As battlelines are drawn across Eurasia, Armenia stands at a historic junction with an incompetent leadership at the helm - Winter, 2022

Europe is at the brink of war, Russia presents its demands

The closing months of 2021 saw a sudden and drastic increase in tensions between Russia and Western powers. Tensions have not been this high since the Cuban missile crisis 60 years ago. The main point of contention between the two sides have been the situation in Ukraine and Western attempts to further expand NATO. Politicians, so-called Russia watchers and major news media organization in the West have been in a panic essentially because of a massive build-up of Russian forces on the eastern border of Ukraine. This was the backdrop within which the leaders of the United States and the Russian Federation held a highly publicized virtual meeting to reduce tensions last December. During the meeting President Biden was reportedly accompanied by several advisors, whereas President Putin was said to be alone. By conducting the meeting alone, I believe President Putin may have been conveying the message to Washington DC was that he is the boss, he knows what he wants and he is the one the West has to deal with. In the aftermath of the meeting, "the leader of the free world" did what he does best, Uncle Sam ceremoniously threatened "major sanctions" against Russia if the Kremlin invades Ukraine. United States is more-or-less announcing that if Russia invades Ukraine American troops will stay out of it, as they did in Georgia back in 2008, and will instead arm the Western-backed regime in Kiev and try to hurt Russia's economy.

Therefore, sanctions to Moscow, arms to Kiev is basically the extent of the Western world's response if Russia crosses their "red line" and starts a war at the very doorstep of NATO and the European Union.

The territory of Ukraine plays a pivotal role in Europe. Similar to Turkey, Ukraine is seen by Western powers as a means to contain and control Moscow's growing influence throughout the eastern Europe and the Black Sea region. In the words of Zbigniew Brzezinski: "Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire." The warmongering Polak wrote these words in the 1990s. As the reader can see, the West sees Ukraine as a strategic tool to control and contain Russia. This is why so much effort was placed on fomenting a Color Revolution in Kiev in 2014. And this is why they have been trying to lure Kiev towards NATO. Long story short, Ukraine has great geopolitical value for both, East and West. Therefore, knowing how important a very large and geographically strategic country like Ukraine figures in the geostrategic formulations of Western powers, the threat to merely arm the incompetent and corrupt regime in Kiev and hurt Russia economically  through sanctions (an economy that is increasingly becoming self-reliant and eastern oriented) is universally seen as a weak response with little, if any deterrence value in case Moscow decided to militarily intervening on behalf of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. More recently, President Biden seemed to have all but abandoned Kiev to its fate:
Even according to Western assessments, Russia's military is mobilized and ready. There is a large concentration of military assets deployed in western Russia. The world may be at the brink of another war. Negotiations have not yet been successful in reducing tensions. Many are naturally is worried about the situation. We are where we are today ultimately because Anglo-American-Jews and their servants in Europe want to continue their advances against Russia. We are where we are today because Anglo-American-Jews continue financing anti-Russian insurgencies and Color Revolutions in nations where Russia has longstanding interests. We are where we are today because the West refuses to accept its decline on the world stage. The following is a brief perspective to put all this in proper context.
As the Soviet Union was collapsing some 30 years ago, Western powers were assuring Moscow that they would not expand NATO eastward into Russian spheres of interest. That promise needless to say was broken in a few short years after the dissolution of USSR.

Despite persistent complaints from the Kremlin, Western powers have been systematically advancing on Russia's spheres of influence throughout Eurasia for the past 30 years, thereby shrinking Russia's crucially important defensive depth. For 30 years, Western powers have also been attempting to circle Russia with hostile powers, as well as advanced radar stations and nuclear ballistic missile systems. Western power were advancing into Russian spheres of interest throughout Eurasia and the Middle East. Subversive efforts were also made inside the Russian Federation. President Yeltsin's government was flooded by Western agents. Western-backed armed insurgencies had begun in the Turkic and Islamic regions of the northern Caucasus. What's more, millions of ethnic Russians had found themselves living in foreign lands practically overnight when the Soviet Union quickly fragmented into different nations. Long story, short: Russia spent the entire 1990s on its knees and in fear for its life. Russia was facing serious threats from within and without at the time. Threatened with Western agents, insurgencies and terrorism inside Russia and military encirclement and thus strangulation from the outside - and memories of Napoleon's and Hitler's invasions of Russia still vivid in the collective mindset of Russian society - Russian security officials knew they had to fight back if they wanted to preserve a future for Russia. The palace coup that brought President Vladimir Putin to power in 2000 was a watershed moment in history. President Putin's rise to power proved God sent for the Russian people. By 2007, the Russian Bear was already fighting back against its antagonists worldwide. Russia's comeback as a superpower was announced to the world when President Putin delivered his now famous Munich SpeechThe Russian Bear was finally waking up and making its red lines known to the world.

The following parable is all that one needs to know about why Western powers have problems with Russia today: Western powers loved Gorbachev because he killed the Russian Bear. Western powers adored Yeltsin because he allowed them to feed off the carcass of the Russian Bear. Western powers fear and hate President Putin because he resurrected the Russian Bear.
Therefore, when Saakashvili's Western-backed government threatened Abkhazia and South Ossetia with a military incursion in 2008, the Kremlin sent in the troops. When a Western-backed Color Revolution in Ukraine overthrew the pro-Russian government in Kiev and threatened Russian populated regions of Crimea and the Donbass in 2014, the Kremlin sent in the troops. When Western-backed Islamists threatened Syria's existence in 2015, the Kremlin sent in the troops. When Azerbaijan and Turkey threatened Nagorno Karabakh's existence in 2020, the Kremlin sent in the troops. When a Western-backed Pan-Turkic insurgency more recently threatened to topple the Russian-backed government of President Tokayev in Kazakhstan, the Kremlin sent in the troops. The Kremlin has been very serious about protecting its interests around the world in recent years. And the territory of Ukraine - which has historically been part of Russia - plays a very significant role in Russia's security. 
The current situation on the eastern borders of Ukraine should be looked at from context outlined above.
This is no longer a game Western powers and their lemmings can play and get away with it. The 1990s, when the West had free rein and the impunity to do as it wanted throughout the world, are long gone. Today, the Russian Bear is awake and quite angry. The Western world, for its part, is in a steady decline. Western powers need to understand that the situation regarding Ukraine is a very serious one for Russia. The situation in Ukraine is in fact so serious that the Kremlin was forced to up-the-ante. Just days after the unproductive meeting between presidents Putin and Biden in December, Moscow unexpectedly threw down the gauntlet in form of a set of historic proposals and demands that sounded like an ultimatum:
To underscore the seriousness of the situation at hand, Moscow's muscle flexing has not only revolved around the Ukrainian theater. During two very significant military displays in recent weeks, Russia's armed forces conducted the first ever test firing of a hyper-sonic ballistic missile from a submarine and the first ever shooting down of a decommissioned satellite by an earth-based missile system. Moreover, Russian submarine activity has been reported to be at the highest levels seen since the end of the Cold War. The Kremlin has also hinted that Russia may deploy military units in Cuba and Venezuela. Let's also not forget that Russia's Gazprom still supplies 1/3 of Europe's natural gas. For a highly developed political entity like the European Union, the energy factor is actually more powerful than the military factor. Moscow's control over Europe's energy needs is the second most powerful weapon in Russia's arsenal, after nuclear weapons. If need be, Moscow can weaponize energy, just like how the West has weaponized trade and finance. Moscow's message to the world is nevertheless clear. Russia today boasts one of the most lethal armed forces on earth. Russia today controls Europe's energy lifeline. Russia has become the most powerful naval presence not only in the Black Sea but also in the Mediterranean Sea. Turks are naturally worried over these developments. The Kremlin is in the driver's seat so to speak, and it has not been shy about flaunting it. Russian officials have most likely calculated that when faced with a major war in Europe, European and Western powers, who are in reality in no shape or mood to fight a war, will negotiate a settlement. However, there is a caveat in all this that does not fully work in Russia's favor.
Perhaps not Europeans but Anglo-American-Jews may be seeking to lure Russians into an armed conflict in the Ukraine in order to deepen the divide between Russians and Ukrainians, pull Europeans further into Western control, breath new life into NATO and place further economic/financial restrictions on Moscow to restrain Russia's economic and thus political growth. The Kremlin therefore has a historic choice to make: Do nothing and allow Western powers to lure Kiev further Westward or militarily intervene to salvage at least some of parts of Ukraine but risk deepening the divide between Russians and Ukrainians? In the big picture, it's a no-win situation for Moscow. But, at least for some in the Kremlin, allowing Ukraine to drift further into the arms of Anglo-American-Jews, who can at some point in the future base Western troops in Ukraine even without NATO membership, is worst than facing the repercussions of military intervention. Russian policymakers therefore have a difficult choice to make. Faced with the two ultimately unappealing choices, they may decide to try to extract the best out of the bad situation.
They may therefore pursue the least-bad scenario, so to speak. And that may just mean annexing all of the Donbass region and decimating Ukraine's war fighting capability in the process. This is something Russia's military is capable of doing in a matter of days.

I reiterate: While the Kremlin is clearly not looking for a war, for a number of reasons mentioned above, it is nevertheless signaling its readiness to engage in one not only against Ukraine but also against Western powers if it is left with no choice. The Kremlin's recent muscle flexing and aggressive rhetoric should therefore be looked at as a preventative measure and not necessarily as warmongering. Warmongers have traditionally resided in Washington DC, London and Tel Aviv - not Moscow. The Kremlin simply wants to stop US and NATO's advances into Russian spheres of influence. The Kremlin wants the West to stop its encirclement of Russia with offensive missile systems. Russia is looking for respect and dialogue. But, if push comes to shove, Russians are ready for a fight.
As noted above, Russian officials have been complaining about this very serious security matter for almost 30 years. There was not much Moscow could do to stop Western advances in the early post-Soviet period. Moscow's Western adversaries therefore took advantage of the situation in the 1990s by expanding NATO to Russia's very borders. More recently, they have been pushing Ukraine and Georgia towards NATO membership as well. Remember Zbigniew Brzezinski's words: "Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire." Clearly, what is happening in Ukraine today is a high-stakes game of chess. The players are Russia and Western powers, and the chessboard is Ukraine. The West got its way in the 1990s. Today, Russia has the upper hand.
If Western powers do not take a clear step back in Ukraine, where we currently have a very serious clash of interests between East and West, there will most likely be a war in Europe. And if there is a war, I personally think it will be a limited/contained one. In the age of nuclear weaponry, no one - not even cowboys in the United States - is insane enough to start a major world war. If it comes down to it, Russian troops may simply move into the greater Donbass region. Western powers will only respond with symbolic measures, the worst of which will most likely be in the form of more economic sanctions and financial restrictions. If however the Kremlin decides to invade mainland Ukraine, the Western-backed mercenary government in Kiev and its Western-armed military will fall within a week, maybe two. If the Kremlin decides to go to war in Ukraine, Russia is capable of decimating Ukraine's armed forces within a few days. Let's remember that Russia's armed forces have been modernizing during the past 15 years and have been getting a lot of experience in Syria during the past 7 years. If it comes down to it, Russia can put an end to the post-Soviet Ukraine story within a matter of weeks. This, I guarantee.
But I don't think the Kremlin will go that route, that is as long as it receives assurances that Kiev is kept out of NATO.

A brief word about economic/financial sanctions, which are perhaps the most powerful conventional weapons found in the Western world's military arsenal: Russia has the potential to weather any sanctions that Western powers may or may not impose, including being banned from SWIFT (the Western-controlled global money transfer system). Russians, unlike most other peoples on earth, have the ability to tighten their belts and endure hardship for the greater good. In a continuous history that spans hundreds of years, Russians have always placed their nation's needs above that of their personal needs with one tragic exception, the Bolshevik revolution, which they learned a bloody lesson from. In any case, Russians are among people on earth that cannot be conquered. Sanctions and worsening relations between Russia and with the Western world will only serve to push Moscow even closer to China and other emerging powers. The process has in fact already begun:
The Kremlin feels like it has matters under control. The Kremlin feels like it can finally right some of the wrongs of history. The Kremlin's historic demands are more-or-less stating the following: If Western powers do not back-down from encroaching further into Russian spheres of influence and humbly enter into serious negotiations with the Kremlin, Russia reserves the right to annex additional parts of eastern Ukraine and move nuclear capable hyper-sonic ballistic missile systems (which are currently considered unstoppable by any air defense system in the world) near the borders of the European Union and the United States. But, as with any political demand, there is always room to negotiate and compromise. Russian officials have made it clear to the world that they willing to negotiate a final settlement. Knowing the Western mindset well, I predict Western officials will talk tough during press conferences and meetings but quietly express their willingness to compromise and negotiate a deal with Moscow behind-the-scenes. Whores in Kiev will be the ones hurting in the end of all this. There is a high likelihood that Ukraine may actually be turned into a military buffer zone, like a desolate/depressed no man's land, between East and West. In any case, I am hopeful that sober minds will eventually prevail, for there is a lot at stake with what's going on today. Not everyone in the West is a warmongering, Russophobic lunatic:
Pat Buchanan: What do do about that Russian ultimatum

Ron Paul: Washington’s Bi-Partisan Russia-Bashers Are Determined to Start a War

Rand Paul: Here's how we prevent war in Ukraine

Paul Craig Roberts: If Blinken Doesn’t Want a Russian Invasion of Ukraine Why Is He Provoking One

Tucker Carlson: The media thinks we, and the president of Ukraine, are agents of Russia

Biden is rooting for Russia to invade Ukraine, Tulsi Gabbard says

Why Germany might be the West's weak link in the Russia-Ukraine standoff

​​Croatia's president says it will not send troops if Russia-Ukraine conflict escalates

Sanders: US should 'put ourselves ... in Russia's position' because it 'might have legitimate concerns'

Russia and Ukraine: Clearing the FOG (listen from 15:30)

Why is Ukraine the West's Fault? Featuring John Mearsheimer

Stephen F. Cohen: Ukrainegate impeachment saga worsens US-Russia Cold War (2020)

Ukraine on Fire - an Oliver Stone Documentary

If the reader wants to better understand the Russian mindset or concerns with regards to Ukraine, think of how Washington DC would react if Russia orchestrated a bloody coup in Mexico on day, installed a pro-Russian government in Mexico City and then began deploying Russian-made military hardware near the borders of the United States. How would Americans react to the appearance of Russian or Chinese military units in Mexico or Canada? An answer to this hypothetical question is not necessary because we all know exactly how American officials would react. Anyone remember the Cuban Missile Crisis and the invasion of Granada? And this is the crux of the problem at hand. Russia is being expected to tolerate in their near-abroad (actually inside a territory that is historically Russian) what Americans would never-ever accept in their backyard. Let's therefore recognize that Russia's actions with regards to Ukraine are purely defensive in nature. The Russian Federation, recovered from the near total collapse of the 1990s, is simply trying to secure its periphery, reclaim its defensive depth and rollback Western advances. The territory of Ukraine, which historically is part of the Russian nation, is crucially important for Russia's long-term security and prosperity. By drastically raising the stakes on the ground in eastern Europe, the Kremlin wants Western power-centers to think twice about encroaching further into Russian spheres of influence - be it in Europe, be it in south Caucasus, be it in the Middle East, be it in central Asia, be it in the Far East, be it in the Arctic region.
And if Western powers do not back-down, Europe will inevitably face a new war.
Nevertheless, I reiterate: The Kremlin's muscle flexing and demands should not be seen as a certain prelude to a major war. Despite the Kremlin's hard-lined stance and military buildup, war is NOT inevitable. War is always the very last resort, especially in the age of nuclear weapons, especially for a nation such as Russia that is geographically exposed on all flanks. The same more-or-less applies to Western powers. By raising tensions and increasing the stakes, the Kremlin is actually trying to prevent a war. Said otherwise, by orchestration a massive show-of-force the Kremlin is sending a wake-up call to Western powers. It should also be added here that the set of demands Moscow made public last December was not really an ultimatum because the Kremlin has also been signaling its willingness to negotiate.
Ultimatums by nature do not leave room for negotiations. Demands on the other hand, do.
Russian officials have interestingly made two basic demands; a practical one and an impractical one. The practical demand: Keep Ukraine out of NATO. The impractical demand: NATO forces must also leave Romania and Bulgaria. In other words, one is a very doable, the other is virtually impossible under current circumstances. In my opinion, this is a traditional negotiations tactic, not an ultimatum. The Kremlin's expectation is, faced with a set of demands and proposals and the risk of a war in Europe, Russia's opponents will accept the easier one while resisting the harder one. To nudge American officials along, Moscow more recently put out an olive branch of sorts:
The meaning of the diplomatic gesture above is basically this: Russia is respecting US zones of influence, the US is therefore expected to respect Russia's. And in case this does not happen, the situation can get very ugly for everybody. In any case, a major war in Europe is not inevitable. In the end, Western powers will negotiate some form of a settlement. As long as the pro-Russian breakaway regions in the Donbass are not threatened by Kiev (I don't see Kiev trying to take the region by force) and there are Western guarantees that Ukraine will remain out of NATO (that is most likely to happen in some form), Moscow will not resort to military action. So, the likelihood of war breaking-out, in the near-to-mid term at least, is very low. War was never Moscow's intention in all this. Moscow increased tensions to make its red lines vividly clear. Knowing Western powers well, I think they will simply demand a "face-saving" way out of the mess. Russians will be more than happy to oblige. There will be a compromise. Whores in Kiev will come out as the losers once again. The proverbial ball right now is therefore in the West's court.
Crisis in Kazakhstan, and President Putin's newest dog
I did not know much about the domestic situation in Kazakhstan's until very recently. What I do know however is that the kind of widespread unrest we witnessed in Kazakhstan do not materialize overnight (i.e. they are never spontaneous) nor do they happen without a large network of organizers, leaders and financiers operating behind the scenes. Therefore, I have no doubt that the unprecedented upheaval in Kazakhstan was brewing for many years. The sudden rise in energy costs in the country, said to be the main sociopolitical factor behind the unrest initially, was only a pretext or rather an excuse for those behind the unrest. Sociopolitical discontentment in the country was simply used to foment a political crisis in the country. This has been a mode of operation used by Western powers throughout post-Soviet space during the last 30 years. The protests at first looked like any other expression of societal dissatisfaction. Thousands of angry yet peaceful Kazakh citizens had taken to the streets on January 2 to protest the sudden rise in energy costs. Peaceful protests however soon gave way and organized groups of violent marauders began appearing on the streets. By January 4, large numbers of well organized and in some cases well armed gangs were battling police and engaging in widespread vandalism in various Kazakh cities. By January 6, the unrest clearly looked like an armed insurrection trying to overthrow Kazakhstan's government.
Radicalism in central Asia has the natural tendency to take on Turkic and/or Islamic flavors. Such elements in Kazakh society have been hijacked and exploited by foreign powers (namely Anglo-American-Jews and Turks). It is now more than obvious that Kazakhstan, similar to Ukraine, is a major target for powerful interests around the world. By all accounts, the insurrection in Kazakhstan was Pan-Turkic and Islamic in nature, and of course instigated by Anglo-American-Jews:
It is also now more than obvious that Kazakh officials are to blame for what happened in their country. Kazakhstan is very large and wealthy country, gifted with massive amounts of natural resources. Kazakhstan is not only a major producer of energy but also a major transit country for energy. What's more, the country is located in a very strategic location. Kazakhstan borders both Russia and China. To Kazakhstan's south lies the Turkic and Islamic (i.e. terrorist) hotbeds of Central Asia. Simply put, Kazakhstan is a large and wealthy nation at the epicenter of Eurasia. Astana therefore has immense political weight on the international stage. Dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev, who was in power in Kazakhstan from 1990 to 2019, recognized this about the country he ruled. He and others in his close circle felt emboldened and somewhat invincible as a result. It is therefore not a surprise that Astana was flirting with Western governments and Western-based corporations throughout the post-Soviet period. It is therefore natural that Kazakhstan also hosted thousands of Western financed NGOs.

