"Destabilisation of the region could lead to severe military consequences for Armenia"
    Caliber.Az talks to Russian pundit Sergey Borovikov

    INTERVIEWS  27 March 2023 - 18:03

    Matanat Nasibova

    Caliber.Az presents an interview with Sergey Borovikov, the leading analyst of the Association for Trans-border Cooperation and Russian expert.

    - What can the geopolitical rivalry between Russia and the West in the South Caucasus lead to, given that Europe is intentionally using Armenia to oust Moscow from the region?

    - The geopolitical rivalry in the South Caucasus is not a hundred years old. It has a long history and can only lead to one thing - a game-changing situation, in particular, a reduced role for Russia and an increased influence of the European Union or Türkiye. A new player may possibly emerge and this is China which has now become more or less active in foreign policy and is showing an interest in regulating conflicts outside its borders.

    As for the EU's policy towards Armenia, which is trying to displace Russia, at the moment it is rather irrational. On the one hand, the EU needs to demonstrate anti-Russian actions as part of its overall anti-Russian policy, but on the other hand, even France has lost some important zones of influence in Africa (including due to the same anti-Russian activities) and is eager for revenge to get even with Moscow. Thus, one should not expect any restraint and balance from the European policy in the South Caucasus region. I believe that in the current geopolitical situation - the confrontation between Russia and the West - the EU will not draw the line at destabilizing the situation in the region, which may result in heavy military defeats for Armenia.

    - What is the threat to Armenia from its planned distancing from Russia and rapprochement with the West?

    - I would not call this process systematic; it is more of a wave-like process. Roughly speaking, these actions began long ago and will not end tomorrow. Moreover, such an arrangement is more threatening for Armenia itself than for Russia, because in the worst case for Russia, it will be ousted from the Caucasus, while Armenia may face quite big shocks - starting with the closure of a nuclear power plant and ending with mass casualties. Armenia is now being blatantly exploited by the West to harm Russia as much as possible at any cost. At the same time, the West is not at all concerned about the cost of Armenians' lives.

    - Armenia is dragging out the signing of a peace treaty with Baku and is strengthening the positions of the illegal armed groups remaining in Karabakh. Do you think there is a risk of new hostilities amid growing revanchist sentiments in Armenia?

    - Armenia is delaying the signing of peace agreements on current terms, as this is disadvantageous to its leadership and could lead to domestic political protests against Pashinyan's government. The Armenian premier seems to harbor some hopes for European intervention and assistance in this matter, hence he fights back. I think, hypothetically, the agreement to be signed can somehow be improved for the Armenian side by sweetening the bitter pill. Armenia believes that strengthening the positions of its illegal armed groups remaining in Karabakh is quite logical and justified because if the situation in the region destabilizes further (including with the support of the European Union), they will need to be held somehow. So they should be reinforced.

    - So you are confident that the presence of the European mission in Armenia will inevitably destabilise the region?

    - The European mission itself is not a powerful factor of destabilisation, but it is a link in the chain of European policy, which aims at pushing Russia out of the region by escalating tensions. As for the likelihood of any clash, it is quite high, because too many different forces are interested in it: on the one hand, the European Union and the United States, which are fighting Russia and Iran, and on the other hand, all sorts of internal Armenian squabbles which could provoke military action in the region.

    - Will Armenia dare to leave CSTO or will it be tossing and turning between Russia and the West?

    - Of course, Armenia will continue to wobble between the West and Russia. But it seems to me that a quick exit from the CSTO is now unlikely. It is so out of Yerevan's interests and even a pro-Western government is unlikely to break the situation. Although it is possible that if there is another orange revolution in Armenia, the new government will do even more damage. But there are no direct preconditions for that yet.

    - Do you envisage the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border by the end of this year?

    - The situation in Türkiye is quite difficult now, and it is even more difficult to make predictions ahead of the forthcoming elections. Nevertheless, I think the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border is unlikely in the near future.


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