16:38 02/03/2015 » INTERVIEWS
Expert: Azerbaijani side uses falsifications concerning 1992 Aghdam events, while Armenian side tracks and reveals them
Panorama.am presents an interview with Anzhela Elibegova, Southern Caucasus geopolitics expert.
- Every year the anniversary of the events in Aghdam in 1992 - which the Azerbaijani side calls ‘Khojaly’ - is observed in Azerbaijan and beyond its borders. How was this year different?
- First of all, the 23rd anniversary was marked with some passiveness regarding massive and new events by the Azerbaijani side. Factually, this year we witnessed the duplication of all those standard propaganda mechanisms Azerbaijan uses abroad. It’s also remarkable that the Azerbaijani side increasingly prefers to change the costly events in places, where the Armenian side breaks with counteractions, with virtual space making use of the services of bots and paid advertising.
- What new propaganda product appeared in 2015?
- Except for the 10-minute video clip by the campaign “Justice for Khojaly,” abounding with mistakes and naturally lacking factual references, and a new music video, there were no other noteworthy examples of new propaganda product by the Azerbaijani side. Possibly, it is connected with the serious economic and financial problems the country experiences because of the drastic decline of the oil prices and national currency devaluation. It may also be connected with the domestic political situation. According to the information of the opposition media, Ramiz Mehdiyev, the authorities’ chief ideologue - the head of the President Administration - is gravely ill and was not able to supervise this year’s propaganda campaign. If both of the suppositions are baseless, a further decline of the rate can be expected in the following year, too.
- Which were the Armenian side’s actions?
- There is no necessity to reinvent the wheel. As long as the Azerbaijani propaganda makes loads of reasons to analyze and reveal falsifications regarding the events in Aghdam during the year, what remains to do in February is to make them available for the public. It is noteworthy that the foreign media covering the topic have begun to question the Azerbaijani version, bringing in the arguments of the Armenian side concerning the inconsistencies and contradictions of the Azerbaijani version. This is certainly a result of the painstaking work of a group of professionals who monitor, collect and analyze the Azerbaijani disinformation every year. It should be noted that to this day the Armenian side has not received a comprehensible and factual answer to any of the voiced questions regarding the doubtful circumstances in which the Khojaly people died at the Azerbaijani positions near Aghdam. And it is impossible to endlessly circulate one and the same falsification exceptionally emotionally, without operating on facts.
- Particularly, what are they trying to falsify in Azerbaijan?
- Any circumstance of what happened. For 5 years, the Azerbaijani side is continuously being caught on using photos taken at other occasions at a different time. It would seem that it is time to be ashamed and cease accompanying booklets and other printed material for distribution with the photos of the victims of Kosovo conflict, earthquake in Turkey, Hamas fighters, etc. Gratefully, they do not circulate the Rwanda genocide victims’ photos. But, wait; the representatives of the Armenian Diaspora have again seized such kind of flyers and posters this year. Suppose, there is no money to print new ones, but they can at least give up using the banners from the Armenian site Xocali.net - which reveals the Azerbaijani falsification – in their propaganda events. Moreover, the banner in English itself directly shows that; however, it seems those who use it have some issues with the knowledge of the English language.
The above-mentioned site also presents new unmasking of falsifications based on the Aghdam events ‘eyewitness testimonies’ published during the whole 2014. As a propaganda product by the Azerbaijani side this year, the publication of a major book can be noted which contains ‘eyewitness testimonies.’ It is practically useless, because except for the Armenian experts unmasking falsifications, there are very few people who read such kind of literature, even among the Azerbaijanis.
The Azerbaijani side can’t also make out its lists of casualties, which apart from differing from each other and containing names of sexually mature men who have taken part in military operations and those died in other circumstances at other times, don’t contain 613 names – the officially stated number. Moreover, the Azerbaijani propaganda ‘raised’ the number of the Khojaly residents to 7,000. Also, describing the events, they refer to the HRW report as an authoritative source. It points out a total of 300 casualties. This means that, according to the Azerbaijani propaganda, the remaining 6,300 people reached Aghdam quite safely. This can by no circumstances be qualified as genocide; besides, it also confirms the Armenian side’s claim of a humanitarian corridor’s availability. Considering the list of the 613 people and excluding women, children and old people from it in accordance with the numbers of the Azerbaijani side, we get 347 armed men, that is, more than half of the stated ‘civilians.’
- Does the Azerbaijani side react to the revelations?
- The Azerbaijani side just prefers to ignore the questions which require simple logic; yet these questions do not cease to exist. However, the reaction of the Azerbaijani side is quite clear, as every attempt to make up a justification for inconsistencies serves another reason for the Armenian side to make a noisy unmasking. Actually, we have got into an infinite loop, where one of the sides, lacking facts, makes use of falsifications, which the opposing side vigilantly tracks and reveals.