It is also known that Astana was flirting with the concept of Pan-Turkism. In fact, Kazakhstan saw itself, not Turkey, as the leader of all Turkic people. The country is after all located in the general region of the world where Turkic tribes first entered the pages of history, and ethnic Kazakhs after all are genetically a pure Turkic people.

In any case, while many within Kazakhstan's political/economic elite were busy chasing wealth and power by working with dangerous elements from around the world, Kazakhstan itself was being prepped to become a battlefield between East and West. The insurrection Kazakhstan therefore fell victim to recently is essentially the result of Astana's version of "complimentary politics". Kazakhstan is thus very similar to Ukraine in many regards. From a geostrategic perspective, Ukraine and Kazakhstan have similar weight for Moscow and for the West. Ukraine is of paramount importance in Europe whereas the same can be said of Kazakhstan in central Asia. Kazakh officials thought they could keep good relations with Russia, at the same time develop close ties with Western powers and Turkey

All in all, Kazakhstan is a very typical post-Soviet story we have seen take place all across Eurasia.

We all know that similar processes came to pass place in Georgia, Ukraine and Armenia. For 30 years, successive Armenian governments allowed Western (and Turkish) interests to set deep roots in the country essentially because Armenian officials were more interested in the pursuit of wealth, comfort and entertainment than the country's well being and security. It can be said that Armenia's insurrection was the Color Revolution that brought Nikol's regime to power in the spring of 2018. A similar insurrection was attempted in Belarus between 2020 and 2021. Unlike the ones in Georgia, Ukraine and Armenia, however, the insurrection in Belarus was ultimately defeated because of President Lukashenko's resilience and the steadfast patriotism of the Belarusian people. Eventually and perhaps due to Astana's dangerous playmates, inevitably, it was Kazakhstan's turn most recently. But, like in Belarus, the attempt failed.

The attempt failed because President Tokayev, Kazakhstan's current leader, is a Russian educated (MGIMO graduate) technocrat, and unlike his Georgian, Ukrainian and Armenian counterparts, he refused to give up power and instead called for Russian help. There were several factors working clearly in President Tokayev's favor in this regard. Foremost, President Tokayev had close ties in the Kremlin. Moreover, Kazakhstan has a large minority of ethnic Russians (around 20%, concentrated mainly in northern areas of the country). Also important, a majority of ethnic Kazakhs (especially those living in metropolitan areas) are for the most part Russified (i.e. Russian speaking Kazakhs, not interested in Pan-Turkism or Islamic radicalism). Kazakh "nationalists", Pan-Turkists and Islamists are therefore a minority in the country, albeit a very dangerous and violent on. The insurgency nevertheless was quickly crushed as a result with help from Moscow: 
Because there are parallels and resulting questions between what happened in Armenia back in 2018 and the recent situation in Kazakhstan, I will add the following.

Due to a number of reasons Moscow chose not to interfere in Armenia's internal affairs in 2018. Moscow simply stood on the sidelines and patiently watched as professional Russophobes with no political experience come to power riding a wave of Armenian-style politically illiteracy and emotional outburst. In my opinion, Moscow understood that regardless of who was in power in Yerevan, it had the situation under control in the tiny, poor and landlocked republic that is, was and will be almost totally dependent on Russia for its survival. So, while Nikol's incompetent and anti-Russian regime thought they had plans, Moscow was devising a set of plans of its own. In other words, Moscow understood that there was an opportunity in what was happening in Armenia, it therefore allowed Armenians the proverbial "rope". After over 25 years of maintaining a status quo in Artsakh that was ultimately in Armenia's favor, the Kremlin quietly removed its protective hand from the disputed territory. The inevitable therefore happened. Just before Armenia's much beloved, "democratically elected", pro-Western and pro-Turkish government lost all of Artsakh to a Turkish-backed Azeri invasion, the Kremlin jumped in to secure new positions in the south Caucasus. And in doing so, the Kremlin made Armenia (and Azerbaijan) even more dependent on Russia for survival, punished Armenian society for its political illiteracy and growing Russophobia, and gained a much coveted military presence in Artsakh and Azerbaijan.

From the Kremlin's perspective, Kazakhstan is altogether a different story.

Due to Western, Turkish and Islamist interests deeply embedded in the large, oil rich and strategically located nation who's population is comprised mostly of Muslims and ethnic Turks, Moscow knew it could easily lose control of the situation and therefore the country itself if drastic measures were not taken and done so quickly. It should also be added here that from the Kremlin's perspective this was a good time, as any, to finally begin Kazakhstan's journey back to Mother Russia as well. Besides, Kazakhstan - similar to Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Belarus - is a Soviet creation. We again saw the Kremlin not allow a crisis to go to waste and use a Western instigated political unrest in its backyard to advance its national interests.

In my opinion, the recent unrest in Kazakhstan and Russia's reaction to it should be looked at against the backdrop of the historic demands the Kremlin announced last December.

Russian-Western relations have not been this bad since the Cuban missile crisis 60 years ago. Tensions are in fact high all across Eurasia and the Middle East. Alliances are changing. The world's political paradigm itself is in a flux. A lot of this is going on behind the scenes. We the sheeple only see a tiny bit of the bigger picture. There could therefore be a number of reasons behind why the insurrection in Kazakhstan was ignited now. My guess, the political elite in Kazakhstan had been working towards entering a union with Russia. Foreign interests embedded in the country (namely: Western-backed "nationalists", Islamist radicals and Pan-Turkists) may have been activated to sabotage the plan. There is another likely possibility. A fire was ignited in a Turkic/Islamic hot-spot like Central Asia to distract Moscow's attention from Ukraine. And as one should expect when it comes to anything relating to Russia, there is also a "conspiracy theory". Could the crisis in Kazakhstan have been false flag operation carried-out by Russian and Kazakh intelligence agencies in order to flush-out insurgents and tighten Moscow's grip over country and send a warning to the West? Perhaps. But this is something the Kremlin strongly refutes. In my opinion, all of these scenarios and theories are plausible.

Nevertheless, regardless of how the unrest in Kazakhstan was ignited, the problem manifesting itself in the country was obviously there for a longtime because of Astana's version of "complimentary politics". For 30 years Kazakh officials were flirting with Western powers, Pan-Turkists and Islamist radicals. Regardless of who specifically was behind the insurgency in Kazakhstan recently, what Moscow needed to do was respond to the unrest at the request of President Tokayev and help him crush it. Moscow needed to politically exploit the situation by using this opportunity to also bring Kazakhstan closer to Russia. Thus, faced with an armed rebellion in a very large, wealthy and neighboring country located in a very volatile Turkic and Islamic part of the world, the Kremlin had no choice but to react quickly.

Enter the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The CSTO's long overdue and much anticipated debut was finally made, and made so in dramatic fashion:
No, Russia hasn’t ‘invaded’ Kazakhstan

In the big picture, regardless of who provoked it and why, Moscow's reaction to the unrest in Kazakhstan was a major blow not only to the advance of Anglo-American-Jewish interests in Central Asia but also to Pan-Turkism and Islamic radicalism within Moscow's near abroad (i.e. traditional spheres of influence).

Understandably, Azerbaijan's political/economic elite - who has also flirted with Anglo-American-Jews, Pan-Turkism and Islamic radicalism during the past 30 years - is now also feeling the pressure. In my opinion, regardless of what Armenians think about him, President Ilham Aliyev has been a very intelligent and cunning leader. President Aliyev has no real appetite for Pan-Turkism or Islamic radicalism, nor is he particularly fond of Western powers. He paid the aforementioned lip-service to simply to accumulate vast wealth and get his way in Artsakh. It worked. Nevertheless, similar to President Tokayev, President Aliyev has maintained very close ties in the Kremlin. His father after all was a high level KGB official. He is after all a MGIMO alumni as well. Moreover, President Aliyev is not religious, nor is he actually an ethnic Turk. I think President Aliyev will at some point abandon Azerbaijan to Russia in some form or another and move on to enjoy his massive wealth.

The pro-Turkish and pro-Western players in Azerbaijan's political field know this. They are therefore seeing the writing on the wall. They therefore know that sooner-or-later it will be Azerbaijan's turn. Some Azeris and Turks aired their grievances about Moscow's intervention in Kazakhstan:

Russian Foreign Ministry urges Turkish officials refrain from ill-considered arguments 

Satanovsky on sending Armenian servicemen to Kazakhstan

We are living in dangerous times. We are also living in historic times. The world's political paradigm is shifting. The world's financial/economic system is slowly changing. As a result, there are some positive geopolitical processes taking place. Russia and China are gradually gaining strength. Western influence around the world in waning. With the rise of Russia and China as global powers, the prospects of Pan-Turkism in Eurasia is also now all but dead. Sadly, however, all this seems lost on Armenian society. This is not a surprise because a vast majority of Armenians live in self-centered bubble and because Armenians treat politics as if it's a street fight or a domestic dispute. Had we Armenians been a politically mature people with vision, foresight and some sophistication, Armenia would not have suffered a historic and embarrassing tragedy in Artsakh. Had Armenians been smart enough to abandon complimentary politics, especially after 2008 and fully embrace the Russian Bear, the Kremlin would not be this indifferent towards Armenian sentiments. Had genuine patriotism been a strong trait among Armenians, Armenia would not be where it is today. Since Armenian society today generally speaking suffers from emotional handicaps, political illiteracy and cognitive dissonance, it is no surprise that Armenians today are complaining about Armenia's involvement in the Moscow-led effort to curb the spread of Pan-Turkism and Islamic extremism in Kazakhstan.

Incited by professional Russophobes in our midst, the "Armenian Street" has been shouting: "Where was the CSTO when we needed them?!" And: "Armenia has no business in Kazakhstan!" The following are some of the instigators behind such sentiments:
We are again seeing a merger of interests between Armenia's professional Russophobes, Western powers, Turks and Azeris. Provoking Armenians (who are very easy to provoke) to speak up against Armenia's involvement in Kazakhstan is merely an attempt by Armenia's and Russia's enemies to cause problems between Moscow and Yerevan. Simply put, they are trying to turn public sentiments in Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora against the Kremlin. It's nothing new. They have been doing this for decades. They have the experience, the funding, the network/infrastructure and unfortunately the willing foot soldiers (i.e. idiots trying to "free" Armenia from "Russian occupation") to get it done. And because Armenian society generally speaking is politically illiterate, emotionally handicapped and lives in a self-centered bubble, our professional Russophobes have been successful in sowing anti-Russian fear, distrust, confusion and hysteria, especially in recent years. It was therefore not a surprise that a majority of people in Armenia was against Armenia's participation in the Russian-led effort to stop the spread of Pan-Turkism and Islamic radicalism within Armenia's neighborhood.

To set the record straight: Armenia and Artsakh did NOT qualify for CSTO intervention for the following three reasons:
1) Nikol’s regime NEVER officially asked for help. Although Nikol's incompetent and treasonous officials threw a temper-tantrum in public about the lack of Russian support to make the Kremlin look bad, by all accounts, they never officially requested Russian support. I think Nikol's regime did not want any form of intervention from anyone because things are going more-or-less according to their plans, which is to try to normalize relations with Ankara and Baku at all costs. In other words, everything is more-or-less in control and events were more-or-less following a previously agreed to script.

2) Artsakh was NEVER covered by Russian protection. Moreover, nobody, not Western powers, not Russia, not Iran, not even Armenia, recognized Artsakh's independence or its union/merger with Armenia. Since Artsakh was not officially part of Armenia and Moscow was not fully on-board with every single Armenian claim over the disputed territory, CSTO could not be called into action there during the war. Artsakh was our fight, not Russia's. Moscow was never on-board with Armenian claims over Artsakh. Although Moscow recognized the rights of the Armenian population living within the internationally recognized borders of Nagorno Karabakh, it never accepted Armenian claims over the 7 additional territories taken from Azerbaijan during the first war. Artsakh was our fight, not Russia’s. We are the ones that failed Artsakh, not Russia. 

3) Armenia was NEVER in danger of an invasion. The on-going border skirmishes are directly connected to the long overdue border demarcation and delineation process. There has not been a clearly defined border between Armenia and Azerbaijan in over 30 years. Having won the second war for Artsakh, Baku is simply putting pressure on Yerevan to finally recognize Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized, Soviet era borders.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explained some of this soon after the war. Long story, short: Armenia is not facing an invasion by Azerbaijan or Turkey or anybody else for that matter. From day one, Artsakh was our fight, not Russia's. Therefore, Armenia and Artsakh did not qualify for military assistance from the CSTO. Russia was not obligated by contract or even by geostrategic calculations or concerns to intervene militarily in Artsakh or Armenia.
One more time: The Kremlin, the real engine behind CSTO, was not eager to get involved in a border dispute between two nations that Moscow ultimately wants back within its orbit. Moscow wants to see both Armenia and Azerbaijan as part of Russian-led organization like the CSTO and EEU. Moscow wants both Armenia and Azerbaijan to go back to Mother Russia. Don't worry, Ukraine's turn will come as well. Georgia's turn will come faster in my opinion. It's only a matter of time. Nevertheless, I reiterate that the CSTO had no contractual obligations toward Artsakh and Russian officials had no desire to get involved in a mess we Armenians "democratically" created by ourselves during the past 3 years. 
Could Moscow and the CSTO do more to lessen Armenia's pain and burden? Of course they could. Would they do so for Nikol's regime, who's officials were making a living as anti-Russian activists prior to coming to power in 2018? No.

The Kremlin is not about to jump into a war against Azerbaijan after every single Armenian cry, whimper, sigh, whine, moan or groan, especially for a regime in Yerevan that made a living serving Western powers prior to coming to power in 2018. If Moscow is not treating Armenia with white gloves these days, we only have ourselves to blame. With this regime in power and with professional Russophobes restlessly stirring the pot throughout Armenian society, Armenia can only expect the bare minimum from Russia. Kremlin officials will keep Armenia alive purely for geostrategic reasons and not because of some "brotherly relations" that unfortunately no longer exists as a result of our toxic love affair with the Western world. These are political nuances we Armenians are continuing to misread and disregard to Armenia's detriment. In case we forgot, the following is a little reminder about Armenia's "democratically elected" government and their toxic handiwork in the country. The following are the kinds of people Armenians elected not once but twice to represent them on the world stage. And the following is the kind of society Russian officials have to unfortunately deal with:

Սորոսի գործակալական ցանցը Հայաստանում բացահայտված է.պետության զավթումը

Սորոսական Դանիել Իոաննիսյանն ԱՄՆ Կոնգրեսում բողոքում է Ռուսաստանից․Տեսանյութ

Երբ Հաաստանի ազգային կառավարությունը սեղմեց Ջո Բայդենի ձեռքը, այլևս անվտանգային խնդիրներ չենք ունենա

Գասպարին բողոքի ակցիա իրականացրեց ընդդեմ Ռ. Քոչարյանի և ՌԴ-ի

Դավաճանությունը կազմակերպված է եղել և կազմակերպվել է Ռուսաստանի կողմից․ Ռուբեն Հախվերդյան

Մասոններ Հայաստանում

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Nikol Pashinyan will declare Russia as the only culprit

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How Russia Betrayed the Armenians in 1915: Lessons from the Armenian Genocide

All this from a country that is desperately dependent on Russia for survival. It would be a gross understatement to say Armenia is flooded with Western AND Turkish agents. Our anti-Russian lunatics are serving not only Western but also Turkish interests. Some of them recently participated in an anti-Russian protest in New York City alongside anti-Tokayev Kazakhs who are in-effect Pan-Turkists and Islamists. Are these so-called Armenians absolute idiots or traitors? I ask you to decide:
As the reader can clearly see, Western and Turkish agents of influence have flooded Armenian society in recent years, yet we still have idiots chasing after Russian ghosts. Our professional Russophobes and those under their influence have turned Armenia into an apple of contention not only between between Russia and Western powers but also between Russia and Turkey. These people are the main reason why Armenia today is alone, isolated, neglected, ignored and in despair. This is what happens to nations that stand in the middle of the geopolitical road. Take all of the above into close consideration when trying to understand why or how relations between Moscow and Yerevan cooled in recent years and why Russians at times seems to be punishing Armenia. As long as we have professional Russophobes representing Armenia on the world stage, Russians will not do us Armenians any extracurricular favors and will instead strictly pursue their national interests. We can therefore only expect the bare minimum (i.e. strictly what's written under contractual agreement) from the Kremlin as long as Nikol's regime is in power.

We Armenians cannot complain about any of this because we got ourselves into this situation.

Besides, when those representing Armenia today don't care about Armenia's core interests, we Armenians cannot in all honesty expect Russians to care. In other words, we need to stop expecting Russians to put Armenia's interests ahead of Russia's while we have a government and population that could careless about Armenia. In the big picture, the freehand that the Kremlin has today with regards to Armenia may be why Russian officially do not mind having an incompetent traitor like Nikol remain in power. And this brings up another important political nuance I would like to briefly touch upon, to clear the picture that has been tainted by our professional Russophobes. It is common to hear Armenians say that Russia had and continues to have total control over Armenia and that anti-Russian actions and expressions in Armenian society do not mean much in real political terms and that they may even be needed to keep Russian officials mindful of Armenia.

