Revanchist mindset impedes Pashinyan from pursuing peace
    Moscow sick of Yerevan's erratic behaviour

    ANALYTICS  04 August 2023 - 11:15

    Matanat Nasibova

    The settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations has made some progress thanks to mediation efforts. But this does not please Yerevan in any way, since it is forced to follow the peace agenda in establishing a mutual understanding with its nearest neighbour and in completely abandoning its revanchist aspirations. But it is precisely from the peace agenda that Armenia has always distanced itself and is clearly not going to change this vicious tradition today.

    What if these intermediaries are more than authoritative? Armenia is no stranger to inventing discrediting circumstances to belittle the importance of one or another opponent. Russia was the first of the intermediaries that the Armenians took on. And now Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, in an interview with Euronews, claims that Russia's efforts to achieve peace in the South Caucasus have been significantly weakened due to the war in Ukraine. They say that Russia cannot pay enough attention to the region because of its involvement in the Ukrainian direction.

    And then the European Union, the role of which in the Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement Pashinyan called ineffective, also came under the Armenian gun.

    The criticism of the Armenian prime minister, of course, did not go unnoticed. Especially in Russia - Moscow's reaction followed immediately. Commenting on Pashinyan's claims to the Moscow format of negotiations, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said they "have no factual basis." According to her, Moscow's position in the South Caucasus has not weakened at all because of the war in Ukraine.

    "... We have been and remain fully interested in advancing the process of normalisation of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations. We are doing everything to achieve lasting peace and harmony in the region, and we are fully fulfilling our obligations in the South Caucasus. What kind of decrease in activity, as it was presented, can we talk about if a whole series of contacts with the participation of the Russian Federation took place over the past couple of months? I think you just need to face the truth. And the truth is that it is up to Baku and Yerevan to consistently implement the agreements they have reached, in which we are ready to help the parties in every possible way," Zakharova replied to Pashinyan's critical remarks.

    The Russian diplomat countered Pashinyan's demarche with an argument that appeared in Moscow after Yerevan recognised the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan along with Karabakh.

    "After the Armenian leadership recognised Karabakh as Azerbaijani, any claims against Russia about the lack of efforts look inappropriate," the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

    Apparently, for Moscow, Armenia's recognition of Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan was quite unexpected, nevertheless, it provided Moscow with a kind of carte blanche, which it will use if Yerevan starts to baulk. And Pashinyan has nothing to respond to this.

    Another important point: Zakharova did not ignore the issue of the presence of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh, which is sensitive to Moscow. It is clear that the timing of the withdrawal of the Russian peacekeepers from the region is inevitably approaching, and the Kremlin would like to extend the stay of its military there in order to maintain influence in the South Caucasus.

    Especially now, when there is fierce competition for leadership between Washington, Brussels and Moscow. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Russian Federation reacts harshly to the accusations of Armenians against its peacekeepers.

    "The arguments about the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from Karabakh are absolutely incomprehensible, especially against the background of the current extremely difficult humanitarian situation. Is this Pashinyan's wish? It is well known that peacekeepers perform important functions. Is this activity indeed unnecessary, undesirable from the point of view of the Armenian leadership, and they want it not to happen?" Zakharova questioned.

    Moreover, the Russian diplomat pointed out that "on several key issues, the Armenian leadership often takes an ambiguous position, but I want there to be no ambiguities on this point [about peacekeepers – ed.]."

    But the European mediators ignored the attacks of the Armenian prime minister, apparently not finding at least a hint of logic in them. Indeed, according to Pashinyan, "if any of the parties does not fulfil the agreements reached in the presence of the EU president, then this does not even follow concrete assessments." Meaning that Brussels does not punish the guilty.

    It is clear that by the party "not fulfilling the agreement", the Armenian prime minister means Azerbaijan, while it is Armenia itself that torpedoes the negotiations, preventing the achievement of a peace agreement with Baku. And most likely, the reason for the surge of Yerevan's claims against Brussels was another failure of Armenia on the European negotiating track. As you know, at the July summit, European Council President Charles Michel supported Baku's proposal to use the Aghdam-Khankandi road to transport goods to Karabakh, which contradicts the interests of the Armenian side.

    Essentially, it follows from Pashinyan's statements that neither Moscow nor Brussels are competent enough to mediate the Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations.

    Moreover, given Armenia's unpreparedness for peace, Yerevan is most likely not satisfied with the efforts of the third mediator - Washington, which closely coordinates with the EU on the Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement.

    It is obvious that Yerevan needs to delay the negotiation process for an indefinite time, and until the mediators put serious pressure on Armenia, it will rush from side to side, bowing at Moscow's feet, but hoping for handouts from Brussels and kissing Washington's hands.

    Azerbaijan, unlike Armenia, is doing everything possible on the path to stability and peace in the region, regardless of on which of the tracks (Moscow, Brussels or Washington) a peace agreement will be reached.


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