"Anti-Russian slogans in Yerevan manifest the black ingratitude of Armenians"
Caliber.Az interview with Dmitry Verkhoturov
INTERVIEWS 07 February 2023 - 17:30
Caliber.Az had a conversation with Dmitry Verkhoturov, a Russian expert on the South Caucasus and the Middle East, public figure.
- What do you think the purpose of the EU's long-term mission to Armenia is and how it will affect the Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations?
- In my view, the EU mission comes to Armenia not so much for the sake of negotiations, but rather to turn this republic against Russia. Obviously, great efforts are being made precisely for this purpose, and it is likely that they will continue in the future, so that Armenia drifts towards Europe. But I would advise against allowing an EU delegation into the Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations, as this does not bode well for the parties to the conflict either now or in the long term.
- Armenia has refused to allow Russia to deploy a CSTO mission on its territory. What could be Moscow's reciprocal steps and actions with regard to Yerevan's policy?
- Against the background of Yerevan's open and hostile policy, Moscow can apply various measures to Armenia, ranging from economic sanctions to some kind of political restrictions.
- Will such a scenario lead to a final breakdown in Armenia's relations with Russia?
- I assume that the EU mission that will arrive in Armenia in the long term will unequivocally try to finally persuade Pashinyan to side with the West, but I do not think they will succeed. Although Pashinyan is a cunning and dodgy populist, he lacks the political will to go for a break with Moscow. Therefore, European attempts to alienate Armenia from Russia are unlikely to succeed.
- What would you say about the chances of a peace agreement between Baku and Yerevan?
- In my view, it always makes sense to talk about peace and a peace treaty, if only because all wars and conflicts usually end in peace. Consequently, it is crucial for the conflicting sides to discuss the terms of such a document. Nevertheless, the signing of a peace treaty between Baku and Yerevan in the near future is unlikely but possible. It is not ruled out that some new options will be reached, providing for the signing of such a document in the future.
- So you do not rule out the possibility of some new military provocations from the Armenian side?
- I do not think that Armenia has any military resources to seriously destabilize the region. Slight skirmishes on the border are likely, but large-scale military clashes are definitely beyond Armenia's capacity.
- What is the likelihood of the withdrawal of the Russian military base from Gyumri in view of Yerevan's growing discontent with Moscow's policy?
- The withdrawal of the Russian base from Gyumri and the deployment of a NATO military contingent there is clearly a hostile move against Russia. Moscow will obstruct such a development, which could have negative consequences for Armenia. This is no longer a joke, but a reality. Taking into account Russia's huge contribution to Armenia, I would call anti-Russian slogans in Yerevan a black ingratitude of Armenians towards Russians.
- And finally. Is there any prospect for the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations?
- I think the chances of normalization of relations between Ankara and Yerevan are quite insignificant. And it is unlikely that there will be any progress in this direction in the near future.
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