Yerevan voices discontent with Moscow
    Pashinyan's hopes to provoke condemnation of Azerbaijan crumble to nothing

    ANALYTICS  23 December 2022 - 18:25

    Vadim Mansurov

    The West is rubbing its hands joyfully: it seems that a new stage in the aggravation of relations between Moscow and Yerevan is approaching. At that, to all appearances, Pashinyan has decided to personally express his dissatisfaction with Moscow for its policy of non-interference in the "occupation of Armenian territories" concocted by Yerevan. Now against this background, Yerevan has issued several statements putting Russia in an invidious position. What's more, Pashinyan is directly challenging Moscow.

    A recent statement by CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas has seriously upset Yerevan. The Armenian prime minister hoped for something else and obviously assumed that the cold water that he has thrown on CSTO in Yerevan by refusing to sign a number of outcome documents will still have some effect on the subordinate structure of Moscow, and the military-political bloc will at least verbally oppose Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, Pashinyan now seems to have realized that no "surprise" is worth waiting for in principle. Because Zas said something else: in particular, that CSTO proceeds from the fact that the issue of the Lachin road, which Yerevan raises at the international level, is not within the responsibility of the bloc. That is, there is a picture of the collapse of Armenia's hopes for any condemnation of Baku in principle.

    At the same time, it is obvious that Pashinyan as a zealous political haggard is burdened by the fact that despite Armenia's chairmanship in the CSTO for a whole year, it has not been possible to bargain any benefits for Armenians. And, apparently, he decided to take at least some political revenge, getting on Russia's nerves.

    At yesterday's cabinet meeting Pashinyan rebuked Moscow, perhaps, for the first time ever so visibly harshly and maliciously. In his words, "de facto, the Russian peacekeeping contingent does not fulfill its obligations fixed in the trilateral document, namely in terms of control over the corridor (Lachin road - Ed.)."

    "Of course, this happens as a result of Azerbaijan's illegal actions, but the situation does not change because the key point of the Russian peacekeepers' stay is to prevent illegal actions," the Armenian premier also said.

    The secretary of the Armenian Security Council also claimed the previous day that Russia was responsible for the Lachin road.

    According to Armenian media, "a number of 'prominent members of the Civil Contract faction' have repeatedly shifted the entire burden of Karabakh's security onto the Russians". The other day, this "flashmob" was picked up by several leaders of parties known for their anti-Russian orientation, who regularly meet with Nikol Pashinyan within the "club of extra-parliamentary forces". In particular, we are talking about Tigran Khzmalyan, David Sanasaryan, and Levon Shirinyan, who unanimously assured that "Azerbaijan did not block the Lachin corridor, it was closed by Russians".

    The intrigue is further developed by the publication of "Past" newspaper, according to which all actions of Armenian politicians are not amateurish, and "it was Nikol Pashinyan who instructed his extra-parliamentary colleagues to shift the 'blame' in the issue of blocking the road linking Armenia to Karabakh exclusively to the Russians, promising that soon Azerbaijan would speak about it, too".

    Yerevan media also cites opinions of Armenian experts, who point to Pashinyan's aim to finally discredit the Russian peacemaking mission, subsequently calling for the withdrawal of peacekeepers from Karabakh, and then the entire Russian contingent from Armenia.

    Anyway, Pashinyan decided not to stop there either and "pleased" Moscow with another insulting statement. The UN or OSCE fact-finding mission, in his opinion, should be sent to the "Lachin corridor".

    "The activity of the international community in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict should significantly increase. We need to work harder to send a UN, OSCE, or OSCE Minsk Group fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh and the Lachin corridor," Pashinyan said.

    So, Pashinyan has thus allowed himself a series of successive actions against Moscow, which obviously cannot remain unnoticed in the Kremlin. And they may well be called a political demarche of Yerevan, it is too pretentious. The call to send OSCE and UN missions to Karabakh is also a hint at the futility of the presence of Russian peacekeepers.

    Pashinyan's presumptuous actions clearly signal that he did not "presumptuous" from a simple point of view, but acts, feeling the support of some center of power behind his back. It's also interesting that if the allegations that Pashinyan gives orders to such anti-Russian figures as Khzmalyan, Sanasaryan, and Shirinyan to "curse the Russians" are true, it becomes obvious that the Armenian prime minister is determined to mount a serious campaign against Russia. And this is also a sign: Pashinyan can behave so confidently and come out in a confrontation with Russia only if the West, first of all, France and the United States, stands behind his back. It is also interesting that by criticizing the issue of the competence of Russian peacekeepers in the zone of responsibility of the RPC, Pashinyan hits Moscow's nerve and clearly does not mind hitting it one more time.

    Incidentally, the Kremlin's reaction to Pashinyan's statements on the competence of the peacekeepers was swift. According to Kommersant, Dmitry Peskov said the peacekeepers were acting "in accordance with the spirit and the letter of the documents," and Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted that the Russian peacekeeping mission was fulfilling its obligations to control the situation on the Lachin road.

    "I can say the opposite: the Russian peacekeepers are fulfilling their mission," she said.

    Clearly, Russia is quite vulnerable right now. However, if Pashinyan really did dream about withdrawal from Russian patronage, he should quickly get rid of those illusions - in fact, the entire geopolitical picture clearly demonstrates that the US and the EU are only flirting with Yerevan, not in any way supporting separatist games of Armenians. Yerevan is too uninteresting to the US and the EU as a partner compared to Baku's political, transit and energy opportunities. Armenia, simply put, has nothing to pay for its ambitions. And if Yerevan once again forgets and starts evading its obligations under the Trilateral Statement and all the agreements of Sochi, Brussels, and Prague, no one - neither Washington nor the EU - will interfere in Azerbaijan's tough reasoning with Yerevan and in the operation to force Armenians to peace. Pashinyan should remember this in particular.


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