I wholeheartedly disagree.

It is the height of cognitive dissonance and political incompetence to think that a tiny, poor, weak, remote, landlocked and blockaded nation that is almost totally dependent on Russia for survival and is surrounded by powerful enemies should act tough with Russia. What a stupid and self-destructive mindset. We unfortunately tried variations of that approach for 30 years, and here we are. There is nothing good or positive about the work our professional Russophobes do. Period. Their existence only serves to distort reality and mislead Armenian society. Our professional Russophobes are actually like cancerous tumors. If we allow them to metastasize any further than they already have, Armenia will surely die. They have done enough damage by making Russians and Armenians distrustful of each-another. They have done enough damage by making Armenian society think that Western powers can be trusted and that "complimentary politics" is a smart thing for Armenia to pursue.

And no, Russia did not and still does not have total control over Armenian society. That accusation is a myth.

The reality in Armenia was and continues to be the following: While Moscow controls strategic assets in Armenia, largely thanks to the "Karbakh Clan", the rest of the Armenian body continues to be controlled by Anglo-American-Jews and Turks. Said otherwise, Russia controlled Armenia's head and Russia's enemies controlled Armenia's body. Predictably, the head and the body went separate ways in 2018. Armenia was thus beheaded.

The truth of the matter is that by 2018, Western and Turkish assets had come to fully saturate Armenian society and Armenia was ripe for a Color Revolution. Without a capable government in Yerevan - and one that wasn't constantly trying to play both sides of the geopolitical divide - Russia could not easily (that is bloodlessly) stop a Color Revolution from taking place in Armenia. We can debate ad nauseam all the suspected reasons behind why Serj Sargsyan gave-up power without a fight. At the end of the day, however, we also need to acknowledge that there were many competing powers and interests in Armenia in 2018, and Nikol and company seemed to enjoy well-funded and well-organized support from both inside and outside of the country. Seeing the writing on the wall, Serj Sargsyan may have simply stepped out of the way and allowed the process that had already started play-out its course.

In any case, the notion that Russians had or has total control over Armenia, especially before 2020, is pure disinformation. It is a strawman argument. It is meant to distract, confuse and mislead. It is also a smokescreen professional Russophobes use to conceal their subversive actions. They are playing mind games (i.e. psy-ops) with us. Think of it this way: If Russia has total control over Armenia, than everything bad that happens in Armenia (e.g. yesterday's oligarchs, today's degenerates, loss of Artsakh, comatose economy, dwindling population, recognizing Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, etc.) is Russia's fault. This kind of thinking automatically gets Western and Turkish operatives in the country off-the-hook, so to speak. This is the smokescreen they operate behind. This is what's known as subversive activity. But stuff like this has been tolerated by Armenian society for a very long time. And this is basically why Western and Turkish agents of influence have been so successful in muddying the water and leading Armenians astray. As a result, we hear these types of anti-Russian propaganda and disinformation repeated and regurgitated throughout Armenian society.

And all this brings up yet another point. We need to end the sacred Armenian tradition of blaming all others for all our flaws. If we Armenians want to see those directly responsible for turning Armenia into a Third World shithole and a bone of contention between East and West, and lose Artsakh in the process, we should look in the mirror.
In any case, and regardless of everything else, Armenia and Armenians are in no shape to resist or demand anything from the Russian Bear. The Bear wants Armenia. Period. Instead of risking life and limb, I say we make the best of it. Like the idiom suggests, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This wisdom of sorts needs to be acknowledged by all Armenians, including those among us who are not particularly fond of Russians. Armenia has no alternatives to Russia, unless we are ready to consider Turkey and Azerbaijan as viable alternatives. For better or for worst, Armenia is wed to Russia. Russia may not be a best partner (a flaw all marriages suffer from) but it is the only partner Armenia has. More importantly, we at least know that Russia wants to be in a long-term partnership with Armenia. In a neighborhood as complex and as dangerous as the south Caucasus, that is a blessing and a historic opportunity. Russia remains Armenia's only lifeline. Even a professional Russophobe like Nikol has no choice but to acknowledge all this, and therefore acquiesce to the Kremlin's wishes. And what a transformation it has been.

Prior to coming to power in 2018, Nikol was a professional Russophobe. As a result of the disastrous war in Artsakh, Nikol then became President Putin's hostage. Today, Nikol has been ceremoniously elevated to the position of President Putin's dog. Yes, President Putin has a new, obedient dog whose name is Nikol:

Watching Nikol preside over the CSTO's peacekeeping operation in Kazakhstan was nothing but poetic justice. It could not have happened to a better person. Karma is a bitch, as they say. Consider the esthetics of it all: Nikol, a sexually deviant, emotionally unstable, tactless, Turkish/Zionist tool, professional Russophobe, one who was directly involved in an armed rebellion against the Armenian state in 2008, causing the deaths of 10 people in the process, was made to oversee the crushing of a similar rebellion in Kazakhstan. In other words, an organizer of a bloody Color Revolution was put in charge of crushing a Color RevolutionThis is an amazing feat of Russian statecraft. A Western-funded, pro-Turkish professional Russophobe was transformed into an obedient slave by the Kremlin. AmazingI thought stuff like this could only be seen in movies or read in history books.

The geopolitical gods work in mysterious ways, and they apparently also have a very sharp sense of humor.

In any case, our Western and Turkish led agents of influence operating under the guise of "nationalists" (i.e. those who claim Nikol is an undercover "Russian agent" and that we must do everything in our power to get rid of Russia and turn Armenia over to the United States as soon as possible) will try to convince our backward peasantry that the armed uprising in Kazakhstan was carried-out by Russian special services in order to occupy the country - similar I guess to how Russia was also behind Elchibey coming to power in 1991... Saakashvili in 2005... Syria's insurgency in 2011... Ukraine's Maidan in 2014... President Trump in 2016... Nikol in 2018... unrest in Belarus in 2020... Et cetera. Et cetera. All the aforementioned events ultimately served Russian interests, they therefore have to be Russian projects. Actully, according to the spiritual and financial father's of our professional Russophobes, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky and Tucker Carlson are also Russian agents:
As the reader can see, according to professional Russophobes worldwide, evil Russians have superhuman capabilities. And if that's the case, then what's the point of resisting them I ask?
Putting a "Russian agent" label on anyone that does not do their bidding has been common practice in the Anglo-American-Jewish world going back to the 1950s. Remember all this next time you hear one of our idiots accusing Nikol of being a Russian agent.

Getting back to the situation in Kazakhstan and the CSTO, despite what our professional Russophobes want us to believe, Kazakhstan did qualify for CSTO assistanceThe situation in Kazakhstan was clearly an internal power struggle between pro-Russian and anti-Russian circles. As I noted above, a union with Russia may have been in the works behind the scenes in Astana. The insurrection could therefore have been an attempt to sabotage it. The large, wealthy and strategically important central Asian country was at risk of falling to a Western-backed Pan-Turkic and Islamist insurgency, but Kazakh President Tokayev, Kazakhstan's Russian-educated leader with close ties in the Kremlin decided to resist by officially requested help from Russia. Make no mistake about it, a Pan-Turkic and Islamic takeover of a country as strategically important as Kazakhstan would have posed a great threat not only to Russia but also to Armenia.

The fall of Kazakhstan would have proven disastrous in the long-term not only for Russia but also for Armenia.

By being made to participating in the Russian-led CSTO operation, Armenia was essentially made to partake in the effort to stop the spread of Pan-Turkism and Islamic radicalism in the heartland of Eurasia. Armenia therefore did indeed have business to take care of in Kazakhstan. The fact that our Russophobes did not want Armenia involved in crushing the Western-backed insurgency in Kazakhstan speaks volumes about their real intentions and priorities. Nevertheless, for the first time in over 3 years I can finally say I am proud of Armenia. And I am happy that President Putin has a new dog called Nikol. I am glad that President Putin's newest dog was made to send Armenian troops to Kazakhstan to assist in the effort to curb the spread of Western, Turkish and Islamic influence in the strategic country and help bring Astana closer to Russia. Fortunately, the insurrection in Kazakhstan failed; at least for now. The story therefore may not yet be over. There may be repercussions felt elsewhere. Geopolitics is after all a high stakes game of chess. In other words, Russia's antagonists made a move, Russia responded. Additional moves on the global chessboard will takes place.

Therefore, the story has not ended yet. Let's see how this all pans-out in the coming months. Nevertheless, and despite what the Kremlin's antagonists want, the writing is clearly on the wall now. The unprecedented unrest in a in Kazakhstan will inevitably bring Astana closer to Russia, just as the unrest in Belarus a year ago brought Minks closer to Russia, just like Armenia's defeat in Artsakh in 2020 forced Yerevan closer to Russia. Eventually, it will be Azerbaijan's, Georgia's and Ukraine's turn as well. All of them will be going back to Mother Russia in one form or another, sooner or later. It's only a matter of time. We may therefore indeed be watching the resurrection of the Russian Empire. God willing. In the meanwhile, for us Armenians, there is Nikol and company to worry about.

Many of Armenia's "nationalists" and Russophobes are actually undercover Turcophiles

With tension very high all across Eurasia, the risk of a major regional conflagration remains high as well. God forbid Russia is drawn into a major war. War, regardless of why it is fought and who is fighting it, is a monster that is by nature not only destructive but also very unpredictable. Such a calamity can have very dire repercussions for a tiny, impoverished and helpless nation like Armenia. Nevertheless, if the unthinkable happens, a major war between Russia and the Western alliance can only have one of two logical outcomes: A Russian victory or a Russian defeat. If Russia wins, Armenia will survive but it will most probably get absorbed into the Russian Federation. If Russia loses, Armenia will stand all alone in front of Turkey, Azerbaijan and a number of Islamist terror groups that operate throughout the region. In other words, if Russia loses, we Armenians may be facing another genocide. Therefore, if you care for Armenia, begin praying that there is no war, as there are no real winners in a war. But, if there is a war, pray to God that Russia wins.

Armenians always need to be mindful of the unpleasant fact that Armenia borders two large and wealthy genocidal neighbors, one of whom happens to be a major NATO member and finances a number of Pan-Turkist and Sunni-Islamist extremist groups throughout the region. Armenia has no alternatives to Russia. Armenia's existence as a nation is only made possible by a strong Russian presence in the south Caucasus. Once that Russian presence is gone or is significantly weakened, Armenia will stand alone in front of genocidal predators. It happened once before during the First World War when the Russian Empire fell to the Bolsheviks in 1917. All of Western Armenia was subsequently overrun by Turks. What little that had remained of Armenia in the south Caucasus was then saved from advancing Turks by the Red Army in late 1920.
Long story, short: Armenia's life and well-being is directly connected to that of Russia's.

What concerns me a lot is the large number of pro-Western and pro-Turkish activists operating freely inside Armenian society these days. Nikol's rise to power in 2018 is proof that anti-Russian forces have been quite successful in pushing forward their agendas in Armenia in recent years. There are even self-proclaimed nationalists in Armenia today trying their best to make Armenia follow in the footsteps of Georgia and Ukraine. Not only that, the same also call for the demise and fall of the Russian state. These circles seem blind to the fact that Ukraine lost massive amounts of territory and has been turned into a zone of conflict between East and West. They seem blind to the fact that Georgia today is overrun by Turks and Azeris and Tbilisi no longer has control over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and will most likely be going back to Mother Russia anyway. They seem blind to the fact that although Ukraine borders the European Union and Georgia is on the Black Sea, both nations have suffered terrible consequences as a result of their Western-financed Russophobia.

These self-proclaimed nationalists also don't seem to understand that Armenia is defenseless against Turks and Azeris and that the Russian presence in the south Caucasus is the only geopolitical factor allowing the existence of an Armenian state in a very complex, very violent, very Turkic and very Islamic region of the world.

A Russian defeat in any form is unimaginable from an Armenian perspective.

This therefore begs the question: Are these people who are calling for Russia's defeat and/or its eviction from Armenia, insane or are they traitors (i.e. making a living promoting anti-Russian hysteria for the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance and Turkey)? Regardless of who or what these people are, they do not seem to realize or care that Armenia's ties with Russia cannot be broken without killing Armenia in the process. But, for the sake of argument, allow me to engage in some fantasy. Let's imagine that Armenians were somehow able to free Armenia from the clutches of big, bad Russia. With Armenia suddenly stripped of its Russian presence, what do you think will happen next?

Is there anyone alive today that believes that as soon as Yerevan breaks its ties with Moscow and Russians troops in Armenia pack their bags and quietly leave, Joe Biden's United States will jump into the geopolitical void to militarily secure the country from all regional threats?

Some Armenians actually do.

Don't believe me? See the video link below. Self-proclaimed nationalists in the "Ազգային Բևեռ" movement recently announced the following: The moment a nationalistic government comes to power in Armenia and shakes the hand of Joe Biden (and therefore abandons its alliance with Russia) Armenia will no longer have any national security concerns because the United States will place Armenia under its military protection as it has done for Ukraine. So, they are telling us: Get rid of Russia, Joe Biden will save Armenia, just like it is saving Ukraine. Brilliant! Knowing what we know about Western powers and knowing what we know about Russia, what kind of people would make such statements and how insane and/or suicidal must one be to applaud them? Please watch for yourselves:
In the minds of these professional Russophobes, the United States will come to Armenia's aid, and do so militarily - although Americans have recently abandoned Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. It is beyond obvious that Western powers will not militarily intervene on behalf of a strategically significant country like Ukraine either, even though Ukraine's geostrategic value to Western powers dwarfs that of a tiny, landlocked, poor and remote nation like Armenia. In other words, if Western powers will not militarily intervene on behalf of a giant geostrategic asset like Ukraine, a country that is located on the borders of European Union and NATO, and a country that has a Western-installed government, how out-of-touch with reality must one be - or rather how treacherous and duplicitous must one be - to claim that the United States will militarily intervene on Armenia's behalf, in the south Caucasus of all places, and do so against the Kremlin's wishes?!

When confronted with hard facts about U.S. policy in the region, these mercenaries claim that the problem all along was President Trump and his "America First" policy. According to them, President Biden wants to bring America back to the south Caucasus. It is of course a ludicrous claim. But, let's again play a game of make-believe and say it's true. Let's say President Biden wants very badly to setup a military presence in Armenia and Armenia is somehow able to safely divorce itself from Russia. My question would therefore be the following: What will happen tomorrow or the day after when President Trump or someone like him comes back to power in Washington DC and once again says America First, we need to get the hell out of the south Caucasus? What will happen then? Well, what will happen is this: Americans will leave Armenia in the middle of the night, as they usually do, and Turks will begin massacring Armenians the morning after, as they usually do, and Russians will standby shaking their heads in disbelief, only to then jump in at the last minute to save a little piece of Armenia for themselves, as they usually do.

End of fantasy time. Let's get back to reality. Long story, short, no matter how you look at it, these people are filthy traitors and/or mentally disturbed idiots - or both. There is no other way to describe their work.

Let's always be mindful of the fact that Armenia's enemies are the Western world's friends. In fact, warm relations between western European powers and Turks go back centuries. Turkey has been a preeminent ally for Western powers for nearly one hundred years. Many Armenians are again making a dangerous mistake by thinking that strategic relations between Anglo-American-Jews and Turkey is on the verge of a historic divorce. So, one more time: The West's problem is with President Erdogan, not Turkey. Strategically, the nation of Turkey is too valuable to be abandoned by the West regardless of who is in power in Ankara. Allow me to also remind the reader that President Erdogan is a mortal, he will therefore be gone relatively soon, one way or another. Despite President Erdogan, however, Turkey remains one of the Western world's premiere allies and tool of destruction and will remain so for the foreseeable future. And Azerbaijan, needless to say, remains one of Israel's most important friends, not to mention one of the Western world's closest energy partners.

Anyone that knows anything about politics or history knows that Western powers would not care if Armenia was wiped off the map. Anyone that knows anything about politics or history knows/understands that Armenia today lives because of its close ties to Russia. Similarly, anyone that knows anything about politics or history knows that Armenia's existence as a nation-state in the south Caucasus ONLY serves Russia's and to a lesser extent Iran's interests.
Long story, short: Other than Russia and Iran, NO ONE cares if Armenia lives or dies. This is a fact of life.
Therefore, any individual or group in Armenian society - be it in the homeland, be it in the diaspora - that does not understand this is either stupid or an agent of Western and Turkish influence. Any individual or group in Armenian society that calls for Russia's fall is either idiot or an agent of Western and Turkish influence. Any individual or group in Armenian society that calls for the eviction of Russia's military from Armenia is either insane or an agent of Western and Turkish influence. Russophobia within Armenian society can only come as a result of stupidity, mental disorders and/or treason. There is no other explanation.
Stripping Armenia's of its Russian protection and making Armenia vulnerable to Turkish inroads is exactly what Westerners and Turks of course have been planning for many years:
George Friedman: Keep Armenia Isolated – Turkish Forum English
STRATFOR: buffer zone against Russia should be created in Caucasus
Armenian diaspora: Focus on Russia rather than Turkey!

Only through breaking Armenia’s dependency on Russia—through renormalization with Azerbaijan and Turkey—will the region’s true economic potential be unleashed.

Kenneth Yalowitz: Expanding NATO-Armenia cooperation to boost Armenia's security

Why Russian peacekeepers are a threat to peace in the South Caucasus

The US Must Save Armenia From Russia

Study Abroad in Turkey for Armenian American Students

Turkish agents are throughout social media doing their best to alter/warp Armenian perceptions.

As the reader can clearly see, their ultimate goal has always been to drive a wedge between Russia and Armenia and bring Armenians and Turks together, exclusively under the supervision of Anglo-American-Jews. Yet, we keep hearing from our professional Russophobes that it is Moscow that wants Armenia to normalize relations with Turkey. It's disinformation and a half-truth. The reality of the matter is that Russia ALSO wants to see the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey. Not necessarily reconciliation, but normalization. There is a fundamental difference between the two: the former implies friendship, the latter implies formal contacts. In any case, for decades Western powers have been trying to get Armenians and Turks not only to normalize relations but also to reconcile. For reasons I cannot yet fully explain, although as the reader will see later in this commentary I do have a strong suspicion, the desire or wish to bring Armenians and Turks together is an international one. Getting Armenia to open up to Turkey has actually become competition between the two superpowers.

Our so-called nationalists have been against Nikol's attempts to normalize relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan ONLY because it is being done under Russian supervision, not Western. Therefore the problem at hand is technical and geopolitical in nature. And herein lines the problem. Moscow wants Yerevan to normalize relations with Ankara and Baku under its supervision and control, Western powers want the same under their supervision and control (i.e. without Russia).

