"Armenia can flirt with anyone, but what good will it do?"
    Caliber.Az interview with Russian pundit Alexander Skakov

    INTERVIEWS  28 November 2022 - 16:49

    Huseyn Safarov

    Yerevan summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) ended with a high-profile political scandal. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's refusal to sign the final declaration sounded like a bomb explosion. The reason for his disagreement, of course, with the pre-prepared document, the Armenian ex-prime minister called the lack of a political assessment of the CSTO "aggression of Azerbaijan against the territorial integrity of Armenia" in it. As a consequence, two of the 17 final documents prepared by the leadership of the bloc were sent back for revision.

    "The draft of the CSTO Collective Security Council’s Declaration and that on joint assistance measures to the Republic of Armenia submitted for signing is not fully elaborated, and in this edition, with all due respect, I am not ready to sign these documents,” Pashinyan said, accusing his allies in the defence bloc of allegedly abandoning Armenia to the mercy of fate, leaving it alone with "aggressively minded Azerbaijan." Considering that Russia is the backbone of the military-political alliance, the Armenian prime minister's decision looks like an anti-Russian demarche.

    This opinion is shared by Alexander Skakov, Russian political analyst and deputy director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Answering the questions of Caliber.Az, Skakov said that Pashinyan's refusal to sign the summit document can be regarded as a demonstration attack against Moscow.

    "It is clear that this is an unpleasant situation for Russia, but I do not think that Moscow will react to it. The refusal was connected with the fact that Armenia's wishes were not taken into account in the text of the declaration. But apparently, there were objective reasons for this. First of all, Yerevan insisted on condemning Azerbaijan, while it would be more productive to insist on other points. Secondly, there is a group of countries in the CSTO, which are not lobbyists for Azerbaijan, but at least try to conduct an equidistant policy. It's first of all about Kazakhstan and Belarus," said the Russian political analyst.

    As for the demonstration of Yerevan's loyalty to the EU and its open flirting with the West, the Russian expert stressed that it's important to understand what and whom the loyalty is towards - to the EU or NATO.

    "If Armenia shows loyalty to NATO, it means loyalty to Türkiye as well. Is Armenia ready to be loyal to Türkiye? It is obvious that the West, even pro-Armenian France, will not guarantee the security of the Armenian population of Karabakh. Paris will not deploy peacekeepers there. So, you can flirt with anyone you want, but what good will it do?! All in all, this is an attempt to push Russia to a clearer and tougher position, i.e. Armenia is trying to put pressure on Russia in this way. And of course, this is an attempt to keep foot in both camps," our interlocutor added.

    Skakov also expressed his opinion about the EU observers, who are carrying out their mission on the conditional Armenian-Azerbaijani border at the initiative of official Yerevan.

    "The presence of EU observers in Armenia is connected with the fact that at some time Russia, in particular the CSTO, was supposed to introduce an observer mission to the regions of the conditional Armenian-Azerbaijani border. In fact, there were talks about it, but nothing was done. Apparently, Armenian leadership took this step in order to force Moscow to do this. Anyway, there is no sense in the activity of the EU observers. If they were under the CSTO, it would make sense. There would have been real grounds to react somehow, at least at the level of words. We are talking not only about Russian observers, but also Kazakh, Belarusian, and other CSTO member states. Nothing will change if the representatives of the European mission once again slander Azerbaijan," the expert stated.

    Finally, Skakov touched upon the rumors of CSTO dissolution. The political scientist believes that it's too early to make any predictions in this regard. "But in this case, we have to agree with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko that the future of the CSTO to a greater extent depends on the situation in Ukraine," he summed up.



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