Nagorno Karabakh: the Russian way to post-coldwar is lost forever?

Pliny the Elder went to the Caspian sea and defined it as a sea as its water was salty. Romans went much beyond, but what we call now central Asia was not so successful for them. Basically, besides the harsh resistance of the region of Pontus, ancient Romans controlled the Caucasus region. Nowadays I wouldn’t find so much of Roman brief period, having Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Turkey and Russia languages and alphabets of their own. In fact in XIX century Russia took control of that part and it is still now the key player (with exception of Turkey, NATO member).

Yet, I may bet that almost none in Europe could say what Nagorno Karabakh is. Actually it could be one of those questions in the Millionaire quiz: 1.000.000€ worth… Few people know about Armenia, its ancient Church, and the genocide upon which I already posted. Perhaps more people know now about Azerbaijan, the “land of fire” described, if I remember well, by Marco Polo too. Land of fire, more pragmatically, recalls the gas pipelines (passing not from Russia, neither Armenia!). Azerbaijan is advertised as a touristic destination, even though fares are not cheap with the following motto: “European charm of the Orient” (long short). A nice move, but not completely clear as its identity. Is Azerbaijan in Europe or is already Asia? Baku is of course famous as a city, and to have clearly written “Azerbaijan” on the jerseys of Atlético Madrid football club is by far more effective to let people realize this presence. Azerbaijan is very active in sport events and maybe in 2016 they will host a Formula 1 Grand Prix. It will not the Azerbaijani Grand Prix, it will be the European Gran Prix, previously held in Spain, Germany and UK as a jolly extra destination in Europe apart Luxembourg, San Marino and Monaco. All that is very cool.

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If you look at the political map of this region, you might be curious about a landlocked spot by the side of Armenia and bordering Turkey, that is landlocked as well. That is an Azerbaijan’s exclave, but it is not the Nagorno Karabakh (it is Naxçivan). Nagorno Karabakh is close to Armenia and populated mostly by Armenian, but it is legally Azerbaijan. Its claimed but not recognized flag is basically the Armenian, with a “pixel style” detachment that should signify traditional carpet. I frankly see in it the aim to rejoin Armenia as an exclave if not more. As Tiziano Terzani explained in his book “Goodnight Mister Lenin” written in the aftermath of the fall of USSR, that place is matter of complaints by both Armenian and Azerbaijan States. Both populations have been concerned since early 90s.

This problem, according to Tiziano Terzani reports, was consciously created by Iosip Stalin in person, a man who knew well the region, being born in contemporary Georgia. Actually he created a latent casus belli, and I would guess that he knew what he was doing.

In 2011, even though the invasion of Georgia was still recent (2008, during Olympic games in 中国 北京, what a nice engagement on the Olympic spirit… ), it looked that these two countries could meet some agreements. The war over there was not only cold war style, was even a low profile with few casualties. Today, 2015, casualties shot up. If a remote corner of world, having no particular strategic importance (with all my respect, Crimea is more strategic than Nagorno Karabakh) has this increase of temperature from cold to at least lukewarm, there a meaning outside that place.

After this brief exposition of facts, my point.

My explanation of the phenomenon is that both countries don’t recognize anymore Russia as a possible strong referee. This prolonged phase of isolation of Russia may let loose its few allies: Belarus, that is embodying the role of the neutral country; and Armenia. In the meanwhile, international community most likely will witness this breeding ground with the strong intention to do nothing but publish few news.

I’m not happy about that, really (because I’m thinking about the humanitarian consequences), but it looks that Russia’s pax is severely threatened, if not on the brink of been lost forever.

The arduous Caucasian nature praised by poets is again now scratched by human conflicting interests.

#thisisnotahashtag

The representation of something is not the thing itself. You drawn a pipe, and that is not a pipe. Can you smoke a picture of a pipe. Maybe by rolling the canvas and filling it with some staff you like, a not comfortable way to smoke, if compared with an elegant real pipe. In any case, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (this is not a pipe) is a nice suggestion, advertisement and aphorism. People still use it.

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For this reason I may argue that an hashtag (#) preceding something is not that something itself. Let’s see. To say-write “#HappyWomensDay” is meaningful itself. I can use a hashtag to highlight and to try to push my little issue to the others’ attention. As a result, we shall all create a long queue of small things, a long tail indeed [we might have a clue of which tweets by us are “successful” or not by watching the analytics provided by Twitter; numbers and histograms are always fashionable]. In any case, whatever my effectiveness to have attention toward me, to what extent is Magritte’s still telling a truth? Mine greetings for women on March 8th as less real if we publish this instead of greeting neighbors in “real life”? I would say it is exactly the same in this case. I don’t say virtual life replace real one: I say both can coexist and integrate each other. Yet, I wouldn’t neither say that one is real, and the other is virtual (false, fictitious). They are both acts of communication. Period.

This does not satisfy me completely.

A grey, definitely not colorful and definitely not smiling not enchanting Cheshire politician said in 2013: “Whatever is viral lasts to become real”. It was Gianroberto Casalaggio, the obscure and quite leader of the Italian populist anti European Movement “Movimento 5 Stelle”. When Matteo Renzi was interviewed by Il Fatto Quotidiano (the closest newspaper to M5S) quoted Casaleggio saying he was philosophically shocked by his thought… (To listen the terms “philosophy” in harsh political debate is very funny) This M5S euro-skeptical party, as known, tried to establish a party at the European Parliament with the Ukip… But this is not the point. To say that whatever is viral, virtual, on the net, will transform into a reality is intrepid. If I say a basketball player sucks, and somehow people will believe the same I believe, not necessarily he/she will start missing easy layups or free throws. If people start to say the sky is pink, a pink sunset will not manifest, if not as a mere coincidence. In other words, to paraphrase G. W. F. Hegel (What is reasonable is real; that which is real is reasonable. [Was vernünftig ist, das ist Wirklich; und was wirklich ist, das ist vernünftig.]) is hard.

Thus I could say that the power of the web is a fake. But I am not going to support this stance. The switch off of some Twitter’s account managed by Isis’s recruiters is perhaps not a wise action? Please. In case, I’d like to know why those accounts were closed so late…

The answer could be the William Thomas’ theory: “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.” If I come to believe that the Messiah is coming, hence I shall be well prepared to the occasion: I shall behave in a certain way (be gentle / be rich / be strong / kill myself / recruit other people showing brochures / other ). Whatever a person, a group of persons, or an organizations will use a certain medium, this theorem is valid. To believe that the web, internet, is somehow the mighty ultimate gateway is silly. To believe that internet and social networks are the realm of reality and actual peer conditions might be sillier indeed. The tail can be very very long.