Said otherwise, Armenia has a historic date with Turkey and the main question is who will be Armenia's chaperone, Ivan or Uncle Sam?

Not reconciliation (i.e. establishment of friendly ties) but normalization of relations (i.e. establishment of formal ties) between Armenians and Turks is happening one way or another. We cannot stop the process, nor should we in my opinion. I therefore suggest we think very long and hard about the question as to who's supervision should it be under - Russia or the West? Any form of normalization of relations between a tiny, remote, landlocked, impoverished and defeated nation like Armenia and a massive military and economic power like Turkey, is very-very bad news for Armenia. There can't be any "interdependence" between a nation like Armenia and a very large, very Islamic and very militaristic regional power like Turkey. Unconditionally opening Armenia's border to Turkey and Azerbaijan without proper supervision and control by an invested regional superpower will inevitably result in a master-servant relationship between Turks and Armenians. And guess who will be the servant?

This in a nutshell is the main danger Armenia faces today. I therefore again pose this question: Since Armenia is on the path of normalizing relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan, who do we Armenians want to oversee the process, a neighboring superpower who has been an ally of Armenia through good days and through bad days during the past 200-plus years, or a traditional ally of Turkey who lives thousands of miles away and is in the south Caucasus only to exploit energy (that which Turks control) and undermine Russia and Iran? The answer should be obvious to any rational minded Armenian patriot. If Armenia is to open up to Turkey and/or Azerbaijan, it has to be under Russian supervision. Period.

I personally support normalizing Armenia's relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan. Armenia cannot forever live landlocked and blockaded and at war with its neighbors. The country is slowly decaying in isolation and neglect. We lost the second war for Artsakh as humiliatingly as Azerbaijan lost the first war 30 years ago. The current generation of Armenians pale in comparison to their Soviet predecessors. Armenia won't survive another 30 years of what it went through during the previous 30 years. A solution has to be found. We need to figure-out a way to end our 30 year old decline. Moreover, we Armenians are in no shape to demand anything from anyone. We are in no position to act tough. We are in no position to be maximalistic. Sooner-or-later Armenia will need to open up to its neighbors. And I am under no illusions regarding Armenia's neighbors or its neighborhood. Normalization of relations, in any form, with a people like Turks and Azeris has to be done safely, gradually and in very close collaboration and cooperation with Armenia's natural allies, namely Russia and Iran. Prior to opening up to Ankara and Baku, Armenia's borders have to be properly secured by Russian-Armenian forces and Armenia's economy has to be properly protected against a Turkish takeover through laws and restrictions. The safest way to do this is through a union with the Russian Federation. Russians understands this. Belorussians understand this. Armenia is too small, too remote, too landlocked, too poor and too weak - and Armenians are too politically illiterate and self-destructive - to expose itself to a giant like Turkey without security guarantees from Moscow and very close relations with Tehran.

Therefore, the fundamental problem I have with the current normalization process, is because it's being done with a treasonous and incompetent regime at the helm in Yerevan. Nikol and company cannot be trusted to navigate through the normalization process safely.

We faced a similar situation back in the mid-to-late 1990s, when Washington DC was doing its best to encourage Armenia to settle the Artsakh dispute with Azerbaijan and open borders with Turkey. The said agenda was known as the Goble Plan and Armenia's leadership at the time was very eager. It was at a time when Russia was on its knees. Western powers were trying to take advantage of the historic situation presented in the south Caucasus by the unexpected collapse of the USSR earlier in the decade. However, Russia was on its knees but it was not dead. The parliamentary assassinations that took place on October 27, 1999 more-or-less put an end to the Goble Plan and brought to power in Yerevan a pro-Russian government, later to be known as the "Karbakh Clan". Fast forward 2o years. The current situation can be looked at as a modified version of the aforementioned Goble Plan, this time presided over by the Kremlin. In a sense, with Western powers in decline, Russia is the one trying to take advantage of the situation today.

This is the complex geopolitical mess Nikol's regime got itself embroiled in, with no idea as to what to how to go about it.
Simply put, our professional Russophobes are upset NOT because Armenia is being pressured to normalize relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan, they are upset simply because Nikol is doing so under Russian and not Western supervision. Our "nationalists" want Armenia to come out of under the Kremlin's protective umbrella and establish relations with Turks and Azerbaijan without what their financiers in Washington DC and London call "Russian meddling". With the following links, the reader will clearly see that mercenaries posing as officials, historians, politicians, intellectuals, activists, experts and nationalists in Armenian society don't have a problem with Turkey or Azerbaijan, what they really have a problem with is Russia. I am not making any of this stuff up. Hear it directly from them:
Tigran Khzmalyan: ‘Armenia should start directly talking to Turkey, as well as to Azerbaijan, instead of through Russia:’
Stepan Grigoryan: Armenia should negotiate with Turkey, Azerbaijan without mediators

Tigran Khzmalyan: Armenia is under Russian occupation

‘Russia has de facto occupied Armenia,’ Yerevan expert says

Garegin Chugazyan: Armenia should review presence of Russian military base in the country

Alexander Arzumanyan: Russian boot dangles atop Armenian nation’s head – former FM

Richard Giragosian: My work with the Turkish government is in support of normalizing relations
Decolonization (Armexit) or the Beginning of the Life Road

Disturbing Contradictions by Armenia’s Top Officials on Ties with Ankara

Lilit Makunts: "Turkey will not join Azerbaijan in unleashing large-scale aggression against Armenia"

Ara Papyan: How Did Armenia Lose Nagorno-Karabakh?

Representatives of the Armenian and Turkish civil society to come together at a conference in Istanbul
Letters For Peace Summer 2018 Workshop | Նամակներ հանուն խաղաղության | Sülh Naminə Məktubla

Armen Grigoryan: "the opening of the Kars-Gyumri railway branch would create great opportunities for Armenia and Turkey and would create also economic interdependence"

Once Again, Uproar About Armenia-Russia Relations • MassisPost

How Western money funds anti-Russian classes in Armenia

Lragir: Russia and The Armenian Genocide

Rafael Hambartsumyan: "Turkey and Russia Equally Guilty of Armenian Genocide"

How Russia Betrayed the Armenians in 1915: Lessons from the Armenian Genocide

Haykak Arshamyan: Russophilia Hinders Us 
Lragir: Tricolor Under Russian Boot
Գասպարին բողոքի ակցիա իրականացրեց ընդդեմ Ռ. Քոչարյանի և ՌԴ-ի 
Նիկոլ Փաշինյան: Մենք ու մեր շահերը
ԱՄՆ փոխնախագահը Վազգեն Սարգսյանին ապաշրջափակման հետ կապված առաջարկ էր արել. ինչ էր պատասխանել նա

«Հակառակորդը խառնվել է իրար. մոտենում ենք վճռական օրվան»

Սորոսի գործակալական ցանցը Հայաստանում բացահայտված է.պետության զավթումը

Երբ Հաաստանի ազգային կառավարությունը սեղմեց Ջո Բայդենի ձեռքը, այլևս անվտանգային խնդիրներ չենք ունենա

Նիկոլի խաղը մինչև Կրեմլի մարագն է

Our "patriots" and "nationalists" these days sound very much like Turks and Jews, and it's not by chance in my opinion. After reading the above, ask yourselves: How much more TURKISH, Russophobic and suicidal can these people get? As you can clearly see, the grand plan outlined above is to strip Armenia of its Russian protection and turn Armenia into a Turkish vassal. Make no mistake about it, Pro-Turkish propaganda and Pro-Turkish sentiments in Armenian society is very real and it poses a very serious threat to Armenia. Stuff like this is ultimately why I keep saying Armenia cannot be trusted to Armenians alone.

This is also why I say it's better to be an Oblast than a Vilayet, because the last 30 years have shown us that there will never be a viable or sustainable Armenian alternative.

Individuals referred to in the links above do not live on the fringes of Armenian society. They are politicians, officials, historians, political experts, war veterans, artists, intellectuals, social activists, journalists, etc. These people are regularly invited to television interviews, press conferences and panel discussions. Some of them even have their own political parties, made possible by Western funding of course. In fact, virtually all of them live on grants or some other form of financial support from abroad. It's therefore a work related matter in a sense. Let's not forget the popular Armenian saying "որտեղ հացը այնտեղ կաց". These people have to make a living regardless of its cost to Armenia. In any case, as the reader can clearly see, the real problem they have is not with Turkey or Azerbaijan, two countries on earth that pose an existential threat to Armenia, the real problem they have is actually with Russia, the only country on earth that makes Armenia's survival in the south Caucasus possible. The ultimate question is therefore this: If our tiny, landlocked, remote and impoverished homeland in the south Caucasus had to open-up to Turkey and Azerbaijan, who's supervision should it be done under - Russians or Westerners?

Said otherwise: Should Armenia be made to open its borders to Turkey and Azerbaijan under supervision of Russians, who live in the region and have a centuries old interest in Armenia's existence as a nation in the south Caucasus or faraway Anglo-American-Jews, who are in the region only to exploit energy and undermine Russian and Iranian influence?
The answer to the question above is obvious to any rational person that has any understanding of geography, history and politics. All this leads me to believe that many, if not all, of our so-called nationalists and Russophobes today are actually undercover Turcophiles. And all this leads me to say, better an Oblast than a Vilayet.

Turcophillia or sympathetic feelings towards Turks and Turkey is actually quite common in Armenian society.

Anyone that has interacted with diasporan Armenians know that influences of Turkish culture (food, music, movies, soap operas, language, etc.) is very strong. I am not talking about Armenians from Turkey, who are for the most part assimilated Turks and have a high regard for the Turkish state (even if they fear it) and Turkish culture. I am instead talking about the traditional Armenian Diasporas of the Middle East, Europe and North America that were formed after the Armenian Genocide. For instance, in the Middle East, third or even fourth generation genocide survivors still speak near-fluent Turkish, although they were not taught the language in schools. The language was basically passed down from parent to child. Go to any non-ARF, Middle Eastern Armenian gathering and observe. You will be astonished with how much Armenians revere Turkish culture.
Turks know all this about us. They therefore know that they have a fertile ground to cultivate their work, both in the homeland and the diaspora.

I have tried to psychoanalyze pro-Turkish sentiments found in Armenian society. I think it could be connected to subconscious memory. Armenians have after-all lived with Turks for hundreds of years during the Ottoman period. During the Ottoman period large swaths of Armenian society actually enjoyed comfort, wealth and fame, things Armenians genetically crave. Pro-Turkish sentiments within Armenian society could therefore be a longing for such times. Pro-Turkish sentiments may also connected to biology. Biologically, Armenians and Turks are after all closely related due to obvious reasons. Genetically, Turks in Turkey are mostly of Anatolian decent. They are the children of Greeks, Armenians, Cappadocians, Alawites, Assyrians, Slavs, Europeans, Kurds and Gypsies who were assimilated into Ottoman-Turkish society during the last one thousand years. Their Central Asian genetic element is in fact very small. So when an Armenian looks in the mirror, he or she sees the reflection of someone that is related to Turks, at least more so than to Russians. These things have an affect on people's psychology, at least on a subconscious level. In my opinion, "Stockholm Syndrome" also plays a factor. The well known psychological phenomenon makes people join with or seek the approval of their oppressors or superiors on a subconscious level. The said psychological disorder is most probably a form of a primal survival strategy. Which bring to mind the American saying: "Can't beat them? Join them".
In any case, and whatever the cause my be, Armenians with a strong affinity or sympathy towards Turks are not small in number. Turks therefore know that they have a fertile ground to operate on. The Turkish agents of influence were able to sow their seeds many years ago, with the help of Anglo-American-Jews of course, and today there are happily harvesting the fruits of their labor.

Today, pro-Turkish sentiments are found among followers of Levon Petrosyan, Paruyr Hayrikyan, "Ազգային Բեւեր", Nikol Pashinyan, Hakob Badalyan, Ara Papyan, Styopa Safaryan, Ashot Bleyan, Levon Shirinyan, Stepan Grigoryan, Tigran Khzmlyan, Ruben Hakhverdyan, Aram Sargsyan and a number of "businessmen" eager to make more money. These people have at times suggested forming a union between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to resist Russian encroachment. These characters claim Russians are the ones getting in the way of unity among Armenians, Georgians and Azeris. Pro-Turkish sentiments are also found among those associated with Western-financed NGOs, which form a very large number in the small and  impoverished country. These Western organizations have been pushing Turkish-Armenian reconciliation for a very long time. The American University of Armenia does so as well. Moreover, putting aside the Turkish-Armenian Diaspora,  which is thoroughly assimilated into Turkish society and has large numbers of informants reporting to the Turkish government about activities of Armenians in the diaspora, the existence of individuals and groups such as Richard Giragosian, Jirayr Libaridyan, Zohrab Institute, Gulbenkian Foundation, NAASR, AGBU and the Armenian Assembly of America and its ill-fated TARC, reveals that the re are influential circles in the Armenian Diaspora that are at the very least sympathetic towards Turkey. Moreover, as we have seen with traitors like Jirayr Sefilian, Vahan Martirosyan, Giorgi Vanyan, Vahe Avetyan and "democracy" activist Asya Khachatryan, there are professional activists and agents working for Jewish, Turkish and/or Azeri interests deep inside Armenian society. And as the cases involving Hasan OktayKemal OksuzVahan MartirosyanRuben RubinyanArarat Mirzoyan Lilit MakuntsHovik Aghazaryan and the over 200 million dollars sent from Azerbaijan to Armenia in 2018 reveal, Armenian authorities know about these people and their agenda in Armenia but they are doing little to stop them. All this suggests to me one thing: Armenia's government officials and/or security apparatus are either turning a blind-eye to Turkish and Azeri activities in Armenia for some reason (perhaps they have been infiltrated by Turkish agents or large sums of money is involved) or they are completely incompetent. Armenia today is a hotbed of spy activity.

Long story, short:
Anglo-American-Jewish spies are everywhere in Armenian society. Turkish spies are not rare either. In fact, Turkish agents and pro-Turkish Armenian activists have been among us for a long time. And we are now seeing the fruits of their work.

In private conversations, Armenians who sympathize with Turks, who I call Turcophiles, often claim that the genocide happened a very long time ago and that Turks no longer pose a threat to Armenians. More radicals one among them say, had it not been for Russian meddling in the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th century and early 20th century, there would not have been an Armenian Genocide. Our Turcophiles also claim that Armenia today would have had very good relations with all its neighbors, including Turkey and Azerbaijan, had it not been for the Karabakh liberation movement and the presence of the Russian military in ArmeniaOur Turcophiles also claim that in order to have peace and give Armenians of Armenia a chance for a better life, we need to normalize our relations with our Turkish and Azeri neighbors, and we cannot allow Russians to get in the way. Our Turcophiles also claim that Armenians are culturally and genetically much closer to Turks and Azeris than to Russians.

I think the reader by now understands that Turcophiles in Armenian society, as well as our Americanophiles and Europhiles, tend to see Russia as Armenia's number one problem today. Therefore, from a psychological/mental perspective, what happen when an Armenian perceives Russia as the biggest enemy Armenia has? The answer is, Turkey suddenly becomes a potential friend. In any case, I ask the reader to please disregard the Arab-like bluster we often see among Armenians about the "superiority" of Armenians over Turks and Azeris and just realize that Azeris and Turks have been consistently out-smarting Armenians every step of the way and have been doing so for a very long time. As Armenians beat their chests with pride like a bunch of mountain primates, often over really stupid stuff, Westerners, Jews, Turks and Azeris are consistently beating Armenians where it actually counts, in the political chess game that is being played:
Armenian-Azerbaijani Facebook photo causes scandal
Vahan Martirosyan: Mosques destroyed in Armenia, they rewrite history concerning Azerbaijan

NSS of Armenia Shows Unreasonable Indifference to the Transfer of a Large Amount of Money from Azerbaijan to Armenia: Naira Karapetyan

It is time for Armenian society and opinion leaders to step out of orbit the diaspora forced on them for nearly 50 years

Study Abroad in Turkey for Armenian American Students 
Disturbing Contradictions by Armenia’s Top Officials on Ties with Ankara

Representatives of the Armenian and Turkish civil society to come together at a conference in Istanbul

Letters For Peace Summer 2018 Workshop | Նամակներ հանուն խաղաղության | Sülh Naminə Məktubla

Karabakh official accuses HALO Trust of spying for Turkey

Russian veterans urge to check Union of Armenians in Russia regarding film about Garegin Nzhdeh

‘Armenia Must Normalize Relations with Baku and Ankara or Pack Its Bags and Move,’ Libaridian Says

American University of Armenia Hosts Talk on Turkish Identity

Why is Ruben Rubinyan called a "Turkish agent"?

Իրականո՞ւմ ազդեցության գործակալ է Ռուբեն Ռուբինյանը

Լևոն Տեր-Պետրոսյան.«Հայաստանը, որպես պետություն, չպիտի մասնակցեր Ցեղասպանության ճանաչման գործընթացին»

Քե՛զ ի՞նչ դրանից, որ Թուրքիան ճանաչեց Ցեղասպանությունը. Հովիկ Աղազարյան

Շուշին ծախել են վերջին 30 տարվա ընթացքում, որովհետև Շուշին մի հատ դժբախտ, դժգույն քաղաք էր․ Փաշինյան
Ոչ. Ժիրայր Լիպարիտյանն Ադրբեջանից և Թուրքիայից վտանգ չի տեսնում
Նիկոլ Փաշինյան: Մենք ու մեր շահերը
While they have been saturating the political atmosphere with anti-Russian hysteria, Turks have been quietly been setting deep roots in Armenia. Their anti-Russian rhetoric is therefore a smokescreen. The very little noise we hear in Armenian society about these Turkish activities is actually a testimony to their success. This is why I say better an Oblast than a Vilayet.

The Western-backed Turkish offer to Armenians more-or-less is the following: Turkey and Azerbaijan have no problems with Armenia other than Artsakh matter (for Baku), the genocide matter (for Ankara) and the Russian matter (for Ankara and Baku). So, Armenians are being asked to get rid of the Artsakh, get rid of Russia and forget about the genocide. They are promising to turn Armenia into heaven on earth if only Armenians take care of the three little problems mentioned above and throw wide open Armenia's borders. Many in Armenians society, both in and out of the homeland, have taken this bait. Many Armenian organizations in the diaspora have been pushing different forms of this narrative. "Turks and Azeris are our neighbors and we have to make peace with them" is what you will hear over-and-over again in Armenian society. In the big picture, this rhetoric is designed to pull Armenian attention away from Russia.

