Blood, Tears and Deportation: The Fate of the Caucasus?

Blood, Tears and Deportation: The Fate of the Caucasus?

by Tariq Hasan

“Is blood and tears the fate of the Caucasus?” How many more mothers will leave their homes, looking at the saplings they planted in their gardens for the last time? How many other fathers will shed secret tears for the children they lost in the war? How many more children will grow up with trauma? Why do the Karabakh Azerbaijanis, who migrated to Baku in the 90s, and the Artsakh Armenians, who looked at the lands where they grew up for the last time on their journey to Yerevan, hate each other? For the Aliyev-Pashayev oligarchy and the high-ranking officials who rely on this "safe position", the Armenian oligarchs who have become rich as a result of trade relations with Russia, and the Pashinyan administration, which hopes for help from the West, are the deaths of thousands of people worth just a piece of paper with a signature?

The war, which the Azerbaijani Army launched on September 19 and defined as a "local anti-terrorist operation", ended on September 20, when Azerbaijan forced the Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh administration to disband and disarm all Armenian military units stationed in the region. As a result of Armenia's joint exercise with the USA under Pashinyan's administration, Russia's response was immediate. He decided not to get involved in Azerbaijan's military war, which would cause great losses. In a statement on September 25, the Russian Foreign Ministry writes: “The Armenian leadership is making a huge mistake by deliberately attempting to sever Armenia’s multifaceted and centuries-old ties with Russia, making the country a hostage to Western geopolitical games.”

Media institutions affiliated with the Aliyev regime, which want to create false agendas and reproduce chauvinist feelings regarding the presence of "Russian Peacekeeping Forces" in the region, describe the US exercises in the region as "Soros Plan: Anti-Russianism", revealing the hypocritical character of the rulers. Aliyev wanted to bring the issue to a "fait accompli" during the period when the ties between the Pashinyan administration, which left the door open to the West, and Russia began to be resolved. As a result of the 24-hour war, cries of "victory" began to be heard on Aliyev's official television channels. Aliyev, who called the administration there a "so-called administration" by not recognizing the right of self-determination of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh, was talking about the pride of having forced the "so-called republic" to capitulate. The Azerbaijani administration, which did not disclose the number of soldiers who died for a week, announced 8 days later that a total of 192 Azerbaijani soldiers lost their lives, 180 of whom were personnel of the Ministry of Defense and 12 of whom were personnel of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and 511 soldiers were injured. Artsakh (Karabakh) Human Rights Advocacy Office stated that at least 200 people died and more than 400 people were injured as a result of Azerbaijan's attack.

The Aliyev-Pashayev oligarchy, which exploits all the wealth of the people either illegally such as bribery or through "legal" means, is trying to relentlessly suppress every voice that opposes the imperialist war, which is human slaughter. Since it had mass support intoxicated with the feelings of “nostalgic revenge” and “victory” in the 2020 war, it did not need to show the anti-war state's stick. In the September 2022 war, a person was arrested because of his anti-war social media post. Increasing inequality and poverty felt everywhere caused the war to lose its appeal in the eyes of the working people. This time, at least 7 people were arrested and tortured for their anti-war posts.
According to the list published by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Internal Affairs, at least 50 of those who lost their lives during the 24-hour military war were born in 2004-2005. The cry of the father of 18-year-old Röyal, who was sent to compulsory military service even though he was a university student, explains how the ruling class kills young lives for the sake of its own interests: "After he was martyred, I asked him why did you take my son to the front?" They said that he wrote a petition and asked to be sent to the front. I said you are lying. He started saying, 'Thank you for your homeland, may it be fruitful, you have raised such a child, be patient.' I said, would you be patient if your son died instead of my son? I raised him with such pain for years, now we are in pain. How did this happen to me? "Should this be done to me because I'm lonely?"

Artsakh Armenians are going through their hardest time after Azerbaijan's 9-month blockade. They are forced to migrate from the lands where they lived for years, where they raised their children, and where they are full of memories. From bloody February to bloody September, the bloodshed and the deportations it left behind continued.

