Azerbaijan has launched a criminal case against a member of Russia’s parliament who threatened the country with nuclear war.
Mikhail Delyagin, the deputy chair of the Duma’s Economic Policy Committee, came to the attention of Baku while he was on a March 27 panel discussion on Russia’s state television devoted to recently heightened tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Delyagin said that Azerbaijan was to blame for violating the ceasefire and refusing to withdraw from a village it had advanced into, in contravention of demands from the Russian peacekeeping mission in Karabakh.
Delyagin called Azerbaijan a “satellite of the Americans” and a “Turkish proxy” that represented “a real threat.” He continued: “If we don’t directly and harshly punish Azerbaijan for this, why do we need Azerbaijan’s oil and gas industry? We don’t. If people don’t understand words, then maybe we need to take action.”
Following the broadcast, Delyagin then posted a poll on his Telegram channel asking followers if it would be justified to “destroy Azerbaijan’s oil industry with a nuclear weapon.” About 28% of the respondents said, “Yes, the Turkish proxies in Baku will not understand anything else,” and a further 13% said, “Yes, but it’s impossible due to the influence of the Azerbaijani mafia on the Russian authorities.” (The other option was “No, this is unacceptable.”)
Delyagin’s comments were swiftly condemned by senior Russian officials.