27 June, Tuesday


How are things with the petition of Oleg Kuznetsov to recognize the genocide of Azerbaijanis in Khojaly - EXCLUSIVE

Interviews

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Two months have passed since the famous Russian historian Caucasus researcher Oleg Kuznetsov prepared and published a petition on the Internet addressed to the deputies of the State Duma and the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia demanding recognition of the genocide of Azerbaijanis in Khojaly on February 25-26, 1992. He numerously exposed the falsification of history by Armenians and is the author of numerous studies related to Armenian falsification.

Oleg Kuznetsov gave an interview to Eurasia Diary about the difficult process of campaigning and new ideas to help to promote the petition among the universities of Azerbaijan.

Eurasia Diary: Our portal was one of the first to support your initiative in the information space related to the petition addressed to the deputies of the Federal Assembly of Russia demanding to recognize the genocide of Azerbaijanis in Khojaly on February 25-26, 1992. The interest in it has been growing in Azerbaijan. Does it affect the collection of signatures under the petition?

Oleg Kuznetsov: Indeed, your portal has always provided and continues to provide me with all-round support, to publish information about my activities in several languages ​​of the world, for which I am very grateful. Today the Azerbaijani press is gradually, but more and more seriously and thoroughly included in the issue of promoting the idea to the masses about the need to support my petition, which I associate with the inclusion of the deputy of the Milli Mejlis, the chairman of the regional policy committee Arif Rahimzade and the participation in the campaign to collect signatures of his colleague, the chairman of the legal affairs committee and the head of the working group "Azerbaijan-Russia" Ali Huseynli. These people took the support for my petition in Azerbaijan to a qualitatively higher level, because they were able to organize it at the state level.

However, raising the level of political attention to the petition did not lead to the "big leap" effect, when thousands of people a day would join the petition all over Azerbaijan and beyond, as some individual socio- Politicians of your country during the workshop, which took place with my participation on May 3. Despite all the loud calls and promises said at this event, the intensity of collecting signatures under the petition did not reach the level that we all dreamed of. The total number of votes barely exceeded 18,000, and one third of them were collected outside of Azerbaijan.

Eurasia Diary: Do you have any logical explanation for the passivity of our compatriots in this matter?

Oleg Kuznetsov: Of course, yes. I formulated for myself a whole range of reasons, only overcoming which it will be possible to achieve a real practical result. I want to list them and say a few words about each of them to show that I have no illusions about the real state of affairs and false expectations of the result.

First, at the present time in the mass public consciousness of Azerbaijanis there is a high level of distrust towards Russia and its policy in the South Caucasus. Therefore, people do not believe in the possibility that Russian parliamentarians will somehow react to the petition, and therefore do not want to sign it, not believing in the possibility of success from the very start. As a Russian citizen who feels the kindest and most sincere feelings for the people of Azerbaijan, it's shameful to see and hear it, but it's impossible to escape from the truth, so it's only necessary to speak it out loud.

Secondly, many people in Azerbaijan believe that my actions are motivated by some selfish interests, and therefore do not want to take part in the "alien" business for them. By the way, this feeling is peculiar not only to the townsfolk, but also to officials, especially the latter, as they perfectly understand that they will not be able to earn any benefits or preferences for themselves personally on the support of the petition. Not directly, but often I hint at hints, and what my interest is, and what profit they can get if they support me among their friends and acquaintances.

Thirdly, the procedure for signing a petition for understanding a middle-aged person is quite complicated because of the need for knowledge and skills to handle computers and other "smart" electronic devices, which a lot of Azerbaijanis simply do not have access to. Therefore, the main audience of subscribers is the youth and the intelligent people, who have many other and more important problems than signing the petition.

Fourthly, in the minds of many Azerbaijani officials who, due to their positions, were obliged to support the promotion of the petition, there is a persistent illusion that they are omnipotent and able to change the situation only by giving a loud order from the office. At the same time, they naively believe that their half-order-half-call will be heard and will have an effect. When these people are faced with the fact that in reality their loud and menacing words for most of their compatriots and fellow citizens do not mean anything, they have a very embarrassed and even unhappy appearance, as they come to the realization that they do not need anyone outside the system of power.

Eurasia Diary: However, as practice shows, despite all the objective difficulties, the petition has not shut down, and hundreds of people join it every day. So you already know the recipe for success, do not you?