As the reader can see, the assault against Russian-Armenian relations has been well funded, highly organized and very methodical. Despite what Armenians want to believe, Western-backed Turkish efforts to sour relations between Russia and Armenia and make Armenian society vulnerable to political and cultural subversion have borne fruit to a significant degree. This is why increasing numbers of Armenians have taken their eyes off of Turkey and the existential threat it poses to Armenia and are instead seeing their Russian ally as a problem. This is why Nikol's openly pro-Turkish and pro-Azeri regime is still supported by a majority of voters in Armenia. Not only is Armenian society under attack by pro-Turkish propagandists, there are large numbers of Turkish agents and sympathizers working deep within Armenian society. Armenian silence and inaction regarding Western and Turkish activity inside Armenian society may be why Russians have taken it upon themselves to warn us: 
Russian General Leonid Ivashov: Turkey Seeks Separation Between Russia and Armenia

Russian Embassy in Armenia: NGOs, mass media “fed” by West are trying to destroy age-long Russian-Armenian relations

Western agents in Armenia fight for Turkey’s interests

Russian Media: Turkish agents are throughout social media doing their best to alter/warp Armenian perceptions

Revolution is the new black: How Western money funds overthrow-your-government classes

Treason and incompetence: how Soros-trained Armenian government lost Karabakh war

Ruslan Pukhov: Armenia’s mistakes in the Second Karabakh War

Kurginyan: Baku seized Shusha due to unprecedented betrayal in Yerevan

Soros Foundation in Armenia - Independent Study of the Country’s System of External Governance

West seeks to weaken Russia’s influence on Armenia amid escalation in the region - expert

Ex-Russian Envoy Again Warns Armenia

Russophobes in Pashinyan’s team: Soros tilting boat of pro-Armenian premier Подробнее

Kolerov: Acting premier Pashinyan is not ready to make historic decision for Armenia

Руслан Пухов: Почему Армения не явилась на войну в Карабахе?

Դավաճանել են իմ հայրենիքը, եւ Դուք անձամբ մեղավոր եք. կադրեր Արմեն Սարգսյանի և Ռուսաստանի հայ համայնքի հանդիպումից

We Armenians need to be cognizant of the fact that there are only two major geopolitical players or factors at work in the south Caucasus today and they are Russia and Turkey. For a tiny, impoverished and landlocked country like Armenia, where around 80% of its border is shared by Turkey and Azerbaijan, independence from Russia will by-default result in dependence on Turkey and Azerbaijan. In other words, Armenian independence from Russia = Armenian dependence on Turkey. Thus, my formula: No Russia in Armenia = no Armenia on the world map. In my opinion, any Armenian that attempts to undermine Russian-Armenians relations is serving a pro-Turkish agenda. Genuine Armenian patriots understand this. Armenians who know history well understand this. Intelligent people understand this. People who can read maps understand this. I am sure that many of our professional Russophobes posing as "nationalists" and trying to "save" Armenia from Russian "occupation" also understand this, but as the Armenian saying goes: "որտեղ հացը այնտեղ կաց". Said otherwise, Armenians have to make a living, regardless of the cost to Armenia.

Nikol's dream was to give Artsakh to Azeris, get rid of Russia and open Armenia to Turkey

With the announcements above, Nikol and company finally signaled to the entire world their enthusiastic readiness to finally abandon Artsakh and make Armenia vulnerable to an economic takeover/invasion by Turkey. And in a time-honored Armenian tradition, Nikol naturally blamed all others before him for the tragedy his regime has single-handedly caused. In any case, as far as Nikol's government is now concerned, Artsakh legally belongs to Azerbaijan, and Armenia can look forward to "interdependence" with Turkey.

Times like this I like to congratulate Armenians for their faithful adherence to tenets of "democracy" because it has worked-out wonderfully, as expected.
Make no mistake about it. Any sort of "interdependence" between a tiny, impoverished and defeated nation like Armenia and a massive military and economic power like Turkey, is very-very bad news for Armenia. There can't be any interdependence between a tiny, remote, landlocked, impoverished and defeated nation with an incompetent population and a very large, very Islamic and very militaristic regional power like Turkey. Unconditionally opening Armenia's border to Turkey and Azerbaijan, which is what Nikol's regime obviously intends to do, will actually result in a master-servant relationship between Turks and Armenians - and we all know that Armenians won't be the masters in the relationship. This is the main danger Armenia faces today with this regime in power.
What has been happening in Armenia falls fully in-line with what Nikol's has always dreamed about.

Nikol's lifelong desire has been to completely rid Armenia of its decades old Artsakh problem, free Armenia from its near total dependency on Russia and open Armenia to Turkey and Azerbaijan. He actually never hid his feelings. Nevertheless, the aforementioned has been Nikol's vision or rather blueprint to a brighter future for his "New Armenia". It is beyond obvious to anyone that can read a map and follows political developments in the region that the south Caucasus is under the influence of two major geopolitical forces, and these are - Moscow and Ankara. Western powers and Iran actually play secondary roles in the south Caucasus. In fact, most of the Western meddling in the region has historically come via Ankara. Said otherwise, Turkey has done the dirty work in the Caucasus region for Western powers.

It is therefore obvious to any rational observer that Armenia's independence from Russia will result in Armenia's dependence on Turkey and Azerbaijan. And "interdependence" between Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan will ultimately erase Armenia from the world map. Any rational mind who can read a map and understands history and politics will understand this. Yet, this is exactly what is being diligently worked by Nikol's regime and Armenian society is silent.

The desire for rapprochement between Armenia and its Turkic neighbors has actually been an active political agenda within many influential circles throughout Armenian society, including the diaspora, going back many years. In the big picture, so-called peace activists and pro-Turkish traitors among us is why Artsakh, a crucially important strategic matter for Armenia, became something impossible for Armenians to swallow.

To be fair, as we have seen earlier in this commentary, the said agenda predates Nikol's regime. Nikol is simply a by-product of post-Soviet Armenian decline.

Nikol was put into power to follow a plan outlined a long-time ago by Anglo-American-Jews and their Turkish and Armenian allies. While Nikol may not be the mastermind behind this plan, he was nevertheless put into power to see the implementation of this plan. I believe this is why no one is in a hurry to get rid of Nikol. Moscow also sees an opportunity in all this. Simply put, Nikol is doing the dirty work for everybody.

The agenda to entice Armenia into Turkey's orbit is very real. But there is a noteworthy caveat to be mentioned here. The Kremlin, who controls many levers in Armenia (both animate and inanimate) and therefore wields a lot of influence in Yerevan (essentially thanks to the country's Soviet legacy and the "Karabakh Clan"), remains confident that Armenia will be unable to change geopolitical vectors regardless of who is in power in Yerevan and regardless of what pro-Western and pro-Turkish interests operating in Armenia want. The Kremlin knows that Armenia cannot be severed from Russia without killing Armenia in the process. Actually, everybody knows this cold reality, Nikol and friends included. Western and Turkish interests in Armenia, as well as their servants, are therefore forced to work within this Russian reality. Nikol's regime therefore has no choice but to continue its reluctant obedience to the Kremlin, if only for survival, as they continue seeking ways to "normalize" relations with Ankara and Baku.

Consequently, Nikol's regime deliberately threw the Artsakh ordeal on Moscow's lap in order to free its hands to better embrace Ankara and Baku.

Always seeking a greater role for itself in the strategic Caucasus, the Kremlin gladly stepped into the void created by Yerevan in Artsakh in order to expand its presence and therefore its influence. The Kremlin did not allow the crisis caused by Nikol's incompetent and treasonous regime to go to waste. And this is something Moscow actually wanted to do since the 1990s, But previous Armenian governments were resistant. Nikol's incompetent and treasonous regime finally provided Moscow with the historic opportunity to realize its geostrategic desires in Artsakh. And this explains why Russia looked the other way when Nikol was brought to power. Knowing the exact direction Nikol's regime would be heading, was most probably the reason why Moscow did not intervene when Nikol was brought to power in 2018.

There are no conspiracy theories to look for here. Despite what agents of Western and Turkish influence working in our society want our sheeple to think, Nikol is not a Russian agent.

Simply put, Nikol, like a significant portion of Armenian society today, is trash. Our trash simply did not want anything to do Artsakh. Artsakh was too much work. Armenian mothers were losing too many of their precious "boys" in Artsakh. In short, Artsakh got in the way of their comfort. I am therefore glad that Armenian mothers today are instead losing their precious boys on the borders of Armenia. And I am glad that Russians took Artsakh because had it been left up to Nikol and company, Azeris would have taken all of it. Nevertheless, things, overall, have not worked out too well for Nikol and company. They thought abandoning Artsakh and making friends with Turks and Azeris was going to be easy. They were taught a harsh lesson in geopolitics and realpolitik.

With the end approaching, Nikol's and company realize they are in a serious bind

As glad as Nikol and company may be that the headache called Nagorno Karabakh is now almost finally over, they are beginning to realize that they themselves may be facing some problems down the road as the Artsakh saga comes to an end. I personally think that Nikol and his team of co-conspirators realize that soon after their dirty work is completed in Artsakh and Armenia, they will be disposed off by the same political interests that put them in power back in 2018. Even former president Levon Petrosyan, Nikol's spiritual father and co-conspirator going back many years, basically disowned him after the warPresident Armen Sargsyan's unexpected resignation most recently may somehow be connected as well. I have no doubt that Nikol's regime is beginning to fear what's coming down the road for them. The big plans Nikol and company had prior to coming to power needless to say did not work-out as planned, to say the least. In any case, Nikol's time is running out. He will be trying to save his skin.

Nikol's regime had thought it was going to be easy selling Artsakh and making peace Turks and Azeris. Their thought process was most probably the following: "Once we give the international community and Turks what they want, all of our problems will be over."

Nikol and company were eventually taught a dear lesson in politics. Abandoning the Artsakh struggle, which was seen by a growing portion of Armenian society as a serious obstacle to Armenia's development, was Nikol's personal dream going back 20-plus years. His anti-Artsakh sentiments were therefore not a secret. His desire to open Armenia up to Turks and Azeris was not a secret either. His desire to free Armenia from its "Russian occupation" was not a secret either. Nikol thought it was all doable. Nikol knew that he was after-all the most popular leader Armenia has seen in its modern history. He also was confident that he had the backing of Western powers, Europe, Turkey and Azerbaijan. He felt secure. He thought with the aforementioned powers behind him - and "people power" next to him - he had the permission or rather the carte blanche to do whatever he wanted.

Initially, Nikol was somewhat correct in his assumptions and calculations. With encouragement from Western, European, Turkish and Azeris interests - and supported on the ground by an army of Western-financed NGOs, Western-financed news media, Western-financed activists, and Armenia's self-destructive peasantry - Nikol was given a chance to realize his dreams in 2018. A sociopolitical movement headed by Nikol and company swept the entire country by the Spring of 2018, and the much hated "Karabakh Clan" was swept out of power. Prime Minister Serj Sargsyan at the time publicly washed its hands of the entire ordeal by stepping-out of Nikol's way without bloodshed. More importantly, Moscow chose not to intervene. This basically allowed Nikol's popular movement to take its course and reach its logical conclusion. From a "Democratic" standpoint, the country's future suddenly looked bright. The "Armenian Street", instrumental in what had occurred, was absolutely jubilant and euphoric. 

Although somewhat late, a Color Revolution had nevertheless finally come to Armenia. However, as the saying goes, be careful of what you wish for. One can only plans things so far. After a certain point, things take on a life of their own and one loses control of the situation.

As in chess, Nikol thought he had plans and took his steps accordingly. His antagonists, however, had plans of their own and took their steps accordingly as well. Some of us knew where Armenia's "Velvet Revolution" was heading. Although 2020 proved to be a very painful year, it was not a surprise. In a nutshell: While Nikol and company thought they were plotting against the "Karabakh Clan", Artsakh and Russia, everybody else (including Westerners, Turks, Azeris, Russians and the "Karabakh Clan") were plotting against Nikol and company.

Soon after coming to power, Nikol and company realized that there was no way they were going to bring Armenia out from under Russia's orbit. Nikol soon found out he was was stuck with Russia, and to make things worst, they had turned the political establishment in Russia against them. By late 2020, Nikol's regime was led into a historic trap. Azerbaijan, with Turkish and Israeli support, embarked on a major war to retake Artsakh. Western powers and Europe looked the other way. Moscow simply took on the role of an observer and moderator. Nikol's regime was back-stabbed by those it thought had his back prior to the war. It was an international "gang bang" if you will. Armenians were given a lesson on how unforgiving, how unpredictable and how complex politics can be and what a nasty geopolitical mess Armenia got itself into essentially because of Armenia's peasantry's obsessive hatred towards the "Karabakh Clan", the desire to break from Russia, the blind faith in a street scoundrel like Nikol, the reliance on Western powers, the wish to coexist with Turks and Azeris, and of course the pursuit of "democracy". To top it all off, Armenia was sucked further into Russia's orbit and Nikol and company are stuck with Russian suzerainty:
Incidentally, Nikol's inability to break with Russia, both prior to the war and afterwards, is the main reason why Armenia's professional Russophobes and pseudo-nationalists are critical of him today, and some accuse him of being a Russian agent.

Trust me, even if the most valiant anti-Russian Russophobe in Armenia society was in Nikol's shoes today, he would also be kissing the Kremlin's ass. The Kremlin has a way of making offers you can't refuse. In any case, and regardless of everything else, Nikol is most likely seeing his personal demise on the political horizon. He must realize that once he completes his assigned tasks of officially abandoning Artsakh and opening Armenia to Turkey, his time in power will come to an end. This worries him because deep in his heart he knows that the blood of thousands killed in the war in Artsakh is on him. He knows that the loss of Artsakh is on him. He knows that the unnecessary losses of Shushi and Hadrut is on him as well. Nikol is therefore dragging his feet and playing political games to delay the inevitable that awaits him and his team:
If Nikol is lucky, he and his family, as well as his closest confidants, will be chased out of the country in the end. I personally think he won't be that lucky. Sooner or later, Nikol's demise may come by the way of a bullet. Nevertheless, the last three years proved what I have been saying for the past 15 years: Westernization, "democracy" and capitalism is toxic, especially for a politically illiterate, materialistic and emotionally handicapped people like us Armenians. Almost half of Armenia's citizens today lives on money coming from abroad. In addition to remittances coming from abroad, a significant percentage of Armenians also live on money they make through Western NGOs. Everything in Armenia today therefore revolves around foreign money. And the most important thing in an Armenian man's life today is German cars, Ukrainian whores and American cigarettes. Long story, short: After 30 years of Westernization, democracy and capitalism, Armenia has been turned into a Third World cesspool with a dumbed-down citizenry, incompetent/treasonous government and a dwindling population:
Political illiteracy has a high cost. We have been paying a high price for our stupidity with land and with blood. If we Armenians are incapable of nation-building and defending our homeland from regional predators, we need to submit to the will of our friends in the Kremlin and work with Russians to cure Armenia of its aliments. Not merging with the Russian nation will by-default mean a merger with Turkey and Azerbaijan. As I keep saying, better to be an Oblast than a Vilayet. If our "political elite" had the wisdom and foresight to invite Russian peacekeepers into Artsakh at some point after 1994, abandon the counterproductive bullshit called "complimentary politics" (especially after 2008), shutdown Western-financed NGOs and expel all pro-Western and pro-Turkish activists, we would not be where we are today.

The historic mess we are facing today has but one author, and that is us. And none of this is anything new under the Armenian sun. The last thirty years, the last three years in particular, have been a quintessential Armenian story going back 2000-plus years.

To reiterate: Nikol is in a very serious conundrum today. Nikol realizes that once he officially abandons Artsakh, recognizes Azerbaijan's internationally recognized borders and opens Armenia's to Turkey and Azerbaijan - three things he has always wanted to do - his time will be up. In other words, as soon as the dirty work in question is finished, Nikol and his entire team will be discarded like a used rag. Moscow is waiting to do it. Armenia's political opposition headed by former president Robert Kocharyan is waiting to do it. Most probably, Nikol's benefactors (from Washington DC to Brussels, from Ankara to Baku) are also waiting to do it. They are all waiting for Nikol to finish the dirty work he has been tasked with, so they can finally do away with him and bury all the unsavory details.

And if Nikol does not follow through with what he promised to get done, Nikol will find Azerbaijan continuing to put military pressure on Armenia's eastern borders, and Moscow and the "civilized world" will continue looking the other way.

Armenian soldiers will therefore continue dying in Armenia. And mothers in Armenia, who would bitterly complain about their beloved boys serving and dying in Artsakh before the war, will deserve watching their sons die in Armenia instead of Artsakh. Faced with a damned if you will, damned if you don't situation, Nikol is therefore procrastinating, waiting, playing delay tactics and of course trying to put all blame on previous regimes. More importantly, he is also indirectly (i.e. through individual officials and fringe "nationalist" groups) putting pressure on the Kremlin by accusing Russia of not honoring its allied commitment to Armenia. One of his tactics is to allow fringe groups, such as "ultra-nationalist" mercenaries known as "Ազգային Բևեռ", to muddy the water and give Nikol an excuse to delay the inevitable that awaits him. In other words, Nikol is trying to delay the inevitable until he figures out how to come out of this with his life.
And since everything about Armenia lately has been made to be about Russia, Russia and Russia, allow me to say that Russia has been performing its duty towards its little yet ungrateful Armenian ally quite well despite the Kremlin's utter dislike of Nikol and company. In fact, Russia is the only reason today that an Armenia and an Artsakh still exists. Russia remains the ONLY nation on earth getting involved in the mess Armenians created in Armenia and making sure Turks and Azeris don't wipe Armenia clear off the world map. Intelligent people, as well as genuine patriots and nationalists understand this. However, beyond the basics of keeping Armenia alive, we Armenians cannot in all honesty expect more from Moscow - that is as long as Nikol's regime is in power. The next few months will therefore be very interesting. I have no doubt that Nikol's regime will eventually be made to sign some form of a document recognizing Azerbaijan's borders and establishing official relations with Baku and Ankara. It's aftermath will be a show to watch.

The situation on the border is not what it's being made out to be

A lot of people are understandably very worried and confused about what has been happening on Armenia's border with Azerbaijan in recent months. Soon after the ceasefire agreement was signed between Yerevan and Baku on November 09 2020, Azerbaijan began carrying-out periodic attacks at various points along its border with Armenia. These attacks have resulted in dozens of Armenian deaths and prisoners. More alarmingly, for the first time in perhaps over 30 years, Azerbaijan is reported to have occupied lands said to be inside Armenia proper. As with any political matter in Armenia these days, there is unfortunately a lot of disinformation circulating about what is exactly taking place. Needless to say, there is also a lot of fearmongering going on. As a result, many think Armenia today is facing an invasion by Azerbaijan and that Armenia may lose its southernmost province of Syunik.

