June 26 in Azerbaijan marked the Day of the Armed Forces. The army, created in 1918, was formed both during the 2-year-old republic, and in 1991, during the restoration of Azerbaijan’s independence during the war and the ceasefire.
Jasur Sumerinli, head of the Military Research Institute “Caspian”, answering the questions of Meydan TV, said that it is difficult to determine at what stage of development the Azerbaijani army is at present. According to the results of his research, he believes that a relative period of significant development in the Army was observed in 2002-2009:
“The implemented transformations are mainly aimed at a number of changes in the existing normative acts and documents, on cooperation with the media and the public, on strengthening military cooperation with the US and Turkey, on a number of changes in the armed forces in the framework of cooperation with NATO. At the same time, the cadres trained in the armed forces of NATO have begun to become more active. ”
But the expert believes that all of the above does not give grounds to call the Azerbaijani army fully developed: “As in this period there were serious violations of the law, death among soldiers, violence, hazing, and most importantly, bribery and corruption were observed.”
According to Jasur Sumerinli, the development of the Azerbaijani army is not rising, but falling, and this is manifested very clearly:
“The servicemen have serious problems with social security, there is no transparency and accountability, and there is no talk of any public responsibility, the strategy of building the army is still not known, decisions about the army are taken within certain groups and are not coordinated with the legislative authorities. The realities make us question the veracity of the statements about the developing army. ”
Sumaranli also touched upon the issue of spending on the military sphere and the salaries of officers:
“Since 2007, military expenditures have increased dramatically, and this pace was preserved until the end of 2015. First, the government increased the salaries of military personnel. Earlier, an officer of the rank of lieutenant received a salary of about 70-90 manats, then in the next 2-3 years this figure rose to 400-600 manats. This, of course, greatly improved the social situation of the military. Then the government provided apartments for officers meeting certain requirements. Officers, though not many, were provided with housing. But starting somewhere in 2013, the government’s policy aimed at improving the social situation in the army was discontinued, and instead it began buying weapons and military equipment from Russia and Israel, which were estimated at a billion dollars. After the devaluation of the manat, the expenditures allocated to the army have significantly decreased. ”
Answering questions about the “hunt” for traitors in the army after the military operation on April 1-5, 2016 and the arrest of more than forty people, the expert replied that there had never been such high-profile statements about the betrayal of the Motherland:
“In fact, much is still silent. There is an opinion that this is the result of internal squabbles in the government itself. ”
Sumarinli also noted that the Azerbaijani army suffered the most losses after the announcement of the ceasefire in 2016.
“We began monitoring losses by the beginning of 2003. In general, at the time of Safar Abiyev (editor – former defense minister of Azerbaijan) Basically, there were non-combat losses, mostly suicide. And under Zakir Hasanov, the number of victims on the front line increased several times.”