The Sultan of All Azerbaijan declared the Armenian city of Shushi the “cultural capital” of his country. It is, of course, understandable that when there is no culture and cultural center of its own, then the occupied city, which was the cultural and educational center of the Armenian people and the entire South Caucasus, should be declared as such. Another thing is that, as Iranian scholar Vardan Voskanyan noted, “the dictator of Baku can declare Shushi not only the” cultural capital “of an artificial formation called Azerbaijan, but the entire Universe, but without the permission of the Russian peacekeepers at this very moment even he cannot get to” their capital “.
EARLIER AN EXTREMELY NOTICEABLE statement was made by the chairman of the Union of Architects of the same state education by the name of Kasimzade, who called for the destruction of all Armenian churches on the territory of Artsakh. Again, it is understandable why the head of the Azerbaijani architects is so eager for destruction – there are too many ancient and medieval Armenian churches on this land, and they too clearly indicate who exactly lived and created here for centuries. Later, feeling that he had gone too far with giving out secret desires, Kasimzadeh began to justify himself that, they say, “it was about Armenian churches that were built on the territory of Karabakh during the years of its occupation by Armenia” with the aim of “securing the very fact of occupation for centuries.”
“The Armenians were there for less than thirty years. If they were engaged in creative activities, then hospitals, schools, kindergartens, residential buildings, various cultural objects would appear on this territory. But none of this was built, because the invaders knew that early or later they will have to leave, “said the head of Azerbaijani architects. Explaining something to a subject who believes that it is possible to live for 30 years without schools, kindergartens, residential buildings, etc. is a senseless occupation. Likewise, it makes no sense to tell the “architect” that in 30 years only 1-2 churches were built in Artsakh, all the rest have a centuries-old or long-term history …
Meanwhile, everything that Kasimzadeh so awkwardly tried to hide was honestly and openly betrayed by the president. Commenting on the refusal to admit the UNESCO mission to the regions of Artsakh under Azerbaijani occupation, which in itself is a very eloquent fact, Ilham Aliyev threatened to reconsider cooperation with this organization if the latter “does not maintain its international status.” “UNESCO is not a branch of any country. If this approach prevails in our relations, there will be cooperation. If not, there will be no, we can reconsider our cooperation. In any case, our intentions are pure. There should be relations free from double standards, Islamophobia and a selective approach, “he said.
That is, if UNESCO wants to send a mission to Artsakh in order to monitor the post-war state of the richest Armenian cultural heritage, in the interpretation of Aliyev, on whose order the Shusha temple of the Savior Kazanchetsots was bombed, this is “double standards, Islamophobia and selective approach.” What is more in these words – impudence or cretinism – we leave to the reader to judge. But if we recall the history of Azerbaijan’s relations with UNESCO, full of corruption scandals, as well as the history of Azerbaijan itself, which is even richer in facts of cultural genocide, both in Soviet times and in the years of independence, then everything becomes extremely clear. Aliyev simply threatens to cut off the funding of UNESCO, into which he has poured millions of petrodollars over the past 20 years with very specific goals.
EVERYONE STILL HAVE Loud revelations associated with the names of two previous UNESCO directors, especially the Bulgarian Irina Bokova, who did her best to promote the image of Azerbaijan as a “space of tolerance”, awarded her friend Mehriban Aliyeva, the highest award of UNESCO, the Gold Medal Mozart, and rendered numerous other services to the Aliyev family – of course, for an appropriate bribe. According to international media, Bokova’s husband – Kalin Mitrev in 2012-2014. received from Azerbaijan a total of 425 thousand euros, and she herself owns real estate in Manhattan worth more than $ 3 million. And this is only a small part of the accusations that were brought against the ex-head of UNESCO and her husband in Bulgaria.
Whether the Aliyevs tried to bribe the current secretary general, Frenchwoman Audrey Azoulay, is beyond doubt, since the corruption component is dominant in Azerbaijan’s international politics and practice. It is difficult to judge how successful these attempts were, in any case there are no facts confirming this yet. But if UNESCO yields to Aliyev’s apparent blackmail and does not insist on a fact-finding mission to visit Artsakh, there will inevitably be reasonable suspicions that Ms. Azoulay’s hands are tied by some kind of financial obligations.
Because the refusal to let experts of the most authoritative international organization in this sphere enter the occupied territory of Artsakh is more than weighty proof that Aliyev intends to destroy the Armenian monuments of Artsakh in the same way as it was done earlier in Nakhchivan. And the ultimatum nature of this refusal testifies at least to the fact that Aliyev considers himself entitled to speak with UNESCO in such a cheeky tone, and this right is guaranteed to him by financial injections. In fact, UNESCO is faced with a trivial choice in recent years: values and image – or money, and this choice is inevitable where a dirty Turkish paw that bribes and buys everything and everyone appears.
Against this background, one cannot but recall that after the complete destruction of the unique Armenian khachkars at the Old Jugha cemetery, not a single international expert mission was allowed there, including from UNESCO. If Aliyev got away with this crime, why not begin the destruction of no less unique Armenian churches in Artsakh in order to erase the richest Armenian cultural trace here too? Why would vandals preserve Tigranakert, Dadivank, Tsitsernavank, numerous ancient rural basilicas, in which the Armenian spirit is so strong that it cannot be blocked by any appropriation and declaration of Udi, Albanian, etc.?
IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE WAR, many international organizations and political leaders vied with each other to emphasize the need to preserve the Armenian cultural heritage in the temporarily occupied territories of Artsakh. At that time, the RA Foreign Ministry also quite actively accentuated this more than relevant topic. Today, after only 2 months, official Yerevan does not consider it necessary to respond to provocative statements from Baku that demonstrate Aliyev’s barbaric plans.
What the head of the Union of Architects says, what Aliyev himself publicly declares, is nothing more than a declaration of intentions to arrange a second Nakhichevan in Artsakh. The silence of both the Foreign Ministry and the Ministries of Culture of Armenia and Artsakh is a de facto agreement to vandalism declared at the highest level. In Artsakh, as you know, there are more than three thousand monuments of historical and cultural heritage (fortresses, temples, khachkars, gravestones), which have long been inventoried and have passports. And if at least one of these monuments is destroyed, the leadership of Armenia and Artsakh – Pashinyan and Harutyunyan personally, who do not react in any way to the unprecedented rudeness of statements from Baku – will also bear responsibility for this, along with Aliyev.