Opening Asia for Russia

07.03.2021 45 просмотров

The painstaking work of peacekeepers, sappers and rescuers will require huge resources and decades to restore the war-torn land.

I spoke with the well-known Azerbaijani military observer, author and host of the weekly analytical project "Radius" on the Azerbaijani ITV television channel, Heydar Mirza, who told me about the difficult situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.

All hope for the engineers…

< /b>

-At a press conference, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that Baku had purchased modern mine-clearing equipment from Ankara. Do you know how much the purchase was made for? And what equipment do they use?

- According to open information, Azerbaijan purchased 20 pieces of equipment from Turkey, the cost of which was not disclosed, because it new development. Since there have been no sales yet, there are no exact market figures from which to build. But if we take into account that the T-90 tank costs about 4 million dollars, then we can assume that the acquired modern equipment will cost 3 times cheaper, since it is focused exclusively on anti-personnel mines. 


T-90 Vladimir  - the main Russian battle tank. After the death of the chief designer of this armored vehicle, Vladimir Potkin, the government of the Russian Federation decided to give the car the name "Vladimir", in honor of its creator.

If each unit of such equipment costs about a million, then, accordingly, this contract will be concluded for a maximum of 20 million dollars.

You asked what equipment will be used ... Demining is a rather complex process that depends on many factors. It so happened that hostilities ended in late autumn, and now a slow post-conflict recovery is underway. The weather does not allow work to be carried out quickly. In winter, cleaning began on the mountainous terrain, but there is now snow, and this complicated the task. Mine clearance is not as active, but you need to understand that there is a strategic project to restore infrastructure, and some part of this project is already underway as part of road works. The main problem at the moment is anti-personnel mines , most of which sappers neutralize manually. Good and modern equipment, including autonomous and remotely controlled vehicles purchased in Turkey, is not enough. There are many areas, such as difficult terrain, rocky terrain or gorges, where they are not applicable.

Technical capabilities for demining are expanding, but , given the specifics of Karabakh, we understand that the main burden will fall on the military, who will clear the area with their hands and detectors.


According to the existing agreement, 136 Turkish sappers, including dog handlers, are involved in demining. From September 27, from the start of hostilities, to February 12, 8972 mines and 6559 unexploded ordnance were cleared.

Russia can offer its own equipment

- Why was the contract for the purchase of equipment concluded with Turkey? Do they have the best price-quality ratio or is this a political step of the leadership of Azerbaijan? Can Russia offer the appropriate equipment to the Azerbaijani side at the moment?

- I am sure that the Russian side can also offer its modern equipment, because Russia is actively working in this direction. In recent years, at the ADEX defense exhibition in Azerbaijan, Russian partners have presented interesting pieces of equipment, including mine-clearing equipment.  


ADEX Exhibition is a platform for displaying the latest weapons and concluding agreements in the field of international military-technical cooperation. In 2016, 216 companies from 34 countries took part in it. Most companies were represented by Turkey (42 companies), Russia (14 companies) and Israel (14 companies).

With Turkey, this package agreement is politically character. Over the past decades, we have been cooperating with the Russian side, since most of our weapons and equipment come from Russia. But in some areas, our servicemen are accustomed to working with the Turkish side,  quickly mastering their technique and training methods for briefing. I think that the scale of work is huge, and we will not limit ourselves to them. 

There are Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh who control the separation of forces, respectively, they also have their own technology and methodology for mine clearance, which they have been doing since the first day of their arrival.   

Almost 30 years have passed since the ceasefire after the first Karabakh conflict (May 12, 1994) until the last one (November 10, 2020). Three and a half months have passed since the end of hostilities in the 44-day war, but the progress in the restoration of the territory is already enormous.

Screenshot 2021-03-07 at 11.03.23.png .ru  

Cooperation with Russian partners is inevitable…

Azerbaijan plans to attract Russian companies to restore the territory? What kind of work do you think Russia will be involved in? What Russian enterprises might be interested in this? 

- Now it is difficult to say which companies will be involved ... Agreements are concluded behind closed doors. Given the leading role of Moscow and Ankara in achieving post-conflict stability, I am sure that a serious balance will be struck and no one will be offended. I have a firm conviction that areas of work related to civilian infrastructure will be restored with the Russian side,  strategic facilities, including utility and energy networks.  In addition, the Russian side has rich experience in major projects such as the Crimean bridge, the restoration of Chechnya in the North Caucasus after the antiterrorist operation and, most importantly, experience in public-private partnerships. As practice shows, large private partners with joint experience with the public sector are better able to cope with such projects. 

Vladimir Putin created a vice-premier's commission, which has close ties with the Azerbaijani side. Its work is aimed at restoring the transport system, respectively, in this part we will soon see the first Russian partners. Information will appear in open sources only after reached agreements. The leaders of the countries are doing the right thing by working behind closed doors, because the situation in Armenia is now unstable, and any information that becomes public may have a negative impact on the political situation in this country. 

We are talking about territories that in Soviet times provided 35-40% of Azerbaijan's agricultural products, and the demand for these products is high, primarily on the Russian market. Accordingly, if a project is developed to restore targeted agriculture aimed at export, cooperation with Russian partners is inevitable. The commercial projects that will be carried out in these territories will all be peacekeeping in their essence, because they will revive the economy, create new jobs and increase demand for services. 

Wishing alone is not enough... 

- As we know, in Laos, during the Vietnam War, minefields were purposefully created. As a result, up to 200 people die every year in explosions. Do you think Azerbaijan may face a similar problem? How to avoid it? After all, Armenia has not yet provided maps of minefields... 

- The parties do not provide maps to each other, there are international organizations that deal with these issues. Pre-war minefields are static, known positions that will be cleared fairly quickly.

Mines laid during the war pose a serious danger. First of all, they are established by the side that retreats. During the retreat, panic arises, people die, & nbsp; there is & nbsp; the destruction of headquarters and communication centers. Part of the personnel retreats and, leaving from their location, sets mines anywhere. Given the specifics of these 44 days, it is not a fact that a map was drawn up, that the military personnel survived. Therefore, if the Armenian side is willing to provide maps, this does not mean that they will be able to do so. Unexploded ordnance poses the same danger as mines. And if the minefields have at least some accuracy, then the projectile will be where it flew into. He will lie there in 50 and 100 years. 

I lived for 4 years in Germany near Berlin in Potsdam. Once every 2 months, the Berlin-Potsdam railway is blocked, because bombs and shells from World War II are found there. Almost a century has passed, and they are still being found, so this work will be long and painstaking.


Read also

Partner news