International forum of Caucasian scientists in Baku« Back
The Caucasus region has not only an important geostrategic and geopolitical position in Greater Eurasia, where the west and east, north and south meet, but also of practical importance for ensuring regional security and stability in Russia, Turkey, Iran and the Transcaucasian republics.
The necessity of holding the First International Forum of Caucasus Studies was due to a number of factors. The key ones were the need to discuss the socio-economic situation of the South Caucasus countries and to reveal the transit potential of these countries with the participation of regional players such as Russia, Turkey and Iran. In this regard, the program of the international forum paid special attention to political development and relations between independent republics. Separately, the organizers of the conference highlighted the historical events of the so-called genocide against the Azerbaijani people and certain aspects of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The holding of this event was especially important after the April (2016) escalation of the armed conflict in the zone of Nagorno-Karabakh.
On April 17-18, 2016, in the capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Baku, with the participation of the Institute of Caucasus Studies of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of the Azerbaijan Republic created in 2016, the First International Forum of Caucasus Studies was held. About 200 experts, including more than 20 foreign participants from Russia (including the Republic of Dagestan and the Chechen Republic), Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Iran, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States took part in this event.
The Russian delegation arrived in Baku on April 16, simultaneously with other foreign participants. It included Gennady Matishov, academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, chairman of the Southern Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Evgeny Krinko, Director of the Institute for Social, Economic and Humanitarian Studies of the Southern Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Ahmet Yarlykapov, Senior Researcher, Center for Caucasus Problems and Regional Security, Institute for International Studies, MGIMO-University (MFA); Lana Ravandi-Fadai, senior researcher of the Iran sector of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Yevgenia Goryushina, research associate, assistant director of the Institute for Social, Economic and Humanitarian Studies of the Southern Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The republics of the North Caucasus also had a high representation. In particular, the Forum was attended by: Shahrudin Gapurov, President and Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Chechen Republic; Magamadov Supyan, Director of the Institute for Humanitarian Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the Chechen Republic; Abbaz Osmayev, chief research officer of the Academy of Sciences of the Chechen Republic; Vakha Magomayev, dean of the Faculty of History of the Chechen State University; Abdulla Bugaev, Leading Researcher of the Academy of Sciences The Chechen Republic; Vakha Magomayev, dean of the Faculty of History of the Chechen State University; Abdulla Bugaev, leading researcher of the Academy of Sciences of the Chechen Republic; Daniyal Kidirniyazov, Leading Researcher of the Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography of the Dagestan Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (DSC RAS); Ruslan Seferbekov, Leading Researcher, Dagestan Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences; And Almas Ismailova, associate professor of the History Department of Dagestan State University. On the same day, a working dinner was organized for foreign participants with the leadership of the Institute of Caucasus Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, Musa Gasimli, a member of the Milli Mejlis of the Azerbaijani Republic.
On the morning of April 17, before the Forum started, foreign delegations together with its organizers - the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan and the Institute of Caucasus Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan visited the Alley of Honor and laid flowers to the grave of Heydar Aliyev. Thus they paid tribute to the memory of the national leader and the First President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Then the Forum participants arrived at the Central Scientific Library of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, where after the execution of the national anthem of Azerbaijan, a plenary session began. Fatma Abdullazade, the head of the Department for Humanitarian Policy of the Administration of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, was the first to speak. She read a congratulatory message from the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to the participants of the international forum with the wishes of success in the further work of the Institute of Caucasus Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan.
Then the President of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, Academician and Deputy Chairman of the New Azerbaijan Party Akif Agamehti oglu Alizade. He noted that the I International Forum of Caucasus Studies will help promote scientists to more actively explore the problems existing in the region, connected both with the history and with the issues of the current state of socio-political and economic life and interaction of the South Caucasus republics, both with each other and with each other With regional and leading countries of the West and Asia. All this, in his opinion, will provide scientific and analytical support to the solution of the problems existing in the region
The plenary session was also addressed by the chairman of the Southern Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Academician Gennady Matishov; Vice-President of the Georgian Academy of Sciences, Academician Roin Metreveli; President of the Academy of Sciences of the Chechen Republic, academician Shahrudin Gapurov; Chairman of the Turkish Historical Organization, Professor Rafig Turan; Full member of the Royal Society for Central Asia and Eastern Studies Mikhail Baskhanov; Professor at the University of Carolina Christopher Gunn; And vice-president of NAS of Azerbaijan, academician Isa Habibbeyli.
In the framework of the plenary session of the Forum, experts noted that the Caucasus is an important region for both theoretical study and conducting applied research. In the light of this, the Forum provides an opportunity for an exchange of views between scientists from different countries, finding ways and points of contact to solve regional problems, and also contributing to the expansion of scientific ties and cooperation between scientific centers.
Further, the Forum continued its work at the sessions of the following sections: "Socio-economic and political situation in the countries of the Caucasus", "Geopolitics of the Caucasus", "Caucasian politics of great powers and neighboring countries", "Relations between the countries of the Caucasus" and "Conflicts in the Caucasus". The representative of the Institute of CIS countries managed to participate in the work of the three sections of the Forum. Thus, in the section "Socio-economic and political situation in the countries of the Caucasus", D.V. Kharitonova made a presentation on the implementation of the International Transport Corridor (ITC) "North-South". In particular, she noted not only the economic and political opportunities for implementing this project, but also the challenges that Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan are facing in implementing it.