September 25, morning hours. The Azerbaijani Army maintains control in the region. The Azerbaijani administration claims that they offer Artsakh Armenians a "free choice": They will either stay in the lands they live in and accept becoming citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan, or they will leave the lands they live in and go to Armenia. This “free choice” is very similar to the “free choice” that capitalism claims to offer to workers: “Either you will work under intense exploitation and get paid to make ends meet, or you will not work and starve to death. You are free to choose anyone, we do not impose any pressure.”

As expected, most Artsakh Armenians "chose" to go to Armenia. The freedom offered by the Azerbaijani administration to the Armenians is as real as the freedom offered by capitalism to the workers. It is stated that 88,780 people from Nagorno-Karabakh entered Armenia as of Thursday, September 29 morning.

Every hour, hundreds of vehicles enter the Armenian border from Stepanakert, the former capital of the Republic of Artsakh. Armenians load the belongings they could bring with them, such as farm animals, heavy machinery, tables, and chairs, into the cars and leave their homes, singing laments.

Armenian Deputy Asatryan, who stated that no one she knew wanted to live under Azerbaijani rule, described the deportation process as follows: “All night long, Stepanakert (the de facto capital of Karabakh) seemed to be in flames. Everywhere you went there was fire… The city was wide awake. “People were burning down their entire lives before leaving Artsakh (the Armenian name used by Karabakh Armenians for the region), most likely forever.”

The Azerbaijani administration states that they will not discriminate against Armenians based on race, religion, and ethnic nationality and that all their cultural rights will be recognized. Claiming that they have stepped into the "peaceful new age", Azerbaijan does not refrain from provoking the chauvinism and militarism of the "old age". Social contempt will be constantly reproduced by the ideological apparatus of the ruling class, and Armenians will be added to the circle of poverty experienced by Azerbaijanis. Like black people in the USA, Azerbaijanis in Iran, Catalans in Spain, and Kurds in Turkey, they will experience inequality twice as deeply. This is the "Re-integration program" that the Azerbaijani administration did not mention to Artsakh Armenians.

While the rulers who caused the Khojaly Genocide to sit in their comfortable seats and become rich from the resources they exploited from the working people, the working people are again bursting into tears. Making statements to journalists on the plane returning from his visit to Nakhchivan, Erdogan said, "Armenia is paying the price for the Khojaly massacre." So we ask again, why do only poor people pay the price of war?

At the end of the process, tens of thousands of Artsakh Armenians will have migrated to Armenia. This indicates that Armenia, which is already experiencing a contraction in its economy, will be pregnant with new social and economic crises. The unemployed, those who work when they find work, and illegal workers, that is, the stagnant surplus population will lead to a crisis. All of this is sure to lead to social discontent. Many oppositionists reduce this discontent to mere opposition to Pashinyan. Pashinyan, who is accused of ruining relations with Russia and establishing too close relations with the West, is shown as the sole reason for the Karabakh defeat. Protests are being organized calling for Pashinyan to resign. These protests may intensify as the number of Artsakh immigrants increases. The situation in Armenia resembles "Weimar Germany" after defeat and crisis.

Erdoğan's visit to Nakhchivan will not be an easy way to end military operations. Nakhchivan is a symbolically important site for Aliyev and Erdogan's meeting and provides some clues about Azerbaijan's next strategic goal. Turkey and Azerbaijan have always wanted to connect this isolated region to the rest of the country via the Zangezur Corridor, through Armenia, and across Iran. It cannot be said that Iran has acted kindly on this issue. Erdoğan said, “The realization of this corridor, which is very important for Turkey and Azerbaijan, is a strategic issue and must be completed. "When this corridor is opened, a vehicle or train leaving Baku will be able to come directly to Kars," he said. Erdoğan's sub-imperialist position strengthened through Karabakh, is not satisfied, and he continues to be eager for the logistics-transportation profits that will expand through the Zangezur Corridor. Relations with Iran, the other sub-imperialist power of the region, clearly display imperialism's "last war" lie. Those who legitimize militarism in every war as "the last war to end the war" miss this fact: Imperialism feeds on blood.

The duty of Azeri revolutionary Marxists is to oppose the Armenian deportation and to explain that the war is in the interests of the rulers and causes the working people to become poorer. Armenian revolutionaries, on the other hand, should carefully evaluate the rising discontent against the government, and be involved in it, but win the masses by displaying their own independent demands and programs. The real peace that will emerge between the peoples will be achieved by destroying the rulers of both countries and eliminating class inequalities.