Fret not, Armenia is NOT facing an invasion by Azerbaijan or Turkey, or anybody else for that matter.

Armenia is not facing a new war. Syunik is not in danger. It is simply not going to happen, at least not under current circumstances. Syunik is strategically important not only for Armenia but also for Russia and Iran. Russian troops are in fact all over the region. If even Nikol's regime was willing to abandon Syunik as well, Russians and Iranians would not allow it. Any attempt to take Syunik by Azerbaijan and/or Turkey will trigger a world war. That is a fact. By pointing this out, I am not in any way trying to defend Nikol's incompetent and treasonous regime. For the sake of intellectual objectivity and honesty, I am simply calling things by their proper names. So, again, Armenia is not in danger. Syunik is not in danger. We need to therefore stop panicking. The problems we have been witnessing on Armenia's eastern border with Azerbaijan is ultimately related to the long-awaited demarcation and delineation process, and prepping the region for a new economic trade network:

The road to Nakhichevan: is Armenia surrendering its territories to Azerbaijan or emerging from blockade?

Syunik and the Geo-Economic Future of the South Caucasus

Nakhichevan Corridor will Help Russia, Hurt the US, and Keep Azerbaijan from Becoming ‘a Vassal of Turkey,’ RUSSTRAT Says

Because of the 30-year old conflict between Yerevan and Baku, Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan was never made official. There are areas along the Soviet-era border where Armenians had advanced into Azerbaijani territory and there are areas along the said border where Azeris had advanced into Armenian territory. The problem therefore goes back 30 somewhat years. It is being sorted out now that the war has come to pass. This, again, is an international affair. International community (e.g. Russia, Europe, US, UK, Iran, etc.) wants Armenia and Azerbaijan to finally settle their dispute and officially recognize each-other's territorial sovereignty. Being that the last war was won by Azerbaijan, the initiative today is on Baku's side. And President Aliyev has not wasted any time in taking advantage. Therefore, by putting military pressure on Armenia's eastern borders, Baku is basically telling Yerevan that it will not recognize Armenia's territorial integrity if Armenia is not ready to recognize Azerbaijan's internationally recognized borders. President Aliyev recently made this clear:
It's not only Baku making this claim. Baku's supporters in the West have been saying more-or-less the same thing. In the following article by Eurasianet's Joshua Kucera (Eurasianet incidentally is a NED, Open Society and British funded operation) makes the same point about the problems we are seeing on Armenia's borders with Azerbaijan in recent months. According to Eurasianet's Kucera, Baku is not recognizing Armenia's borders because Armenia is refusing to recognize Azerbaijan's borders:
The proposal from Baku and the West (if we take into account who is behind Eurasianet) is the following: Armenia needs to give in to the international community's demands and recognize Azerbaijan's Soviet-era border, which includes the territory of Nagorno Karabakh, and Baku will thereafter reciprocate by recognizing Armenia's Soviet-era borders, which does not include Nagorno Karabakh. In other words, the international community wants Armenia to officially recognize its defeat in Artsakh. And if Yerevan refuses to recognize Azerbaijan's Soviet-era border, Armenia will continue facing serious problems on its eastern borders.
The good news here is that the Kremlin wants to keep the border matter and Nagorno Karabakh as two separate issues. Moscow is continuing to look at Nagorno Karabakh as an entity that is separate from Azerbaijan. Therefore, at least from Moscow's standpoint, recognizing Azerbaijan's borders will not necessarily mean recognizing Artsakh's inclusion inside Azerbaijan. There are other positive developments as well:

Modest Kolerov: Delimitation, demarcation have no direct connection with Karabakh

Russian government website uses “Nagorno Karabakh Republic” term

Russian peacemakers are the only guarantor of status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh

France, Russia, U.S. Decline Azerbaijan’s Invitation to Shushi

Visitors to Karabakh to require Russian permission

Russia Dismisses Aliyev’s Call To Stop Arming Armenia

Russian peacekeepers likely to stay in Karabakh longer than agreed — security council

Sergey Markedonov: Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not over

Roads remain under the jurisdiction of the countries: Armenian PM, Russian Deputy PM discuss unblocking of regional communications

President protests Russian MP's illegal Karabakh visit

Russia should annex parts of eastern Turkey, RT editor-in-chief says

Baku and its supporters were hoping that when Nikol's regime finally recognizes the Soviet-era borders of Azerbaijan, as it is expected to at some point, Armenia will have to officially abandon Artsakh because Artsakh will be located inside Azerbaijan's internationally recognized borders. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is basically saying that won't be the case as far as the Kremlin in concerned. This is a huge plus for Armenia and Artsakh. There has been other pluses as well. Moscow has also been hinting that Russian troops will remain in Artsakh indefinitely. As long as the territory in question has an Armenian population seeking to live independently, the Russian military has a legal right to be present there. Moscow is also beginning to give-out Russian passports to Artsakh residents. These are unmistakable signs that Artsakh will not be going back to Azerbaijan. Moscow is also increasing its military presence throughout Armenia. Armenia therefore faces no threat of an invasion by Azerbaijan and/or Turkey. Moscow is also saying that the controversial motorway and railroad that is expected to pass through southern Armenia will remain under Armenian jurisdiction. What's more, Russia, US and France refrained from taking part in President Aliyev's political show in Shushi last year. The significance of diplomatic message to Baku should not be underestimated. And this suggests Armenians may at some point be able to reclaim Shushi and Hadrut. In the big picture, these are all good news for Armenia and what remains of Artsakh. All this suggests that the Artsakh dispute is far from being finally resolved, despite what Nikol's regime, Baku and Ankara have been hoping. In my opinion, the Artsakh dispute has just entered a new phase. However, this does not mean Armenia is no longer facing serious challenges and dangers.
There are inherent risks associated with these types of processes.
Knowing that Armenia is populated by politically illiterate peasantry and low-cost prostitutes posing as politicians, Baku is trying to take advantage of the situation along various sectors on the border. Azerbaijan's military stationed along Armenia's border are seeing large areas, often strategic heights and water sources, without any Armenian military presence. Baku is exploiting the opportunity by ordering its military units to occupy such areas, claiming they belonged to Azerbaijan during the Soviet era. One such area is a section on the Goris-Kapan highway. Sev Lake is another. Baku is simply trying to increase its political leverage over Yerevan in order to force Nikol's government into further submission and concession. Baku has been able to do this for two basic reasons. First, as noted above, the borders are ambiguous (not clearly defined and not under military surveillance). Second, Nikol's regime's reaction has been largely ambiguous as well. Nikol's regime has not taken any serious measures to discourage or block Baku's attempts by deploying large numbers of Armenian troops in such area. It's this indifference towards Artsakh and Armenia is what is generating accusations of treason against Nikol's regime. Regardless of what Nikol's true intentions are, all this will make the final settlement much more difficult for the Armenian side. It will be very difficult to get Azeris out of the locations they have come to occupied during the past year-and-a-half.
If this regime is in power during the final settlement phase, Armenia will come out the main loser again in the border demarcation process as well.
Therefore, here again, is the question that should keep most people up at nights: If the current regime in Yerevan, who lost the second Artsakh war in embarrassing fashion, and is currently incapable of properly monitoring Armenia's borders with Azerbaijan, how can it be trusted to monitor Turkish/Azeri traffic going through southern Armenia? The question therefore is not about whether not Armenia should normalize relations its neighbors and open its borders for economic trade. The question is, who should the said process take place under? I agree that such an economic plan can potentially benefit Armenia greatly, but, again, how can we in all honesty trust this government, a government that has lost so much and a government who's officials seem unusually close to Ankara and Baku? How can Nikol's failed regime - saturated by pro-Western, pro-Turkish and anti-Russian officials - be trusted to ensure security in Armenia's strategic southern regions? This, again, underscores the need to have a competent government in Yerevan. And this, in a nutshell, is why Armenia's previous two presidents have made public statements about this subject matter:
Armenia 2nd President Kocharyan on “Meghri corridor” plan: Not beneficial to us now to discuss it as "corridor"
Armenia ex-President Sargsyan: There can be no talk of corridor for Azerbaijan
All the major political parties and presidential candidates, including President Kocharyan, are, in principal at least, in favor of normalizing relations
between Armenia and its neighbors and the establishment of a regional trade network. I have also been in favor of it. I have always maintained that if we Armenians want Armenia to develop, grow and prosper, we somehow have to figure out how to make peace with our neighbors and see to it that Armenia becomes part of the region's economic network. However, the main concern we all have is the question of security. Another concern is, what will the terms and conditions of the said economic/trade proposal be? How much input will Armenian officials have in formulating such a trade agreement? How can Armenia's economy be protected from an economic giant like Turkey? These are matters that Nikol's regime CANNOT be trusted with. In other words, while many today understand that the proposed trade route can potentially be of great benefit to Armenia in the long-term, realizing its full potential is too complicated and fraught with too many dangers to be trusted to degenerates and dilettantes in Nikol's government. 
We therefore need a new government to come into power and take control of the situation in Armenia because Nikol's regime cannot be trusted to do the right thing. Armenia needs a competent government with close ties to the Kremlin to handle these challenges and mitigate the risks. This is why people like Robert Kocharyan, Karen Karapetyan, Vazgen Manukyan and Ara Abrahamyan need to be placed into power to help guide Armenia through these historic and turbulent times.
International efforts to normalize relations between Armenia and Turkey may actually be connected to China

By now everyone has noticed that great effort is being made in recent months to normalize relations between Armenia and Turkey. Some Armenians thinks it's a Russian agenda. Some Armenians think it's a Western agenda. Some Armenians think its a Turkish agenda. Because Armenians are generally speaking politically illiterate, out-of-touch with reality and emotionally handicapped, the real story is being blurred and distorted beyond recognition. And because Armenian society is saturated by Western and Turkish financed agents of influence, there is also a lot of fearmongering and disinformation being circulated, which is making matters worst.

Allow me to therefore clear the air, so to speak. In reality, EVERYBODY wants Armenia to normalize relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan.

All of the of major players in the region, Russia, United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Iran, Azerbaijan, want Armenia to open its borders to Turkey and settle the Artsakh dispute. This is beyond obvious now. The effort to bring Armenians and Turks together has in particular become a matter of competition between East and West. The only regional interest not interested in better relations between Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan is not surprisingly, Georgia. Putting aside Nikol's pro-Turkish regime, who are obviously seeking not only normalization but also reconciliation with Turks and Azeris at all costs, majority of Armenians in Armenia, as well as the Armenian Diaspora, also want to see the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey, albeit with one condition - Ankara's recognition of the Armenian genocide.

Efforts to bring Armenians and Turks together is not new. This is actually the third time. It all started with TARC over 20 years ago. Between 2008 and 2010, President Sargsyan's regime then flirted with the idea with the so-called Zurich Protocols. For a number of reasons, the previous two attempts did not work. Today, with Nikol's pro-Turkish regime in power, the agenda has a good chance to succeed. As I noted earlier, from a geopolitical perspective, there is however a technical problem. Western powers want the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey to be free of Russian meddling. Russia wants the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey to be free of Western meddling. It could be said that Western powers would like to see reconciliation, whereas Russians would prefer normalization. Nevertheless, both sides want to see Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan open their borders and at the very normalize relations - but each side wants it done exclusively under its supervision and control.

And none of this has anything to do with Pan-Turkism, as some Armenians fear.

For reasons not yet fully understood, the desire or wish to bring Armenians and Turks together is an international one. I do however have a suspicion as to why this may be. I personally think that the recent international push to normalize relations between Yerevan, Ankara and Baku may ultimately be related to Beijing's trillion dollar historic "Belt and Road Initiative" and Moscow's EEU. Branches of the said projects are expected to pass through the south Caucasus:
China’s trillion-dollar plan to dominate global trade
The political struggles we are witnessing in certain parts of Eurasia may therefore be part of a much larger geopolitical struggle. Efforts to settle the Artsakh dispute and normalize Armenia's relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan may actually be two pieces in a much larger geopolitical puzzle. Recent developments in the region may therefore be directly and/or indirectly connected to preparing the field-of-play in Eurasia in anticipation of a new economic paradigm, presented by the China-led Belt and Road Initiative and Russia-led EEU. I reiterate: The international effort to encourage Yerevan to open Armenia's borders to Turkey and Azerbaijan has nothing to do with Pan-Turkism.

As a result of recent developments in the region, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are now more-or-less the Kremlin's hostages. In my opinion, this realization by Russian officials is what's behind the Kremlin's proposal known as 3+3. Simply put, the 3+3 proposal is an initiative meant to bring together Russia, Iran, Turkey and all three south Caucasus nations. The 3+3 closely echoes the 2008 Caucasus Initiative or Union proposed in the aftermath of the Russo-Georgian war. From a Russian geopolitical perspective, the 3+3 is in-effect a plan to disarm Turkey, bring Iran closer to Russia and subdue the south Caucasus. This is a matter that is being taken by Russia, Turkey and Iran very seriously. As with the Caucasus Union in 2008, Georgia however is hesitant. I have no doubt however that Tbilisi will eventually change its mind, unless it wants to suffer serious repercussions yet again. In any case, due to close communications between Moscow, Yerevan, Tehran, Ankara and Baku, and because Russians have increased their military presence in the south Caucasus as a result of Nikol's regime's failures, the Kremlin no longer fears opening lines-of-communications between Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan.

This is not to suggest that Anglo-American-Jews are blindly supporting these Chinese and Russian-led initiatives. The West, Anglo-American-Jews in particular, are trying to sabotage it with their meddling.

As noted above, from the Kremlin's perspective, the re-establishment of communications between south Caucasian states has to occur under Russian supervision. From a Western perspective, it needs to occur under Western supervision. This, in a nutshell, is why Western powers have energized their assets inside Armenian society to sabotage the Moscow-led (and ultimately China-led) effort, similar to how the Kremlin sabotage a similar Western-led effort in 1999. Western powers are worried. This concern may be behind why they were dangling a whopping 3.1 billion dollar carrot in front of Armenians recently. The Western hope may be, Armenians will take the money and cause troubles for Moscow. That could have been the case before. Today, Armenians are no longer in total control of Armenia. Nikol's regime has been relegated to the rank of serfdom.

Humanity stands on the cusp of major geopolitical changes. There are tectonic shifts taking place throughout the world. The system of global governance and finance created after the Second World War some 75 years ago is slowly coming to an end. A new global system or political order is being created. We are experiencing its birth pangs as of late.

Recent events in Eurasia and the south Caucasus may very well be connected to the Beijing-sponsored "Belt and Road Initiative" and the Russian-sponsored EEU, both of which are expected to incorporate the south Caucasus within its economic/trade networkThe said project envisions the creation of a number of trade routes in Armenia that will be used for international commerce and be connected to a larger regional network. There is talk about bringing back to life Armenia's Soviet-era railroad network. The proposed trade route is expected to connect the economies of Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey through a network of railroads and motorways. Particulars of the said proposals however have yet to be worked out. Nevertheless, all parties directly involved, Moscow, Yerevan, Baku, Ankara and Iran have agreed to its creation, at least in theory. China is indirectly involved in all this. The European Union and India are interested. Anglo-American-Jews are worried.

Armenia's already strategic southernmost province of Syunik has therefore taken on an even higher level of strategic importance.

With all that is going on in the world today, what worries me the most is the government we have in Armenia today. Even if Nikol's regime had Armenia's best interests in mind, they are still incapable of safely navigating the turbulent waters of our times. Having Russians supervising everything from above is not enough. Armenians and Russians need to work together on all the challenges facing the region today. Armenia desperately needs experienced leadership and competent officials with vision and close ties in the Kremlin. Nikol's regime is inexperienced, incapable, incompetent and impotent. Moreover, they do not have the nation's best interest in mind. Being that Armenia's is sandwiched between two hostile nations, Turkey and Azerbaijan, a reluctant Georgian neighbor to the north, and Western powers who are always seeking to sabotage Russian and Iran interests, the process to pacify the region by reinstating Pax Russia will face serious challenges. The birth pangs noted above will therefore continue for some time to come. Armenia therefore stands today on the cusp of historic changes, with a leadership however that is unfortunately incompetent at best and treasonous at worst.

Armenians must be one of the dumbest creatures in God's kingdom

30 years ago we inherited an Armenia that was highly industrialized and technologically advanced. 30 years ago we inherited a country where cultural traditions, fine arts, science and academia were highly regarded. Soviet Armenia, despite its problems, was a country we all could be proud of. Within one generation, we Armenians turned post-Soviet Armenia into a Third World cesspool and we lost Artsakh. The only things that got developed in the troubled country during the post-Soviet era were restaurant complexes, gambling casinos and whorehouses. Consequently, Armenia today is a Potemkin Village, and the artificial façade built to hide the ugly reality underneath is financed by Western loans. The country is not self-sustaining to any degree. The country is not independent to any degree. There are not even enough Armenian men in the country to defend Armenia's borders today. Faced with hard times, Armenians are doing what they do best: The Armenian exodus continues at record paceThe last 30 years, the last 3 years in particular, have been like nightmares. Another 30 years of what we have had during the past 30 years and there won't be an Armenia. Without Russia, Armenia would not survive a single week in a place like the south Caucasus.

No matter how one looks at it, "independent" Armenia is in reality a failed state. In fact, a majority of the population in Armenia lives on money coming from abroad, and a significant portion of that money comes by the way of Western NGOs.

Russians troops are now guarding Armenia's borders with not only Turkey but also Azerbaijan. Russian troops today are Artsakh's last line-of-defense. Russia remains by-far impoverished Armenia's largest trading partner and investor. Russia remains Armenia's only affordable arms and energy provider. Russia remains the only country helping Armenia keep its strategic nuclear powerplant alive. Russia is Armenia's largest tourism provider. Russia is home to hundreds-of-thousands of desperate migrant workers from Armenia. Yet, for the past 30 years, Armenians have done their best to distance themselves from Russia and embrace the Western world. For the past 30 years Armenians have been fascinated by the razzle/dazzle of the Western world. That is why the tiny, remote, landlocked and poor country, which is desperately dependent on Russia for survival, has been flooded by Western financed NGOs and activists. And that is why in 2018 the reins of government in Yerevan were taken over by NED (i.e. CIA), British Council, Open Society and Turkish/Azeri financed activists. All this needless to say has happened with the enthusiastic participation of Armenians both in-and-out of the homeland.
Consequently, Armenia today is hanging by a thin thread, ultimately because of the toxic fetish Armenians have with Americanization and Westernization. And the thin thread Armenia is ironically hanging on for dear life today is held by none-other-than Russia.