First, the original planned transport corridor from South Asia (India) to Northern Europe is currently questioned because of the financial and economic sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) on Russia. Let us note that in France presidential elections are currently held. The second round of such elections is likely to lead to the victory of former economics minister Emmanuel Macron, who advocates the strengthening of US-French relations.
And in Germany, where the election of the Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany will be held this fall, the victory of either Angela Merkel or the equally pro-American Martin Schulz will end. In such circumstances, it is difficult to count on the EU's easing of anti-Russian financial and economic sanctions even in 2018.
Secondly, on May 19, 2017, presidential elections will be held in the Islamic Republic of Iran. If conservatives win after the results of their holding, then the completion of the construction of the Astra-Rasht-Qazvin railway may be postponed indefinitely for financial reasons.
Thirdly, India is the starting point of the route of the MTK "North-South". However, its administrative system is sufficiently bureaucratized, which creates economic risks for the implementation of this project.
In view of the foregoing, it can be concluded that Azerbaijan should act as a bridge between Iran and Russia, as well as Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEC). Consequently, the countries of the former USSR, in particular Russia and Azerbaijan, face the need for mutually beneficial cooperation, since only through joint efforts with the demonstration of the necessary political will of the leaders of states, it is possible to achieve the best welfare for the citizens of their countries.
On the morning of April 18, there was a section devoted to the geopolitics of the Caucasus. In the framework of its conduct, the greatest attention was drawn to the reports of the research associate of the Institute of Social, Economic and Humanitarian Studies of the Southern Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences Evgenia Goriushina; Director of the Center for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Farhad Mammadov and senior researcher of the Center for Caucasus Problems and Regional Security of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations Ahmet Yarylykapov.
So, the report of the Russian expert E.Goryushina was devoted to the peculiarities of political risks of modern Azerbaijan. However, she focused on the ratings of international agencies. According to the expert, the main political risks for the republic are the decline in revenues from the oil and gas industry and the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Azerbaijani expert F. Mammadov in his speech paid attention to the geopolitical identity of Azerbaijan in the context of challenges and prospects of the 21st century. The scientist noted that geopolitical identity consists of several components: national identity, geographic location of the country, history, economy, where the constructivist approach prevails for better understanding of the country's position in the world and its regional and global importance. According to the speaker, Azerbaijan is a crossroads between the west (EU) and the east (the Islamic world, its embodiment is the Organization of Islamic Cooperation), which forces the country to take a pragmatic position.
In conclusion, he concluded that, despite a fairly balanced foreign policy, the republic faces certain challenges. Firstly, this is the lack of priority and certain preferences. Secondly, Azerbaijan is on the periphery (EU, OIC, Türkic Council). Thirdly, this is the influence of large geopolitical centers on Azerbaijan. Nevertheless, the expert believes that Azerbaijan has opportunities to strengthen its influence through integration through triple alliances (regional triangles).
The expert on Islam in the Caucasus A. Yarlykapov made a report on the theme "Modern Islam in the Caucasus in the context of regional conflicts". He noted that Islam is changing very rapidly due to the relevant conditions, factors and specifics of the Caucasus region. Further, the expert presented the number of representatives of the republics of the North Caucasus and the South Caucasus participating in the Syrian conflict on the side of radical Islamists from the radical organization "Islamic State". Nevertheless, the expert is confident of the inevitability of the South Caucasus integration in the fight against common challenges and threats.
Within the framework of the section "Relations between the Caucasian countries", reports were presented on the internal problems of the republics located in the region (for example, the "Armenian community of the Georgian region of Samtskhe-Javakheti"), as well as political relations between them. Thus, the leading researcher of the Institute of Caucasus Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, Doctor of Economics and Philosophy Liliya Mirzazadeh reported on the Azerbaijani-Georgian relations.
In my question, Professor L. Mirzazade pointed out that Georgia is a transit country not only for the supply of energy resources from Azerbaijan to Turkey (the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline mean). Now the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being completed (commissioning in June 2017). In general, Azerbaijani-Georgian relations show positive dynamics, both economically and politically.
But the state of the Armenian-Georgian relations influences this process. In particular, there is a free trade zone between Georgia and Armenia. With its help Armenia carries out ground communication with Europe, Russia and Turkey. As a response, Liliya Mirzazade and the moderator of the section Professor Guram Marhulia (Georgia) expressed the opinion that political actors are sympathetic to this.
After lunch, in the conference hall of the Central Scientific Library, the closing ceremony of the First International Forum of Caucasus Studies was held. The organizers, represented by the director of the Institute of Caucasus Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, Professor Musa Gasimli and participants of the international forum shared their impressions of the work done in preparation and their participation in this event. A great deal of preparatory and organizational work was done by the Institute of Caucasus Studies of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences. As a consequence, the opinion of each participant of the Forum was heard.
Thus, the holding of international forums dedicated to both the Caucasus and the space of Greater Eurasia provides a full understanding of the different points of view of experts and analysts on the socio-political, economic and historical processes taking place in these regions. They serve as an indispensable tool for further analytical work in these areas. And it would be highly desirable that such events include representatives of the Institute of CIS countries.
Kharitonova Darya Viktorovna - Researcher of the Department of Eurasian Integration and Development of the SCO Institute of CIS Countries