I have come to. I skip the part of the report regarding the history of Seim, how it was created, why it fell apart, what historical motives were there to create Seim and what has led to its decline. I will try to communicate the core of my report to you through series of theses (the full text of the report in Russian)
• The republics of South Caucasus were never completely free and independent states.
• The interests of stronger states were considered which those to dictate their own conditions were.
• The leaderships of these states always considered their own mercenary, selfish interests without taking into account those of ordinary members of their societies.
• Local internal conflicts which were created by the mighty ones ruling over this world were supported by local governors and were used to serve as a factor to secure the regress of the development of civil societies of our republics.
• In these states armed forces were formed to solve the conflicts in South Caucasus between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. Until these days this policy is being implemented. The Karabakh conflict which was insinuated by the leadership of ex USSR and which has led to confrontation between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and the conflicts between Abkhazia and Ossetia on the one hand and Georgia on the other hand, are handy for almost all interested parties except the ordinary citizens of these regions.
Armenia is welcomed with heavy open arms of Russia without the right of solving its problems on its own.
Georgia is being integrated into Europe and it paid for that with the loss of Abkhazia and Ossetia. Georgia cherishes some vague hopes about getting these regions back.
Azerbaijan is tossing and turning between European Union and Customs Union without knowing what to do. Considering the interests of Russia in this region, the return of Karabakh to Azerbaijan seems a pipe dream as well.
Armenia has de jure lost its independence after getting Karabakh. What is the perspective for Armenia’s development?
A tough question which has no answer so far.
None of these states can war with other states which are located nearby. Iran, Russia and Turkey are super-states against these dwarf states.
Another question springs from this. Why these states spend huge amounts of money on armed forces? Ideally this money could be invested into the development of the peoples.
Considering all the abovementioned, there are two scenarios or ways of development for the region.
Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan progressively continue the current politics of escalation dreaming about some opportune occasion. But I think that this is the worst of possible scenarios. Iran is on the agenda today. And before Iran, Ukraine has become another object for geopolitical games unfortunately. Intervention into Iran can start at any moment, by forces that are busy with remaking the world and establishing a new world order. If that happens, the borders of the states of South Caucasus may as well undergo changes. It is hard to say what it will lead to.
The states of South Caucasus reach an agreement on South Caucasus integration and on creating a South Caucasian Union of independent states. That Union should be founded on the principles of freedom of movement for people, goods, services and capital. The leadership of the free states of South Caucasian Union must deal with general issues of the union. These issues may include human rights, questions regarding customs, perspectives on common social and economic development, questions regarding investment bank for development. The external policy should in general be that of political nonalignment. We war with no one, and no one wars with us. That should be the general principle. The armed forces of the states must be abolished.
We think that new perspectives on solving Nagorno Karabakh, South Ossetia and Abkhazia-related conflicts will emerge. Naturally there should be strong conditions for widespread cultural independence of national minorities of these states during the establishment of the Union. The borders of independence should be specified by the commission which will deal with general legislation regulation issues of this Union.
The main motto of South Caucasian Union should be peace and dialogue in case of any conflict. We know that peace is the basic condition for any vital activity both for individual states and for the Union. I can still recall the days when the population living near the borders between all the three states were freely trading with one another which would ultimately lead to the formation of friendly relationships. The creation of a general customs committee will result in open borders for the local population and that in turn will lead to normal economic interactions between the citizens. Caucasus is our common house. We, methinks, should have one general currency which will ease our economic interactions. The worst kind of peace is far better than the best kind of war. Caucasian mentality is basic for our peoples. The salvation of Caucasus depends on its ethnic diversity and on the diversity of its cultures.
As individual states we are weak just like small children are, and we feel the need of stronger states which turn us into their slaves and the perpetrators of their own will. If we succeed in creating a Union, then we will be able to gain voice and articulate our own interests.
There is no alternative for mutual understanding and friendly relationships. South Caucasus must become a region offering well-being and prosperity for all its citizens. This is a preliminary offer which we all should discuss and express our views on. This is just a position of a human rights defender. I think that a competent commission, specialists should work on this. And during the last week I started thinking that there are a couple of states which really abuse us in all aspects without our consent, they don’t even regard us as human beings. But no state will achieve anything if acting separately, that is certain. If South Caucasian Union is formed, then the Union will be taken into account, our opinion will be considered and they will talk to us, as the three republics are located in a very advantageous area geographically and politically. We will dictate what we agree on and what we don’t agree on. I think this is the best way out of the current situation.