Azerbaijani President enjoys Russians' strongest support in South Caucasus

By Vestnik Kavkaza
Azerbaijani President enjoys Russians' strongest support in South Caucasus

The Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) conducted an annual survey of the attitude of Russians towards the CIS member states, trying to find out how the changing political situation in the world affects the attitude of Russians to their neighbors, whom our compatriots trust more among the CIS leaders, where, in their opinion, rights of the Russian-speaking population are better secured and how the attitude of Russians towards these problems changes over time.

At a press conference in TASS, this study was commented on by the director of VCIOM special programs Elena Mihaylova, the director of the Institute of Regional Problems, Dmitry Zhuravlev, the Director of the Institute of International Studies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Andrey Kazantsev, and the deputy director general of the Information Analytical Center for study of social and political processes in post-Soviet space of Moscow State University Ismail Agakishiev.

"The poll is based not on expert assessments, but on opinions of people who does not know the situation in neighboring countries that well. Nevertheless, the study is of great interest. The figures obtained from the survey are, on the one hand, encouraging, but on the other hand, they raise a lot of questions about the reality in which we live," Agakishiev said.

According to the survey, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Azerbaijan are among the four most successful and stable states. These countries were also named Russia's most reliable partners in the international arena and states where the political, social, and civil rights of the Russian-speaking population are the most secured.

According to Agakishiev, the diaspora and the media play an important role in shaping opinions of Russians: "No one can deny the role of mass media, especially central media, in shaping public opinion, including the representation of one or another ethnic group in the central media. Some ethnic groups are better represented in the mass media, their representatives are in a talk shows, speaking about Russia's interests, and the viewers have the impression that people in the homeland of representatives of these nationalities hold the same friendly attitude to Russia as these specific people."

"On the other hand, according to Ismail Agakishiev, we cannot forget about those Russians living in these republics. If you look at the South Caucasus, then 15 thousand Russians live in Armenia, 150 thousand - in Azerbaijan. In terms of attention to Russian language, Azerbaijan remains one of the leaders in knowledge of Russian language. Russian language is studied in schools and universities there. This indicates that today, representatives of Russia can feel comfortable in Azerbaijan. And in the future, when today's schoolchildren and students who study Russian language will grow up, we will get a guarantee that Russian language will be preserved, and Russian-speakers will feel comfortable in Azerbaijan as before. "

The expert also noted that Belarus and Kazakhstan occupy two leading positions in most of the survey articles not containing the national issue: "Belarus has a Slavic population,  Russian-speaking people, and in Kazakhstan, both Russians, Kazakhs and many other peoples live. Kazakhs and Russians differ in their language, culture and history, but the results of the survey indicate how effectively the national issue is being solved in Kazakhstan. Moreover, I note that this is largely due to the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, his successful national policy. "

"The national issue, according to Agakishiev, is one of the most delicate. Today, it is widely said that the problems in the post-Soviet space are the vestiges of the Soviet Union. I consider such a position to be complete nonsense and stupidity. There have always been national problems, and a wise leader is one who finds common between peoples and creates a common family, a common society. Values ​​of a common society allow people to live in this society comfortably regardless of nationality. This can be achieved when management is ready for actions, and this value is the main thing for it. This was done both in multiethnic Kazakhstan and in multinational Azerbaijan. In Armenia, by the way, this issue is not so acute - it is practically a mono-national country where 90% of the citizens are Armenians. "

Alexander Lukashenko, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Ilham Aliyev are the three leaders in the people's rating of confidence in the heads of the CIS member states.

"The heads of state issue has always been very serious for Russia. This is very important for the state, which, in terms of geopolitical confrontation, needs peace near its borders, needs trust of the leaders of neighboring countries. We are witnessing regular meetings between Putin, Nazarbayev and Lukashenko, and the same exclusively trusting attitude of is established between the country's leader and Ilham Aliyev. Now we see that Aliyev is trusted not only by the leadership of the Russian Federation, but also by Russia's population. If there are stereotypes in some other issues, as well as history and traditions play a big role, then in the matter of trust to the heads of state, the poll shows that the president of Azerbaijan enjoys the greatest confidence in the South Caucasus. To date, it is the heads of the three above-mentioned republics that can be responsible for their words and actions," Agakishiev believes.

According to the expert, the poll conducted by VCIOM is not the first study, according to the results of which, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Azerbaijan are named as main allies of Russia, but it is necessary to continue a cohesion policy so that next time we see the growth of this trust and goodwill between our peoples.