Oleg Kuznetsov: Yes, absolutely right, there is a recipe for success, and it consists of concrete and direct work with people and the awakening of public initiative. For someone in Azerbaijan, it is possible that these words will sound dissonant, but I do not see any other way for winning the petition. And this is not just an allegation, but a fact that has been confirmed in practice, and experience, as the Marxists said, is a criterion of truth.

On May 8, at the personal request of the State Councilor of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Kamal Abdullayev, and with the assistance of the Znanie Foundation under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, I visited Lankaran, where I met students and teachers of the local university and schoolchildren studying in the Russian sector of schools this year. During the meeting, I told them about my life position, scientific and social activities in the context of studying the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the petition initiated by me. In my speech I urged and urged them to support my initiative, talked to them not as a source as power, as a bureaucrat giving guidance, but as a person who sincerely sympathizes the people who are the part of Khojaly tragedy, whose initiative needs help and support of ordinary citizens. And the result appeared almost immediately. Less than a week in Lenkoran and its surrounding areas, students from the Lenkoran State University, according to the comments on the page of the petition on the Internet, 1400-1500 people joined the petition. In other words, 10, and maybe all 15 percent of the signatures collected under the petition as of today throughout Azerbaijan, are collected in Lenkoran.

However, this result only gives direct communication with people. Naturally, after the meeting, work was to be carried out to organize the collection of signatures under the petition, which was perfectly executed by the senior lecturer of the Foreign Languages ​​Department of the local university Aynur Ahmedbeyli, who urged her students to join the signing of the petition. Her example is a vivid proof that one person, if he acts sincerely and with a pure heart, is able to break the most well-established tendency. It is these people that instill in my heart the certainty that the initiated petition will necessarily achieve its result.

Eurasia Diary: What steps do you intend to take in the near future to develop the success of the campaign?

Oleg Kuznetsov: You understand that I can only talk about my desire in Azerbaijan and about my readiness to do something for the sake of your country's interests, and every step must be coordinated with the Azerbaijani authorities, since I am an alien and should not violate your laws. Therefore, I am free only in the framework of proposals, and the possibility of their implementation does not depend on me. So now I can only tell you what I want and I am ready to do, but it's not up to me to decide whether I can put it all into practice.

Young and educated people are the two social forces to be relied upon if we want the campaign to recognize the genocide in Khojaly in the territory of Azerbaijan by the Russian parliament as successful. In your country there are fifty high schools, the potential of which must necessarily be used to collect signatures under the petition. And we need to start not with Baku, since the capital's students are mainly involved as volunteers in the conduct of Baku-2017 and Formula One racing. The center of gravity of the collection of signatures should be transferred to the province - in Ganja, Sumgait, Khirdalan and other cities of Azerbaijan, and this should be done in the very near future, until the school year is over. I am ready to speak in each of the universities, if necessary, several times, if it would have practical result. I am sure that in each of these universities there will necessarily be a person, and not even one, with an interest in the results of the case whose initiatives, labor and assertiveness will ensure a high growth of signatures.

Eurasia Diary: The other day, the ATV channel showed the broadcasts of your petition. Did this affect the increase in the number of signatures?

Oleg Kuznetsov: I have closely followed this question and cannot say that they gave any special momentary effect and caused a drastic increase in the number of people who, at the time of the transfer or immediately after it, joined the campaign to collect signatures under the petition. At that time, just over two hundred people signed the petition, although this number in itself for Sunday is a very good result. However, I wanted to draw attention to a completely different aspect - the geography of the audience of the supporters of the petition sharply expanded. Representatives of the Azerbaijani diaspora in Turkey, Russia and even the United States began to actively join it. Therefore, one can hope that the petition will become a popular topic for discussion not only in Azerbaijan, but also abroad, and this will seriously increase the number of votes in its support from different countries on working days.

Therefore, I consider these programs to be very useful and effective, since they affect the widest possible audience, so the real return can manifest not today, but tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. The main thing is not to stop halfway and inform TV viewers about the existence of the petition and the results of collecting signatures with sufficient regularity and frequency. Connecting television to the campaign of collecting signatures under a petition is an important tool to attract public attention to this topic, but in my understanding - not the most important and, especially, far from the only one. Television cannot replace direct human communication, and the world practice of this type of campaign clearly shows this.

You can sign the petition here.

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