Armenian PM resists: "Either Russians fight for us with Azerbaijan, or we head to West"
Sergei Markov on Caliber.Az
INTERVIEWS 05 October 2022 - 17:39
In an interview with Caliber.Az, Russian public figure, political scientist, and Director-General of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov has stated that Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and other Yerevan figures are trying to force Russia to support Armenia in the still ongoing Armenian-Azerbaijani confrontation. Otherwise, Moscow is predicted to lose its "outpost in the Caucasus".
Commenting on Pashinyan's recent interview with the Armenian Public TV channel, the political scientist stressed that Yerevan is actually presenting an ultimatum to Russia in this way – if it does not provide serious support to Yerevan, then Armenia will withdraw from the list of Russia's allies.
"In addition, Yerevan is building allied relations with the enemies of the Russian Federation in the face of the United States and France through practical actions. The problem is that Armenia is losing the territories of Azerbaijan captured 30 years ago, it has actually already lost most of them as a result of the Second Karabakh War. It is obvious that a stronger Azerbaijani army will soon regain control over the entire remaining territory of Karabakh. This will most likely happen in three years, when the current trilateral agreement signed in November 2020 expires. But it is possible that this may happen earlier. Anyway, this deadline is approaching, and the Armenian army is much weaker, it will not be able to fight and will suffer a crushing defeat. As a result, Pashinyan's fate may turn out to be unenviable – he can easily be liquidated by some Armenian nationalists," Markov recalls.
Moreover, as the Russian expert suggests that Armenia may well lose other territories that are now part of it. In particular, we are talking about Zangazur, which is of strategic importance because it connects Nakhchivan with mainland Azerbaijan, and in general Azerbaijan with Türkiye.
"However, Zangazur also connects Armenia with Iran and is one of the most important exits for this country, since it is in a logistical blockade. In these circumstances, Armenia's strategic line is to have its interests protected by someone else, a larger state, since it cannot protect its own interests. Yerevan used to count on Moscow, but Russia refuses to fight against Azerbaijan and for the interests of Armenia. Moscow prefers to take a neutral position on this issue and even leans more towards Azerbaijan. Not to mention the fact that the majority of the CSTO members are actually on Baku's side. Not only Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan are countries with Muslim populations, but even the Christian Orthodox Belarus. Minsk is inclined to support Azerbaijan on the Karabakh issue.
And in these conditions, when Armenia cannot send Russian soldiers to fight instead of itself, it decided to involve the French and American military. Or some of their junior allies. And this strategy of Pashinyan is supported by the fact that there are influential Armenian communities in France and the United States. It can be said that today the positions of the United States and France are the most pro-Armenian ones in the world. The factor of the USA and France also plays a role in the OSCE Minsk Group on Karabakh. And although this group does not actually exist now due to the complete failure of its activities, it has not formally been dissolved yet, and Washington and Paris are pressing to resume the work of the Minsk Group," our interlocutor said.
Markov believes that another significant factor of Armenia's current policy is that Pashinyan and his team members have openly adhered to a pro-Western orientation and demonstrated dissatisfaction with Russia. Moreover, Armenian citizens seem to like such a geopolitical reversal very much. There is a certain disappointment in Moscow in the Armenian society, which is usually loyal to the Russian Federation. Again, Russia refused to send its soldiers to fight for Armenia's interests. Therefore, speaking out against Russia, Pashinyan does not risk anything - it is now, despite the anti-Russian views of the prime minister, not so dangerous.
At the same time, the Russian political scientist emphasizes that any common strategic course must have a justification, and Pashinyan's various claims against Russia can be regarded as a justification for this course.
"The Armenian prime minister will find these justifications all the time. Moreover, if the claims concerning the fact that Russia has not supported Armenia in recent months are quite real, then there are also general claims, in particular his statement about Russian weapons. Russia has been arming Armenia for decades, and at very low prices and even for free. And what did she get in response from Pashinyan? Yerevan decided to buy weapons from India for its own, or maybe for French money, that is, to pay fully, and called Russian weapons scrap metal.
And apparently, such claims on the part of Pashinyan will constantly multiply. But the political demand to Moscow remains the same - either send your soldiers to fight for Armenian interests, or we leave the CSTO. Under such circumstances, a public opinion will certainly be formed in Russia aimed at Moscow supporting Azerbaijan in its just intention to return the entire territory of Karabakh and open the Zangazur corridor. Of course, there are powerful pro-Armenian forces in Russian society who demand that Russia respond to Armenian appeals by sending troops to fight for the country's interests. However, we regard such individuals as traitors to Russia and representatives of the inveterate Armenian column within the Russian government and media," Markov summed up.
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