So, seeing that Russians are holding Armenia's life in their hands, what does our NED (i.e. CIA), British Council, Open Society, Turkish financed government headed by Nikol decide to do? They naturally appoint Armen Mirzoyan, an activist who only a few years ago was burning Russian flags in front of the Russian Embassy in Yerevan and one who seems to have longstanding ties to Turkish intelligence, to be the country's foreign minister. This professional Russophobe, with no diplomatic experience whatsoever, will now be representing Armenia on the international stage:
Seeing that Russians hold Armenia's life in their very hands, what do our dumbasses in the diasporan decide to do? They decide to insult and aggravate Russians with Russophobic nonsense such as the following:
Political illiteracy, shortsightedness, cognitive dissonance, bluster, arrogance, pride and self-destructive behavior permeates all layers of Armenian society today. I personally believe it's genetic as there is no other explanation. And this is why Russian-Armenians are not immune to self-destructive behavior either:
Although Garegin Nzhdeh was great patriot, at the end of the day however, he was also a Nazi collaborator. This is a fact that cannot be denied. From a Russian perspective, there is little difference between Ukraine's Stepan Bandera and Armenia's Garegin Nzhdeh. I therefore ask: What idiot thought of screening a film about Garegin Nzhdeh in Moscow of all places?! After all that has happened in recent years, and knowing that Armenia is desperately dependent on Russia for survival, what idiot did not know that screening a film in Moscow about a historic figure who collaborated with Nazi Germany is NOT a good idea?! If I was a wealthy and influential Turk or Azeri in Russia, stuff like this is exactly what I would be encouraging Armenians there to do. As usual, Armenians are playing right into Turkish hands:
What is wrong with us Armenians?! When will this kind of stupidity, self-destructive behavior, shortsightedness, political illiteracy, emotional handicaps and cognitive dissonance end? When will we come to our senses? When will we begin to mature? When will we begin to take Armenia's interests more seriously? When will we develop clear vision? When will we finally understand how the game of politics is played? All this fully explains why Armenia is where it is today. All this fully explains why Armenians have not been successful at nation-building for thousands of years. At this point, we Armenians are competing with Sub-Saharan Africans, Kurds and Afghans over who will be the greatest failures in history.
Apperently, Armenians expect Russians to be mindful of Armenian interests while they spit on Russian interests. Apperently, we want Russians to take matters pertaining to Armenia more seriously than Armenians do themselves.
That Nikol's regime, and a significant portion of Armenian society, did not care about Artsakh was obvious from day one. That Nikol and company don't care about Armenia's borders or even Armenian prisoners of war still being held in Azerbaijan has now become increasingly obvious as well. To showcase what we are dealing with in Yerevan today, I refer the reader to the following link. It is a secretly recorded video in which Alen Simonyan, "President of the National Assembly of Armenia" (i.e. one of Nikol's top generates), is caught saying he does not care about Armenian prisoners of war still being held in Azerbaijan today, essentially because they allowed themselves to get caught:
Nikol's regime even had the audacity to file criminal charges against Armenian POWs that were released by Azerbaijan through Russian mediation:
Although Alen Simonyan is a Western financed professional Russophobe; although he could careless about Artsakh and Armenian POWs; although it was his government that lost Artsakh in 2020; although his dear leader had been fantasizing about abandoning Artsakh for over 20 years (we know this because Nikol has expressed his feelings on similar matters on many previous occasions); this degenerate called Alen Simonyan had the audacity to tell Russian journalists that is was Moscow that conspired to give Artsakh back to Azerbaijan:
Yerevan's Western and Turkish financed kindergarten posing as a government is playing with fire. They have absolutely no understanding of politics and how its played. They have absolutely no understanding of geopolitics. This is why I say Nikol's regime has to be driven-out of power. But the real question in all this is, where is the "Armenian Street"? Where is the public outrage? Where are the massive street protests? Why hasn't Nikol's regime been toppled?
Tens-of-thousands of Armenians took to the streets protesting a minuscule rise in transportation fees back in 2015. Anybody remember the massive street protests in 2015 that become known as "Electric Yerevan"?
The tens-of-thousands that took to the streets calling for Serj Sargsyan's head in 2015 are nowhere to be seen today. The Western-led "Sasna Tsrer" mercenaries who attempted an armed rebellion in 2016 (which coincided with a similar Western-led attempt in Turkey) are only conducting interviews today. All those who wanted to make Armenia a better place to live and save Artsakh are no where to be found today. And Armenia and Artsakh today are much worst-off than when the much-hated "Karabakh Clan" was in power. Today, we have five-thousand dead (they are still finding bodies over a year after the fighting stopped), over ten-thousand maimed, most of historic Artsakh is lost, Armenia's borders are being violated on a regular basis. Unknown numbers of Armenian soldiers are still being held by Azerbaijan. Food prices are rising. Gas and electricity prices are rising. Crime rates are rising. National debt is rising. Emigration rates are rising. The economy is in utter ruins. All across the board, Nikol's so-called "New Armenia" is a complete and utter failure. Despite all this, what are the most popular topics of discussion in Armenia these days?! They are "Black Friday" sales and "Eurovision" competition. Although Armenia has become a failed state during the last 3-4 years and Armenians are living much worst-off than before, the "Armenian Street" is nowhere to be seen. Well, to be fair, masses of Armenians can still be found in malls "shopping" (a very popular English word in Armenia today, along with "okay") for their favorite Western brand names, at home watching their favorite American-style sitcom or Indian soap opera, or at the Russian or American embassy preparing to flee the country for good.
Most of the people fleeing Armenia today are the same ones that took to the street to topple the "Karabakh Clan". They are the sample people that put into power Nikol's destructive regime not once but twice. Now, they are running away like rats. Karma is a bitch. Be careful what you wish for:
Despite all this there are idiots today that are still proud that Nikol's regime was the "first democratically elected leader" by the Armenian people. They are people that are proud that Armenia is more "democratic" than Turkey and Azerbaijan. It is no surprise therefore that the trashy concoction called the "Armenian Street" voted for the most destructive leader in Armenia's long and turbulent history not once but twice, the second time being after Armenia's historic defeat in Artsakh. During the elections last summer, those who voted to keep Nikol in power and those who abstained from voting in general (i.e. the 75% of the nation's voting population) did so only so that the "Karabkah Clan" headed by Robert Kocharyan would not come back to power. Apparently for the "Armenian Street", it is better to swim in Nikol's excitement than allow the "նախկին" regime to come back to power.
So be it. Let them swim. God bless Democracy and the American way!
Any self-respecting nation on earth would have voted out - or rather forced out - Nikol's disastrous and treasonous regime right after the war, if not sooner. Yet, we didn't see that happen in Armenia. Why? Because for Armenians today the homeland starts and stops at his or her doorstep, whatever country that doorstep may be located. With a self-destructive and dumbed-down population as the one that currently exists in Armenia, no wonder Nikol still enjoys significant popularity. Nikol remained the most popular leader in Armenia, even after the historic and embarrassing defeat in Artsakh in 2020. In fact, a majority of Armenians thought the country was heading in the right direction in the summer of 2021. Self-destructive behavior and cognitive dissonanc e at its worst. But, do not despair people because not everything is lost. At the very least, we Armenians need to be very proud of the fact that after so many years of very hard work and heartfelt prayers to the Almighty, Armenia finally won this year's "Junior Eurovision" competition by presenting Armenia's 15 year-olds as sexualized, trashy "nigga wannabes". This "victory" was such an important development in the failed state called Armenia today that it actually warranted a panel discussion on national television.

Armenians must be one of the dumbest, weirdest and most self-destructive creatures in God's kingdom.

Isn't it funny how Armenians expect Russians to take Armenia's national interest seriously, yet we in-effect spit on their national interests and societal sentiments all the time? Isn't it funny how Armenians incessantly act arrogant, cocky and badmouth Russians in peacetime, and then cry and beg for Russian help in wartime? Isn't it funny how Armenians think they are superior to Turks, yet Turks beat Armenians in practically everything? Before any moron says something stupid like, "but we Armenians won the first war all by ourselves", allow me to remind the reader of the following. Between 1988 and 1991, Armenians were losing the war of liberation in Artsakh. By late 1991, the Soviet Union had dissolved and all former Soviet republics had become independent and Armenians had just gotten lucky. While Armenia had maintained close ties with Moscow, pro-Western and pan-Turkist Soviet dissident by the name of Abulfaz Elchibey had come to power in BakuSo, when Armenian officials at the time appealed to Russian officials for help, Moscow acquiesced. By mid 1992, Armenia was receiving large amounts of military hardware and ammunition from Russia and the tide-of-war had clearly changed to Armenia's favor.
By 1994, most of the Soviet-era Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast was liberated by Armenian forces. However, in addition to the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, seven regions inside Azerbaijan's internationally recognized borders were controversially taken as well. The international community, as well as Moscow, had accepted the liberation of Nagorno Karabakh, but not the aforementioned seven regions which were recognized as being part of Azerbaijan. As early as 1993, the international community and Moscow voiced its objections to the Armenian desire to redraw maps. President Levon Petrosyan conveyed that very message to Armenians. Armenians, needless to say, refused to listen:
Fast forward 30 years. Armenians put into power their very own anti-Russian, pro-Western and pan-Turkist Abulfaz Elchibey, in the form of Nikol Pashinyan. And this time around, it was Armenians that lost Artsakh.
The entire Artsakh saga was nevertheless fraught with Armenian-style bluster, incompetence, shortsightedness and maximalism. For the 26 years prior to Nikol's arrival, Armenians had toyed with the international community over matters pertaining to Artsakh and the seven regions. From day one President Levon Petrosyan wanted to make peace with Azerbaijan by agreeing to major land concessions. He was forced out of office as a result by Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisyan in 1997. Then it was the same prime minister that began entertaining similar ideas via the Western-backed Goble Plan, but he was assassinated in 1999 and the plan fell through. Presidents Robert Kocharyan and Serj Sargsyan did not want to give anything back to Azerbaijan under their watch, they therefore mastered the delay game. Long story, short: There were opportunities to settle the dispute in the 1990s and the early 2000s. As Baku's coffers began filling with petrodollars, the likelihood of settling the dispute peacefully diminished with each passing year. For 26 years, Armenians thought that by playing East against West (complimentary politics) Armenia would get its way in Artsakh. Some of us knew it would inevitably and eventually backfire. In 2018, President Levon Petrosyan's acolyte then rose to power.
Nikol was the very popular leader in Armenia who's dream had always been to rid Armenia's of its Artsakh headache. This dream of his was realized in 2020.

At the end of the day, the historic tragedy we suffered in Artsakh was no one's fault but ours. We are where we are today because of our political illiteracy. We knew the keys to Artsakh's final settlement rested in the Kremlin, yet we chose to go "shopping" in Washington DC, Paris, Brussels and London. As a result, we were never able to digest what we had unexpectedly bitten-off in 1994. We were therefore made to regurgitate it. We lost Artsakh in the most embarrassing of ways and we turned Armenia into a Third World cesspool in the process. It was ultimately because of our collective incompetence. We have no one but ourselves to blame for every single one of our failures going back 2000-plus years. This is why I say, scratch the surface of an Armenian and you will find a backward peasant, a petty merchant or a traveling gypsy.

UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had it right when she said: "Those who stand in the middle of the road risk getting run-over".

Although Armenia and Artsakh were almost totally dependent on Russia for survival during the past 30 years, official Yerevan proudly stood in the middle of the road with its so-called "complimentary politics". This did not satisfy the West, as it wanted more from Armenia, and this angered Russia, as it expected more from Armenia. Armenia's attempt to make both sides happy was thus an utter failure. The risk of getting run-over increased drastically between the years 2008 and 2014. That was when Russia, as expected, began resurging throughout Eurasia and Western powers, as expected, began retreating from the south Caucasus. Because the Armenian attention was fixated on silly things like Eurovision, Open Society and democracy, Armenia failed to see these geopolitical changes and thus failed to adapt by developing closer ties to Moscow, which Yerevan knew held the keys to both Armenia's and Artsakh's future.

And because the Armenian house cat thought he was a wild lion, Armenian officials failed to entice Russian troops into Artsakh in order to strengthen Armenia's and Artsakh's geostrategic position vis-a-vis Moscow.
When Artsakh's turn eventually came, Armenia, a tiny, remote, impoverished, landlocked and blockaded nation - who wanted to play both sides of the geopolitical divide - was essentially left alone in the wild wilderness known as the south Caucasus. Armenians soon realized that the entire world was against Armenia's claims over Artsakh and want to see Armenia be brought into compliance with international law. No, it did not have to be this way. We did not have to lose 75% of historic Artsakh as well as five thousand lives. But there are no free meals in politics and politically illiteracy has a high cost. We have been paying this high price in land and blood.
Armenia has no choice now but to return to Mother Russia.
Armenia was resurrected by Russia some two hundred years ago. Armenia is in a sense one of the off-springs of the Bear's Caucasian desires. Although Russian-Armenian relations have at times been less-than ideal but for the past two hundred years, Russia's presence in the south Caucasus has been the ONLY geopolitical factor keeping Armenia alive in a Turkic/Islamic region like the south Caucasus. One does not necessarily have to like Russians to recognize this truth. We Armenians need to take off our rose-colored glasses and realize that we have turned Armenia into a Third World cesspool and a failed state during the past 30 years. We also need to put an to their our fantasies regarding Armenians and Armenia. Armenia is a small, impoverished, landlocked and remote nation surrounded by large and wealthy predators. Generally speaking, Armenians reject nationalism, ethnocentrism, conquest, victory, war, etc. Armenians are for the most part politically iliterate, metropolitan, liberal, tolerant and pacifistic. While pacifistic and reconciliation oriented mindsets among Armenians is a good thing from a fundamental standpoint, as such mindsets create opportunities to settle difference with neighbors, such mindsets also give Turks and Azeris a fertile ground to sow their seeds. This is how Turks got their way in the end. 
Long story, short: Armenians are in no shape to handle the challenges that comes with living in the south Caucasus with predatory neighbors.

The modern Armenian's understanding of nationhood starts and stops at his or her doorstep. The modern Armenian loves the good life more than Armenia, but he of course expects Russians to love Armenia more than Russia. The modern Armenian is ready to flee his homeland the moment life becomes difficult. The modern Armenian treats politics as if its a domestic dispute or a street fight. Governments are an accurate reflection of their people. People deserve the governments they have. Leaders do not give birth to nations, nations give birth to leaders. In the big picture, the previous "oligarchs" and the current degenerates are an accurate reflection of modern Armenian society. Nikol's toxic regime in particular was therefore tailor-made for us Armenians. Not only are we Armenians not ready for independence, the last 3 years have proven beyond any doubt that we don't deserve it either. Thank God the tiny piece of arid real-estate Armenians happen to be living on today (and that only because Russians decided to resurrect Armenia some two hundred years ago) is coveted by the Kremlin for geostrategic purposes. So, let Russians do with Armenia and Armenians as they please. 
Going forward, the ONLY way Armenia and what remains of Artsakh can realistically secure itself from any future Azeri-Turkish threat is through some form of union with Russia. The writing is on the wall. There is no other way forward, especially since normalization of relations between Yerevan, Ankara and Baku is all but inevitable now. It should be very apparent to all by now that we Armenians are too dysfunctional, too poor, too small, too peaceful, too disorganized, too cosmopolitan, too inefficient and too politically incompetent to secure Artsakh's and Armenia's security in a vicious and unforgiving place like the south Caucasus. The safest way forward for a people like us Armenians is through full incorporation into the Russian world.
At this point in time, going back to Mother Russia would be a nationalist thing to do. All those who genuinely love Armenia and Artsakh and worry about their future and well being need to therefore think along these lines.
Final thoughts

