"Russia's leadership fully realised ingratitude of Armenian elites"
    Conversation with Alexander Shatilov

    INTERVIEWS  30 January 2023 - 10:00

    Huseyn Safarov

    Caliber.Az had an interview with Alexander Shatilov, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Mass Communications of the Finance University under the Government of Russia.

    - What do you think about the statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry on the EU mission in the border regions of Armenia? Is Moscow dissatisfied with Yerevan's decision?

    - The official statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry testifies to Moscow's certain irritation over the cooperation of the Armenian leadership with the European Union. Especially amid the sharp deterioration in the EU's relations with Russia over the supply of modern military equipment to Ukraine. Moreover, the Kremlin believes that the "soft" infiltration of Europeans into Armenia will allow Washington to more effectively play a good cop-bad cop in the region since EU representatives will work closely with the Americans.

    - Do you think any action will follow from Russia?

    - At the moment, Russia is busy with other, more important parts of the post-Soviet space, so I assume that an active and harsh response to the demarche of the Armenian leadership will not follow. Moscow will try to maintain a minimum of influence in Armenian society, putting its showdown with local elites on the back burner.

    - What objectives does the EU pursue in the South Caucasus and what tools does it use to do so?

    - The EU has little or no geopolitical subjectivity at present; in recent years, its leaders have blatantly acted in the wake of US policy, abandoning their own strategic line. However, the current EU mission in the South Caucasus, with some international media exposure, may somewhat restore Europe's shattered foreign policy reputation. I also believe that the Europeans will be used by Washington as part of a policy of containment of Türkiye, whose activity is increasingly irritating the West. Indeed, the recent blatant provocation with the burning of the Quran is not so much an embarrassment to European right-wing radicals as it is a harsh negative signal to Ankara.

    - Can it be argued that Moscow is losing some of its influence over Armenia?

    - Russia has indeed slowed down in Armenia. And this was not so much a retreat in the face of pressure from geopolitical rivals, as an awareness of several factors. First, Moscow's active support to Yerevan is fraught with a "second front" in the South Caucasus, which Russia obviously cannot bear.

    Secondly, the Russian leadership has fully realised the ingratitude of the Armenian elites, who have an exclusively exploitative position vis-à-vis Moscow.

    Thirdly, Russia has rather constructive relations with Azerbaijan and Türkiye, so it clearly does not want to put its eggs in one basket.

    - Despite some hope, Baku and Yerevan have not signed a peace agreement in 2022, although Azerbaijan has openly urged Armenia to do so. Why does Yerevan refuse to sign a peace agreement? What countries are pushing the Armenian side towards destructive actions?

    - In my view, Washington is the main opponent of a peace treaty between Baku and Yerevan. İt is trying to use the problematic situation to contain both Türkiye and Russia.



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