As a result of the collapse of the USSR, the established or reestablished countries secured the legal succession of the states, located in these territories before the formation of the Soviet Union, in their declarations of independence and other fundamental documents for the country. The Republic of Azerbaijan also used this right.
Azerbaijan, as a state, appeared at the end of May 1918 as a result of the collapse of the Russian Empire, and then the Transcaucasian Seim. Let’s have a look at the map of the newly-made states of Transcaucasia:
This is a fragment of the world atlas published in the UK in 1919. It depicts the Georgian Democratic Republic, the First Armenian Republic, and the Musavat Republic (also known as the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic) with internationally recognized borders of three states even before the Arbitral Award of American President Woodrow Wilson and the Peace Treaty of Sèvres (August and November 1920, respectively), which determined the boundaries of the states formed as a result of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
As we can see, such territories as Artsakh (Karabakh) and Naxcivan (Nakhichevan) were not part of Azerbaijan – for the world community, these areas were disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and their destiny was to be decided at the Paris Peace Conference. Nakhichevan was controlled by Armenia, and Artsakh was independent (in the spring of 1920, the Karabakh Council of Armenians proclaimed itself a part of the Armenian Republic).
Today, official Baku (the city of Baku was not controlled by the Azerbaijani authorities in 1918-1920) is trying to extend its sovereignty to territories that have never been part of independent Azerbaijan but were already transferred to the Azerbaijan Soviet Republic by the third countries (Peace Treaty of Moscow of 1921).
An interesting fact:
The Moscow Treaty of 1921 was signed by Soviet Russia on the one hand and Kemalist Turkey on the other. The power of the Bolsheviks in Russia and the Kemalist government in Turkey at the time of the conclusion of the treaty were not recognized by any of the world’s great powers and were illegitimate from the point of view of the League of Nations (the predecessor of the UN). It was these governments that decided the destiny of the already Sovietized Armenia and Azerbaijan, transferring, according to this agreement, the Armenian-populated territories to Soviet Azerbaijan.
Thus, declaring itself the legal successor of the state, which did not include the territories transferred after the “annexation by the RSFSR” (this idea is enshrined in the constitutional act as of October 18, 1991), seizing on the borders of the Soviet republic, Azerbaijan encroaches on the right of the people of Artsakh to decide their destiny.
It turns out that on the one hand, the leadership of Azerbaijan is satisfied with the borders of the Soviet republic and the Treaty of Kars (enshrining the Treaty of Moscow of 1921), which was signed by the representatives of this republic, but on the other hand, the entire Soviet period is officially called annexation.
In contrast to Azerbaijan, one can see the logic in the actions of the Armenian government during the re-establishment of the state in 1990-1991.
The Declaration of Independence of Armenia dated August 23, 1990, is “…Based on the December 1, 1989, joint decision of the Armenian SSR Supreme Council and the Artsakh National Council on the “Reunification of the Armenian SSR and the Mountainous Region of Karabakh.”
Proceeding from the legal succession of Azerbaijan and the illegitimate transfer of territories by the third party from one side to the other, the Nakhichevan region is held by Azerbaijan as an autonomous republic, without any legal and moral grounds for that. In this context, the entire foreign policy of Azerbaijan is aimed at capturing Artsakh, while Nakhichevan is illegally included in the territories of the republic, and the fundamental documents of both republics are given thought to ask: “Shouldn’t the issue of Nakhichevan be raised in the international arena?”