moscow - Azerbaijan has threatened the newly-elected prime minister of neighboring Armenia, former journalist and former opposition leader Nikol Pasjinian, with large-scale military operations in protest against Yerevan's policy on the controversial enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.
With that, the war threatens to return to the underbelly of the former Soviet Union. The Azeri Minister of Defense, Zakir Hasanov, denounced last weekend the 'reckless' statements of the new leadership in Yerevan, shortly after Pasjinian had visited the controversial enclave, declaring that his recent 'velvet revolution' was prelude to full recognition of the autonomous status of Nagorno-Karabakh.
'This is unacceptable', says the Ministry of Defense in Baku. 'The Azerian army is fully ready to carry out large-scale military operations. '
The fairytale Nagorno-Karabakh, with its mountains thinking of Switzerland, is mainly inhabited by ethnic Armenians. After a war between 1988 and 1994 between Armenia and Azerbaijan, where more than 30 thousand people died and many were displaced, the enclave called for autonomy. But the international community still regards it as part of Azerbaijan, while no country has recognized the declaration of independence in 1991 so far.
Shortly after Pasjinian, always dressed in army outfit, came to power a week ago, he promised to negotiate with Baku 'on the basis of the equality of the peoples and the right to self-determination.' But the rich Baku, who swims in the oil money, does not seem to go along with the former rebel who now distributes the sheets in Yerevan. So far, Moscow has remained virtually aloof from the recent uprising in Armenia, mainly because it was not directed against Russia (as previously, for example, in Ukraine), but was an internal struggle against the corruption of the Republican party of former President Serzj Sarkisian.
Also in neighboring Georgia this weekend was uneasy and a crowd of 4,000 people took to the streets last Saturday night, in protest against a police intervention against alleged drug dealers in nightclubs. According to the demonstrators, mainly young people from the thriving club scene in Tbilisi, conservative leadership wants to further restrict nightlife and a human drug policy.
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