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Moscow Should Comment on the Russian Officials' Visit to Leletepe

The participation of several Russian experts, a member of the State Duma and a member of the Public Chamber at a conference entitled "Azerbaijan is Russia's only ally in the South Caucasus" raises some questions. Not only the conference name is problematic, but the venue itself (the conference was held on the territory that was transferred to Azerbaijan as a result of the April war in 2016). Even more alarming is the visit of the conference participants to the height of Lele-Tepe and their meeting with Azerbaijani soldiers.

It is more than obvious what goals Azerbaijan pursued by organizing this action: to legitimize the return of territories by military means, while using the representatives of the country co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group and Armenia's strategic ally, to show how well Azerbaijan "takes care" of these territories and use all this in information war against Armenia and Artsakh. It should not be forgotten that it was Azerbaijan that provoked war in 2016, violated the ceasefire agreement of 1994 and inflicted quite a significant blow to the reputation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs whose mediation efforts are extremely important not only in terms of advancing negotiations but also preventing the resumption of hostilities. In this case, the visit of these territories by Russian officials can be perceived as the approval of the actions of Azerbaijan, which violated all this. Moreover, by these actions the Azerbaijani authorities are trying to give some signals to their society, in particular, using the visit of several Russian figures, who in some way formally do not express Russia's official policy, they are trying to show that Russia approves the armed way of resolving territorial issues and that with a possible new war Azerbaijan "will enjoy Moscow's support."

Another question is what goals the Russian side pursued. Naturally, this was not an official visit and these experts and the deputy do not express Russia's official position and the mood of the Russian society. But at the same time, considering the Russian political culture, it would be naive to assume that the relevant authorities were not, at least, informed about this visit of the State Duma deputy. Therefore, this visit contained certain signals directed to the Armenian authorities ...

In this situation, the primary task of the Armenian authorities and the foreign policy department is to raise this issue when communicating with Russian colleagues and receive official comments from Moscow. On the other hand, everything should be done so that the lovers of such trips are aware that regardless of their status and the nature of the visits, with the possible resumption of the war in the future, they will also be responsible for the bloodshed of all sides of the conflict.

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