That Azerbaijan held a clean, orderly election among so many difficulties is a tribute to a nation once firmly under the Soviet thumb.
This is the truth of frozen conflicts: they are interwoven with everything they touch, and so when they thaw, they are all the harder to end.
An unresolved war leaves behind corpses that keep rotting. To carry the gruesome metaphor just a bit farther, the danger of rotting corpses is that they spread the death they signify; this is no less true of dying infrastructure than of decomposing human flesh.
As long as Russia backs Yerevan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict — with troops, wealth, and diplomatic efforts — the pressure in the region will continue to rise. For the sake of the millions all around, Russia’s role must cease.
To allow Armenia to establish purportedly legitimate symbols of sovereignty on soil the world recognizes as Azerbaijani is to take the already-fragile peace process in which the two countries have been engaged and ceremoniously set it ablaze.
While noting that Baku still has some distance to go, Stanley Weiss points out that while Azerbaijan’s strategic importance is unquestionable, the Obama Administration is nevertheless allowing the relationship to deteriorate.
Safarov’s pardon and victory celebration were frankly unbecoming a modern nation, but the ridiculous European Parliament resolution is yet another reminder of the deep scars borne by Azerbaijan as a result of the Armenian occupation.
The elections are either a profoundly unwise gamble that Azerbaijan will remain quiescent and the Minsk Group forgiving (at least until the region’s independence is a fait accompli) or a story of Armenia losing control of the forces it put in motion.
Baku’s understands what will be expected of it and that it is willing to take steps necessary to forge good relationships with the West. The government must resist the impulse toward control that could curtail its great national potential.
OSCE observers were quick to note that the Republican Party of Armenia engaged in systematic subversion of the electoral process, including pressure on voters and a refusal by electoral commissions to enforce the law.