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South Caucasus


Nana Dashyan
Interview Vesti.Az with chairman of CCPMI Georgi Vanyan

How do you evaluate the final results of the visit to Naghorno Karabagh, Yerevan and Baku by the representatives of the Azerbaijanian and Armenian intellectuals?

Such initiatives are doomed from the very start to have the absence of any kind of final results. This is just another promotion from the Kremlin, summoned to demonstrate that the key to regulating or not regulating the conflict is in the Kremlin’s hands. And to our shame, the shame of Armenians and Azerbaijanians, these types of cruises are becoming a traditional attribute to imitating a negotiation process.

Would You want to participate in a trip such as this one and why would you decline?

If this trip or any other trip, regardless of who planned it and what format it was planned in, could open doors for ordinary citizens to communicate – I would not only want to participate but I would do everything possible to support this initiative. But unfortunately, such directive and thoughtless as it is meetings, instead of multiplying, reduce the space for trust between our two societies; they turn into another caricature and block the real potential for a dialogue.

We have a lot of concrete people in our societies who need the freedom to travel, who think that the conflict must be solved, and it can be solved peacefully and now. There are a lot of people in our societies who consider this condition of “no war and no peace” is the greatest evil, and they do not wish to leave the enmity as an inheritance to their children. So how far behind in development are the “representatives of the intellectuals”, who have taken upon themselves the “duty” to be at a convention for a few hours throughout the year with their and their enemy’s president, and as a result to create another reason for yet another speculative campaign in the mass media?

How would you comment about the fact that representatives of the Armenian delegation crossed out the names of quite a few representatives of the Azerbaijanian intellectuals from the list, which as natives of Shusha also wanted to take part in this voyage?

I cannot give you a direct comment to that question, because I don’t have any detailed “inside” info about this initiative. As for the natives of Shusha, who want to visit Shusha, as well as for all the Armenians and Azerbaijanians who want to visit their native places, visit the grave sites or friends and relatives – I can only say one thing – freedom of travel must be insured, and I would be endlessly happy, if the intellectuals with the access to governmental cabinets, would follow up in lobbying this question.

Why did the representatives of the Armenian intellectuals speak about the essential difference in the level of development of the capital cities of Armenia and Azerbaijan, during their visit in Baku, when there is no official acknowledgment of it?

This is a very serious question. Today the acknowledgment or the denial of Baku being better developed in comparison with Yerevan – is the most important question that stands in front of our intellectuals. And whose interests would that intellectuals represent in that case? Who does it talk in front of, what does it talk about and which direction is it going in? And what intellectuals are we talking about?

The last Armenian intellectual was Hovhanes Tumanyan – a poet with a white flag in his hands that stood between our nations.

Do you believe that “civic diplomacy” would result in the regulation of the Armenian – Azerbaijani conflict in Nagorno – Karabagh?

Civic diplomacy – it is the dependency of a human to live in peace with the neighbors that’s brought into action. We, like all people have that dependency, but there is no action. Within that inactiveness every one of us realizes, that his or her present and the future are annexed with a conflict and enmity, everyone is signed up into slavery. How can we change the situation, how can we find an alternative and where do we start? Our trouble is that these questions are absent from the day’s agenda, not only for the government officials, but also for those with the title of intellectuals: also for defenders of rights and representatives of the civil community, for journalists, and artists - and generally for the category of those kind of people who have the ability and have the calling to create a public opinion, who have the calling to maximally take advantage of the freedom at hand, who have the calling to be ahead of their own time.The Civic diplomacy has been strangled not only in Armenia and Azerbaijan but also in the entire South Caucasus region today, people are denied of the elementary freedom of relations, which was a part of their life a century ago.

Attempts to cultivate western models of civil participation in conflicts resolution resulted in a failure, all though they continue mechanically. Regardless of such a oppressive situation, I remain an optimist, and I believe that it cannot continue this way for long, which is why I try to put in motion my own dependency that is common with everyone else’ s in the world.

Akper Gasanov