Tsukerman discusses mines, Armenian politics in CBC appearance

Editorial | Republic Underground

March 6, 2021

Above image is a screencapture of the CBC broadcast on March 1, 2021. Shared here for fair use illustration purposes. See Section 107 U.S. Copyright Act for more. 

Note: This broadcast has been translated from Russian. An audit of the translation is being conducted. 

On March 1, CBC TV’s geopolitical panel hosted Republic Underground media vice president Irina Tsukerman. The program invited Tsukerman to speak live with the CBC program, after having appeared on the program via video conference app calls such as Zoom and Skype in the past. See one of Tsukerman’s previous appearances via YouTube. 

“Live talks are better,” said the program’s producer. 

On the live show, Tsukerman and the CBC anchorman discussed the “hypocritical” behavior of the Armenian government following the events of the Karabakh conflict in 2020. The program opened on the topic of the Azerbaijani President Aliyev’s press conference, and how Aliyev had addressed the behavior of Armenia, as Armenia’s recent political crisis has been a cause for great concern from the Azerbaijani side. The CBC news anchor noted how Aliyev had discussed the intense ordeal and problems that Azerbaijan was faced with itself over the occupation. 

Discussion on the state of Karabakh post-occupation, demining process

The producer asked Tsukerman what her opinions were regarding Yerevan’s reluctant approach to the mine-clearing process in the Karabakh region. He could not recall any clear statement from Yerevan regarding their stance on clearing mines from the shared border region. The question hung on whether or not Yerevan would provide Azerbaijan with maps of the whereabouts of the mines so that the removal process could come underway. 

Tsukerman stated that, in her opinion, Yerevan was seeking revenge for their defeat in the Second Karabakh war by failing to aid the mine-clearing process. By leaving live mines in the ground in the shared border region, Yerevan ensures the potential for future victims in the Karabakh region. She made a note of how, even though they lived in the territory for almost 30 years, the Armenian occupation did not leave any of the structures they had built. She questioned why they would do this, and used this conduct as an example of her opinion that their current attitude is vengeful. 

Yet, the delay of the process, stated Tsukerman, interferes with the Armenian forces in the region themselves, on their side of the border.  

The threat of mines 

The threat of mines is still an ever-present thorn in the flesh of Azerbaijan in the aftermath of the war. The Washington Post reported within the past week that one woman’s garden in Karabakh is replete with mines, and serves as a reminder of how close the ordinance of the conflict comes to the doorstep of civilians. 

The Armen Press states that Russia continues to do the heavy lifting in regards to regional mine clearing. Armen Press posted that Russian deminers had cleared nearly 1343,3 hectares of land in Nagorno Karabakh as of February 12. Despite these statements, reports from such as The Washington Post that refer to the bomb garden found in a civilian’s yard suggests that this effort has been only partially efficient in making the Karabakh a safe place to inhabit post-conflict. 

Aliyev’s conference and foreign journalists 

The conversation then turned to Aliyev’s four-hour press conference which invited journalists and foreign journalists to a nearly four-hour-long discussion with the head of state. The CBC producer noted that the discussion seemed to be quite open. He asked Tsukerman what her thoughts were on the conference by the head of state. 

Regarding U.S. Foreign Relations Amendment 907 

The conversation also touched upon the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Amendment 907, which was legislation that has existed since 1992, which limits the amount of assistance sent to the Azerbaijani government. The legislation demands that this aid be limited until the Azerbaijani government “takes demonstrable steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.” 

This amendment has been influenced by the Armenian lobby within the United States and continues to show how the west has taken a direct political position in the Karabakh conflict. In June 2020, a few months before the official resurgence of the Second Karabakh conflict, Democratic New Jersey senator Bob Menendez petitioned the Government Accountability Office to open a review of assistance to Azerbaijan. Menendez was seeking to prove that Azerbaijan had not met the requirements of this legislation, and despite that fact, U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan had “skyrocketed” in recent years. 

The CBC news anchor asked Tsukerman her thoughts on the outdated 907th amendment. He asked Tsukerman what her opinion was on how the 907 appeared to be outdated as talks between Baku, Russia, and Yerevan has moved forward. Current talks speak of unblocking communications, and if only in principle, the process has started to a more open dialogue. 

Tsukerman stated that it would be better if the 907th amendment was not used again, because the Armenian lobby will try to persuade the views of the U.S. President and the Democratic-led Congress to their advantage.