any case we must negotiate with Azerbaijan
and solve with him our common problem,"
says Arkadi Ghukasyan, President of Karabakh.
Will the newly elected Azerbaijani president
have enough power and support inside the
country to respond to experienced president's
Ilham Aliev's election as President of Azerbaijan
was received calmly in the unrecognized Nagorno
Karabakh Republic (NKR). Most here view his election
(by a landside victory Wednesday) through speculation
of how the outgoing president's son might approach
the issue of settling the Karabakh conflict.
NKR President Arkady Ghukasyan says it is premature
to draw conclusions concerning the new president
of Azerbaijan and his political steps regarding
the Karabakh issue.
"In point of fact Ilham Aliev hasn't proved
himself up to now," Ghukasyan told representatives
of Russian Mass Media in Stepanakert. Ghukasyan
judges Ilham Aliev's recent harsh statements addressed
to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, as pre-election
populist rhetoric. In this connection he expressed
apprehensions that in the future the newly elected
president could become a hostage of those statements.
"In any case we must negotiate with Azerbaijan
and solve with him our common problem," said
Ghukasyan. The NKR president says resuming peace
negotiations must take a "risk of peace",
namely, take compromise steps by Ilham Aliev's
administration, which are not popular among his
NKR presidential political adviser Manvel Sargsyan
expressed hope that the "experience of Aliev
senior and his leaning towards resolution of the
conflict would transmit to Aliev junior. Further
development of the process on the settlement in
many ways will depend on Ilham Aliev's ability
of setting up stable and strong power in Azerbaijan."
"With Ilham Aliev's rise to power, no changes
of Azerbaijan's position on the settlement of
Karabakh conflict are expected," said the
chairman of the Parliamentary Commission for Foreign
Relations of NKR Vahram Atanesyan.
But Atanesyan also speculated that the junior
Aliev may have a tenuous hold on his power, coming
as it has "on the wave of his father's charisma
and indisputable authority."
If the new president can't settle the Karabakh
issue to Azeri liking, i.e., retaking Karabakh
as a legal and constitutional region of Azerbaijan,
certain radical factions could rise in revolt
against him. Such a possibility "will increase
after Heydar Aliev's death," Atanesyan said.
Independent political experts of Nagorno Karabakh
expressed similar opinions.
Political analyst Alexander Grigoryan is sure
that Ilham Aliev won't establish a de facto power
base in the country. "People who have total
control over power structures wield real power
in such countries as Azerbaijan, where values
of totalitarianism prevail over all other parameters
of state structure," Grigoryan says. "That
was indeed the case under the rule of Heydar Aliev,
who had initially put his people at the head of
power departments such as Ministry of Defense,
Ministry of Internal Affairs as well as Ministry
of National Security."
But the younger Aliev has come to power largely
as a result of that already-existing base, Grigoryan
says. And "thus, it will not be the president
who will be controlling activities of his power
ministries but these ministries will be keeping
the president's behavior under their observation."
Concerning a potential peace settlement, Grigoryan
says any proposal by the OSCE Minsk Group will
be rejected by Azerbaijan if it requires "real
Georgy Ghazaryan, head of the non-governmental
socio-political organization Democratic Reforms
and Human Rights takes a slightly different view.
He believes that Ilham Aliev might be obliged
to his allies in the United States, Russia, Turkey,
France and other countries where his succession
to his father was endorsed.
"Ilham realizes that these countries rendered
their assistance to him so that he could preserve
stability in the region and settle on a compromise
concerning resolution of the Karabakh problem,"
In whole, politicians and political analysts
as well as a number of other influential representatives
of Karabakh society have one common opinion that
Ilham Aliev is more predictable and more responsible
for whatever he does than his campaign opponents
who were perceived as radical nationalists.
That perception leads many in Karabakh to believe
that the eight-year cease fire will hold under
Ilham Aliev's administration.