Azeri Money Aims to Manipulate Academic Discourse on Artsakh

University of Birmingham

Increasingly, academia is being bought out in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as Azerbaijan aggressively funds anti-Armenian discourse disguised as scholarship and objective research. The latest fruits of such “investments” are observable at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.

On Wednesday, Nov. 26, the University of Birmingham hosts a round-table event which includes the ex-co-chair of the Minsk Group, as well as a several academics as speakers. The title of the event is “The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: The Uses and Misuses of History.” Although the university setting and the attendance of academics bestows an air of legitimacy to the discussion, what is not disclosed in the event’s announcement is the fact that two of the academics in attendance, the Chair, Dr. Galina Yemelianova, and speaker Dr Kamala Imranli-Lowe, are currently working on a project funded by the “Council on State Support for Non-Government Organizations of Azerbaijan,” an Azerbaijani state institution. As the publicly available university report states, “In August 2013 Dr Yemelianova submitted a research proposal on Western Framing of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict to the Council on Non-Government Organisations of Azerbaijan. The proposal was accepted and the project will start on 1 January 2014. Dr Kamala Imranli-Lowe will be employed as a Research Fellow.”

Given these facts, it is especially worth noting that no Armenian scholars are speaking at the event.

Furthermore, the speaker, Dr. Imranli-Lowe, based on her research, espouses a clear anti-Armenian bias. Her latest publication seeks to delegitimize Armenian claims to Nagorno-Karabakh during the 1918 Paris Peace Conference. This article has been academically peer-reviewed and aims to distort academic discourse on the issue.

Academic discussions about Nagorno-Karabakh are important, and a diversity of voices in these same discussions is necessary. It is however inconceivable that with the presence of such a conflict of interest and the lack of an Armenian speaker, that there could be a legitimate discussion about the issue. One-sided events like this panel discussion are able to take place because they receive no resistance, especially in universities with virtually no Armenians. They are able to perpetuate and develop their anti-Armenian rhetoric under the guise of academic objectivity. Provided below are the email address of the co-directors of the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Birmingham, Richard Connolly and Jeremy Morris as well as the email address for the chair of the event, Galina Yemelionova. Please take a moment to write to them to express your disapproval.

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9 Comments

  1. Harutuyn said:

    NO worries my brothers and sisters BP is pumping oil from Baku and now UK is getting their money back thats all , please do not let this get on our way it is only in due time that azeris will run out of oil , please look at it this way we won the war in Nagorno-Kharabagh plus liberated our historic lands the 7 provinces from Baku , yes the 7 provinces FYI Baku forgot that the land they live in right now as we speak is a historical Armenian lands from Tigran the great and yes Change is coming for more lands to be liberated as i speak.
    Change is good AMEN AND HAPPY THANKS GIVING TO MY PEOPLE FROM HARUTUYN

  2. Vartan said:

    It is commendable to see this kind of interest to counter Azerbaijani distortions of history. Please bear in mind, however, that *there is* one speaker who provides the diversity of voices and may actually represent the Armenian viewpoint: Dr. Joanne Laycock, senior lecturer in history at Sheffield Hallam University. Here’s her profile from http://www.shu.ac.uk:

    “Research Interests

    Histories of modern Armenia and the South Caucasus
    Refugees, population displacement and diasporas
    Transnational histories of humanitarianism
    Histories of conflict, genocide and their aftermaths

    Current Research

    My first monograph, Imagining Armenia, examined British representations of Armenia and the ways in which they shaped responses to the Armenian genocide and refugee crisis which followed in its wake. I have also written on the repatriation of diaspora Armenians to the Soviet Union in the aftermath of the Second World War. My current research addresses the history of Armenia and the Caucasus in transnational context, focusing on the aftermaths of crisis and upheaval at the start and end of the Soviet period. In particular, I am interested in refugee relief and the construction of the Soviet state in Armenia in the post-WWI period and international response to the Armenian earthquake in 1988. More broadly, I am interested in the place of the Soviet Union in emerging transnational histories of humanitarianism.
    I am also currently working on a collaborative project, planning a series of events reflecting on the centenary of the Armenian Genocide.”

  3. Victoria Hudson said:

    I was quite surprised by the content and tone of this anonymous piece, which neglects to mention that there are two Armenian scholars within CREES (Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies) alone. I hope they will attend this afternoon’s event and offer their insights in response to the presentations, as is normal in an academic event.

    The piece bandies about highly subjective and emotionally weighted terms such as ‘aggressive’, ‘discourse disguised as scholarship’ ‘aims to distort’ without providing any grounds for casting such negative aspersions.

    In its appeal to emotions, rather than reasoned argument, one must wonder about the motivations of the piece. While the event may highlight perspectives that are contrary to those of the writer, surely analysis is required before dismissing these contributions as ‘distortion’.

    It is to be hoped that events such as this one and the one tomorrow provide an opportunity for a constructive exchange of views and perspectives and a rounded discussion. Cool heads are required for such work, however.

    • Random Armenian said:

      Victoria Hudson,

      What is your interest in this subject.

      Turkey has been denying and covering up the Armenian genocide since the end of WW1. After the Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijan has actively become involved in the denial of the genocide, even though it had nothing to do with them. The Azeri leadership has publicly made very anti-Armenian, hateful commentary. Declared that Armenians across the globe are their enemy. Barred anyone with Armenian sounding last names from entering a country, including an ethnic Turk with a name ending in -yan.

      The Azeri leadership has been deliberately pushing anti-Armenian feelings within and outside of Azerbaijan. So it’s *expected* that an Azeri state program such as the one mentioned in the article, would not have an anti-Armenian agenda. Any research into the Caucauses and Armenians, funded by the Azeri government must be viewed in this context.

  4. Kevin Abrahamian said:

    Outrageous, but not at all surprising! The British don’t need Azeri money for they have long been the single most anti-Armenian country in Europe. Britain has been the leading supporter of Turkey and Azerbaijan for decades now. The British museum presents ancient Armenian artifacts as “ancient Turkey” and “ancient Azerbaijan”. Britain trained the Islamist scum which massacred the Armenians in Kessab and elsewhere in Syria. Britain openly and shamelessly DENIES the Armenian Genocide, they do not try to “minimize” it like the US or even the current Turkish regime, they instead actively deny the Armenian Genocide like Turkish ultranationalists and the Israeli government does. Britain fought against the Russian Empire in the Crimean War on the side of Turkey, which ultimately allowed the Armenian Genocide to take place a few decades later by weakening the support that Orthodox Christian Russia could provide to Western Armenia. British energy companies, when they aren’t busy ruining the Gulf of Mexico, have been the driving force behind turning the economically bankrupt Azerbaijan of 2004 into the multibillion-dollar petrostate it has evolved into over the past decade. Britain was involved in planning a regime change in Armenia in 2007 as evidenced by the secret recording which was released between a very high ranking British embassy official and Arthur Baghdasaryan discussing how to manipulate the results of the upcoming vote in order to stir up discontent and riots in Yerevan. Britain is allied to Turkey through the NATO mutual defense agreement.

    The above is only a partial list, it could go on much longer listing the anti-Armenian nature of Britain. Thank God Mother Russia is back on its feet and once again keeping the British and their toxic colonialist and exploitation safely outside of Armenia’s borders. God Bless the Russo-Armenian alliance and protect it from all enemies foreign and domestic!

    Kevin Abrahamian,
    Glendale. Greenpeace. Armenian.

  5. seto zoravar said:

    I ask all my Armenian brothers and sisters to unite and work together for one goal only , preserve and defend our beloved homeland and our Armenian nation .

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