The next year or so will be like a very interesting and dangerous chess game played between Moscow, Ankara, Baku, Tehran and the West. Spectators of the said game will of course be Armenia and Georgia, because Armenians and Georgians are politically incompetent. And Nikol's government is the tool the international community (including Russia) is using to bring Armenia into compliance and subservience. Nikol will therefore be made to do all the dirty work in the next year or so before Moscow replaces him with a pro-Russian leader. In any case, no more tears for our peasantry. This is a situation "we the people" knowingly got ourselves into. We saw on June 20th that Armenians indeed love swimming in their excrement. Let them therefore suffer the repercussions of their "democratic" choice. And let Ivan and Natasha therefore do with our peasantry as they please. The following are some takeaways from the commentary above:
  • Western powers will not send troops to fight Russians in Ukraine. There most likely will not be a major war in Ukraine. Both sides, Russia and the West, are posturing in order to negotiate a final settlement over Ukraine's fate. Ukraine will most likely be turned into a buffer zone between East and West. Russians will most likely maintain the Karabakhization of the Donbass region. If negotiations fail to produce favorable results for Moscow, Russia may, at most, sent troops into the Donbass. Russia will be able to resist resulting sanctions. Sanctions will force Russia into deeper cooperation and collaboration with China.
  • Regardless of how the riots in Kazakhstan started, the CSTO operation in the country was meant to curb the spread of Pan-Turkism and Islamic radicalism. Armenians against Armenia's role in the CSTO effort are in-effect supporting the spread of Pan-Turkism and Islamic radicalism in Armenia neighborhood. Kazakhstan is also heading back to Mother Russia.
  • CSTO was not obligated to help Artsakh because Artsakh was never recognized by anyone, including Armenia. Armenia's situation did not qualify for assistance from CSTO either because the problems on Armenia's eastern borders were related to the long overdue demarcation and delineation process and not an invasion by Azerbaijan. Armenia's involvement in Kazakhstan was smart because the CSTO operation there was carried-out to defeat the spread of Pan-Turkism, radical Islam and help reinstate Pax Russica.
  • Moscow will do the bare minimum for Armenia (only what is required by contract, no extracurricular assistance, no white glove treatment) as long as Armenia has a regime like that of Nikol's. As long as Armenia is run by former professional Russophobes, Moscow will only pursue its interests in Armenia without paying much attention to Armenian sentiments.
  • Moscow may not be interested in getting rid of Nikol and company because they, unlike previous leaders in Armenia, have become Russia's hostage and slave. In other words, Nikol has become the easy-to-use tool Moscow is exploiting to get a number of things done in the south Caucasus.
  • Due to Nikol's mishaps during the last 3-plus years, Russia today is stronger in the south Caucasus than at any time since the collapse of the USSR. Russia now has a major military footprint in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
  • Nikol is expected by the international community to do work in Armenia that Serj and Robert would not want to touch. Nikol and company realize that once they finish their work in Armenia their time will be up, and they will be discarded by the same forces that put them in power in 2018.
  • Anti-Russian activists and nationalists in Armenian society push not only a pro-Western agenda but also a pro-Turkish agenda. Armenians are lot more sympathetic towards Turks and Turkish culture than Armenian patriots want to believe. Culturally and genetically Armenians are much closer to Turks than Russians. Turks therefore know that they have a fertile ground to work on, and they have done so successfully.
  • Nikol is not a Russian agent. If Nikol is a Russian creation, then so is Elchibey, so is Saakashvili, so is Ukraine's Maidan, so is the war in Syria, so is the unrest in Belarus, so is the unrest in Kazakhstan and so is Fox News network's Tucker Carlson. Nikol was a professional Russophobe, who later became President Putin's helpless hostage as a result of his disastrous war in Artsakh. Anybody in Nikol's shoes today, including the most virulent Russophobes we have, would be an obedient servant for the Kremlin. 
  • Russia does not control everything in Armenia. Such notions are a strawman argument and a smokescreen (i.e. Psy-Ops) by Western and Turkish activists. Russia controls strategic levers in Armenia as well as a number of ranking officials in politics and the military. Anglo-American-Jews and Turks on the other hand control the rest of Armenian society through NGOs, politicians, activists and news organizations.
  • Efforts to normalize relations between Armenia and Turkey is an international one. However, Russians want it done under their supervision and Western powers want it done under their supervision. Russia is seeking normalization of relations. The West is seeking reconciliation. So, both, Russia and the West, want Armenia to at the very least normalize relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan but they want it done under their terms and their control. Groups in Armenian society that are against Nikol's efforts to normalize or reconcile relations with Turkey are against it only because Nikol is doing so under Russian control and supervision.
  • Armenia has to at the very least normalize its relations with its neighbors. Armenia cannot go another 30 years like this. I am talking about normalization of relations (establishing formal contacts and opening borders), not reconciliation (becoming best friends so to speak). However, Armenia has the need to finally open up to its neighbors but do so in close cooperation and collaboration with Russia and Iran.
  • Efforts to make Armenia open its borders to Turkey and Azerbaijan have nothing to do with Pan-Turkism, they are related to the China led Belt and Road Initiative and the Russian led EEU, both of which are expected to have branches in the south Caucasus.
  • The safest thing for Armenia and Artsakh to do going forward is to enter into a union with the Russian Federation. Due to a number of historic, political, geographic, cultural and genetic reasons, Armenia has no future without Russia.
  • The last 30 years have proven that Armenians do not have what it takes to build a respectable nation that can take care of its citizens and protect its borders. The only things that got developed in post-Soviet Armenia were restaurant complexes, gambling casinos and sex clubs. Post-Soviet Armenia is a Potemkin Village.
  • Armenia is a weak and a defeated nation with a society that is politically illiterate and an equally incompetent elite that is easily bought. Armenia is in fact a failed state. Armenia therefore is in no position to expect or demand anything from anyone.
  • The south Caucasus region has two main geopolitical factors - Russia and Turkey. Iran and Western powers play secondary roles. 80% of Armenia's borders are shared with Turkey and Azerbaijan. Armenia's independence from Russia will automatically mean Armenia's dependence on Turkey. Therefore it's better to be an Oblast than a Vilayet.
  • Russia wants to be in the south Caucasus for long-term, geostrategic reasons. Western powers want to be in the south Caucasus only to exploit energy (which is in Turkish hands) and undermine Russian and Iranian influence.
  • Armenia has but two choices: Open up to Turkey and Azerbaijan under Russian and Iranian supervision, or try to abandon Russia and Iran and try to open up to Turkey and Azerbaijan under Western supervision. The answer to the above is obvious to anyone that genuinely has Armenia's best interests in mind and understands history, politics and geography.
  • At this point in time, bringing Armenia back to Mother Russia would be the nationalistic thing to do by Armenians. All those who genuinely love Armenia and Artsakh and worry about their future and well-being, need to therefore think along these lines.
As it was destined to be, Moscow remains the alpha and the omega of the south Caucasus. The Russian Bear has come back in force and the following is more-or-less what it is interested in getting done in the south Caucasus:
  • Armenia's willing or unwilling allegiance and subservience, since politely convincing Armenia to abandon the West and fully enter Russia's orbit proved elusive during the past 30 years.
  • Demarcate and delineate (i.e. resurrect) Armenia's Soviet-era borders with Azerbaijan, albeit with some modifications vis-a-vis Soviet-era enclaves and Nagorno Karabakh.
  • Open Armenia's borders to regional trade in connection to the China-led Belt and Road Initiative and the Russia-led EEU.
  • Establish a long-term military presence in Artsakh and increase its military footprint in Armenia and maintain leverage over Azerbaijan.
  • Entice Azerbaijan into Russia's political, economic and military orbit.
  • Entice Iran into closer cooperation and collaboration with Moscow.
  • Disarm and neutralize Turkey through dialogue and, whenever possible, with cooperation. In other words, avoid hostilities with Ankara to secure Russia's southern flank.
  • Keep Anglo-American-Jews and Europeans out of Russia's near abroad.
  • Curb the growth of Pan-Turkism and Islamic radicalism in Russia's near abroad.
  • Force Georgia into cooperation with Russia as a result of the above.
Therefore, disregard what you have been reading or hearing elsewhere. What I outlived above, fundamentally speaking, is what is happening in the south Caucasus and what Moscow wants to achieve there. It's what Moscow desires, not what will happen. Nevertheless, the above is more-or-less related to what every action or inaction we see on Moscow's part in recent times. Armenia's incompetent and treasonous officials better take all this into close consideration. They better understand that sooner-or-later, one way or another, Artsakh will become part of the Russian Federation. A similar Russian-makeover awaits Armenia as well. It would therefore behoove officials in Yerevan to make these transitions as painless and as eventless as possible. The past 30 years have shown that Armenians are incapable of nation-building in the south Caucasus and Armenia cannot exist without Russia. Russians and Armenians having joint ownership over Armenia is the patriotic thing to do, that is if we really care about Armenia's long-term health and well-being.
Winter, 2022

Pashinyan is ready to recognize Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan

During his December 24, 2021 press conference, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan made several statements and assertions on the current situation in Nagorno Karabakh and his vision for its future. He rejected the idea to demand the withdrawal of Azerbaijani forces from any territories, which they captured during the 2020 Karabakh war, including the territories of the former Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (the entire Hadrut region, several villages of the Martakert, Martuni and Askeran regions and Shushi city).
According to Pashinyan, the Azerbaijani population which lived in the former NKAO (according to the 1989 Soviet Union census, Azerbaijanis made up 22.4 percent of the NKAO population, while the number of Armenians was 76.4 percent) had the right to return, and the capture of Hadrut region, Shushi and other territories created the possibility for the realization of that right. This narrative puts Armenians currently living in Nagorno Karabakh in a perilous situation, as the de facto new line of contact fixed by the November 10, 2020 trilateral statement established a tiny entity which is not viable neither politically nor economically. However, according to Pashinyan, Armenia will not demand independence even for that small entity of approximately 3,000 square kilometers. The prime minister stated that Nagorno Karabakh lost all chances not to be part of Azerbaijan back in 2016. So, if there were no such chances when the territory of the unrecognized Nagorno Karabakh Republic was 11450 square kilometers, there definitely could be no chances now.
The prime minister stated that his vision is to see Armenians living in Karabakh safely and securely, which means that Armenia is ready to move forward and sign a peace treaty with Azerbaijan if Baku provides some guarantees for the security of Armenians. Theoretically, it could be a written guarantee put in the peace treaty with no status, or it could be some status of cultural autonomy for Nagorno Karabakh within the November 10, 2020 statement borders, providing Armenians the opportunity to study the Armenian language in Azerbaijani schools or have several hours of daily Armenian language broadcasts on Stepanakert radio.

Nevertheless, this will mean only one thing in real life: no Armenians in Artsakh. Everyone who has at least a basic knowledge of the history and current stage of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict understands very well one thing – if Azerbaijani troops, officials and population enter Stepanakert, Martakert, Askeran and Martuni, it will very quickly, within days if not hours, force Armenians to leave or be killed. The current situation in the Shushi and Hadrut region, where you will find zero Armenians 14 months after the end of the 2020 Karabakh war, is vivid, albeit not the only, evidence confirming this reality.

Thus, during his press conference, Pashinyan sent an indirect message to the Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh to use the remaining few years of the Russian presence to prepare their safe landing out of Nagorno Karabakh, either in Armenia or anywhere else. Otherwise, if either in 2025 or 2030 they face a situation similar to what the Armenian population of Shushi, Hadrut, Karvachar or Berdzor faced in November 2020, they should blame themselves and not the government of Armenia. If nothing changes, many Armenians will heed this advice, while simultaneously Azerbaijan will relocate the Azerbaijani population in the territories of the former NKAO currently under its control. Very soon, within a maximum of 10 years and within the borders of the former NKAO, Azerbaijanis will become a majority, thus significantly changing the region’s demographics compared with 1989. It will make the deployment of the Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno Karabakh senseless. With the withdrawal of the Russian troops (which may happen in 2030 or later), remaining Armenians will leave, and Artsakh will be transformed into another Nakhichevan with zero Armenian population.

Meanwhile, the position of the Armenian government makes the continuation of the work of the OSCE Minsk Group senseless. The cornerstone of the activities of the Minsk Group was the issue of the status of Nagorno Karabakh. Suppose Armenia says that Karabakh has zero chance not to be part of Azerbaijan, and the only issue is the security guarantees of Armenian nationals living in Karabakh and holding Azerbaijani passports. In that case, this is not the problem for the three permanent members of the UN Security Council. They are not going to negotiate the number of hours of Armenian language classes in Azerbaijani schools in Karabakh or the possibility to have Armenian language broadcasts on Stepanakert radio.

There are several explanations why the Armenian government pursues this policy. One is based on geopolitics. According to this narrative, Armenia and Azerbaijan, under the auspices of the US, agreed to implement a policy to eventually push out Russian troops from Nagorno Karabakh by decreasing the number of Armenians living there and making the deployment of peacekeepers senseless. It could be a part of the US policy of containment aiming to decrease the influence and positions of Russia in the post-Soviet space, in this particular case in Azerbaijan. While in exchange for support of this policy, the US will turn a blind eye to authoritarian trends in Armenia, which became more clear after the local elections in late 2021 and will continue to provide funding to the Armenian government through USAID, World Bank and IMF and will push the European Union to provide loans via EBRD and EIB. In this scenario, the current Armenian government may secure its position for another decade, either by winning the 2026 parliamentary elections or changing the constitution in 2022, bringing Armenia back to the semi-presidential system of government and winning presidential elections of 2023 and possibly of 2028.

Another explanation is more straightforward and more prosaic. The current government wants to enjoy the benefits of being in power – state-funded luxury cars, state-funded business trips, state-funded homes, plus the possibility to be part of lucrative business deals – without problems and complications. The existence of the Artsakh problem may prevent them from enjoying that power. That is why the best solution is to forget about Artsakh and eventually make Artsakh another chapter of Armenia’s tragic history.

Are there any possibilities to prevent the realization of this scenario? A significant part of Armenian society – due to the lack of reliable sociological surveys (it is impossible to say they comprise 30 percent, 50 percent or 70 percent of the population) – is indifferent to these developments. Due to the global rise of the consumer society as well as targeted propaganda in the Armenian media for the last 25 to30 years, the ultimate goal of life of this part of the society is to drive 10-year-old BMWs or Mercedes instead of 20-year-old Opels and to spend their holidays not in Kobuleti (Georgia) or Hurghada but in Cyprus or Greece. Their attitude will be either indifference or, if they feel that at the end of the day this scenario may bring additional money to Armenia and personally to them – American money, European money, Turkish money or Azerbaijani money, they may support this vision.

Meanwhile, there is another part of Armenian society, and also quite significant, which is ready to take actions and even sacrifices to prevent the loss of Artsakh. However, this part needs leaders who are ready to organize. In this context, the ultimate responsibility lies on the shoulders of individuals who have relevant capacities and capabilities to rally this part of Armenians around them. People like Nubar Afeyan, Ruben Vardanyan and others can play a role here. They have the experience to launch different pan-Armenian initiatives – The Future Armenian, Armenia 2041, FAST and IDEA foundations. However, the goals of these initiatives are relatively vague and lack the simplicity to involve significant numbers of people. The first step towards the prevention of the loss of Artsakh could be the establishment of the “Save Artsakh” fund with a straightforward goal – to have at least 30 percent more Armenians living in Artsakh in 2027 than now and at least 50 percent more Armenians living in Artsakh in 2030 than now. This simple and clear goal will unite significant numbers of Armenians both in Armenia and the Diaspora, including the middle class.
One of the options to increase the population of Artsakh could be the offer of a financial bonus for every Armenian who would like to relocate to Artsakh to do the work which he is doing now in Armenia or abroad. The development of IT technologies has created a situation where many people work remotely from their homes, and there is no significant difference if you have access to the internet in Yerevan, Moscow, Paris, Los Angeles or Stepanakert. The fund may sign contracts with participants offering them a financial bonus in the form of paying them an additional salary if they agree to go to Artsakh and work from there remotely, or do the offline jobs, such as teaching, construction, etc., for a fixed amount of time starting perhaps from three months and reaching a year or even longer. The “Save Artsakh” fund could also pay the rent for these persons while they live in Artsakh.

This is only one option, and definitely, there could be others to boost population growth in Artsakh. If Artsakh has at least 50 percent more Armenians in 2030 than now, it will ruin the Azerbaijani strategy to change the demographic situation and eventually transform Artsakh into another Nakhichevan. Russian troops will probably be deployed in Artsakh at least until 2030, so the basic security of Armenians living there will be guaranteed. Meanwhile, if the Armenian population increases, it will provide a solid base for Russia to keep its troops in Artsakh after 2030. The upcoming green economy revolution and the relative decrease of the role of oil and gas after 2035 may create problems and trigger instability in Azerbaijan, thus forcing Baku to shift its focus on the domestic situation and probably abandon its plans of destroying Artsakh.

Kolerov: The Armenian political circles must accept that a union of Armenia with Russia is the only way to survive as a state

The Armenian political circles must accept that a union of Armenia with Russia is the only way to survive as a state. Modest Kolerov, the chief editor of Regnum news agency, told this to Armenian

Referring to the last meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian acting PM Nikol Pashinyan, Kolerov said that each meeting has two sides, and each side has its tasks. "What are Russia's tasks? To maintain the balance of power in Transcaucasia, to keep Armenia from state suicide as much as possible. The imbalance of forces in Transcaucasia threatens Russia as a Caucasian power. Pashinyan has a task to stay in power and solve the existing problems of his power without too close relations with Russia. From the outside, the situation seems catastrophic. Pashinyan's Armenia was capitulated in Karabakh, did not make every effort to defend it, and now Armenia does not even guard the border with Azerbaijan, it does not want to.

Each side has its own ideas about the border. Now the operative situation on the border is dictated by Azerbaijan, whereas Armenia does not defend itself, although it has all the rights to do so. Armenia wants Russia to defend its border with Azerbaijan, but the border has not been established. Armenia agrees that Russia should determine the border, delimit the border and, in general, do everything in Pashinyan’s stead.

Third, without Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia's strategic, geopolitical weight tends to zero. And only tactical balance gives it some sense. One can imagine a situation when large-scale depopulation may start in Armenia, as in Latvia. Pensioners and officials could remain in Armenia. I fully imagine such a situation when only pensioners and Pashinyan will remain in Armenia. Maintaining balance in the historical perspective requires making historic decisions. Pashinyan is not ready for that, he does not enjoy enough legitimacy and confidence to do that. He received the majority of votes [in the snap parliamentary elections on June 20], but this is only 25 percent of the total number of voters. No force can make strategic decisions with 25 percent of the vote; it can capitulate once again.

Modern Armenia cannot defend itself. It cannot even guarantee the preservation of statehood. I drew attention to the agreement on holding joint military exercises between Georgia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan. If anyone in Armenia thought that Georgia is an ally or a good neighbor, these exercises should sober him up. In order to defend its territory, Armenia needs to enter into a union state with Russia; Armenia needs it.

But the problem is that now there are more Armenians in Russia than in Armenia. For the vast majority of people in Russian society, there is no problem with Armenia as a state. I am convinced that if a referendum is held on the creation of a union state of Armenia and Russia, the idea will not receive the support of the majority. The idea of a union state is marginal even in Armenia, although for it this is a matter of state survival. However, Armenia, led by a man who came to power with a Russophobic, anti-Russian program, who now has to get help from Russia, is constantly resorting to harsh and provocative insinuations about the [Russian-made] Iskander [missile system] and other things.

Pashinyan understands perfectly well that he is perceived in Russia exclusively as the current leader of Armenia, but he has not been, is not and will not be trusted. This also prevents him from making serious decisions. Moreover, Pashinyan is also not going to make any historic decision. He is going to change his approach in the future, too, receiving help from Russia, putting the accountability on Moscow. Moreover, he simultaneously hopes that instead of Russia, for example, France will be the other strategic ally. Those who follow Armenia in Moscow realize that well.

A strategic solution has not matured under Pashinyan, and it is impossible. This strategic solution is not known in Russia and will be perceived with suspicion. The Armenian political circles must accept that a union of Armenia with Russia is the only way to survive as a state. Armenia should work in that regard every day, explain, tell, defend its own existence, not try to receive donor assistance.

After 2008, Russia has two more military bases—besides Armenia—in Transcaucasia. So the Gyumri [military base] and the Erebuni [airbase of Russia] are not the only ones, and there is nothing left for blackmail anymore. This is also meaningless, especially given the fact that it was the Russian troops who protected the [Armenian] population of Karabakh and now guarantee that Karabakh remains Armenian. If they leave, the Armenian population of Karabakh will also leave," Modest Kolerov said.


Armenia increases its dependence on Russia after the Nagorno Karabakh war

A serious call to order by Russian President Vladimir Putin ended harsh hostilities in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict just over a year ago. The bloody war between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops over the mountainous enclave had already claimed thousands of lives. 44 days of combat in which Turkey – an ally of Baku and the support that helped tip the balance definitively in favor of Azerbaijan – was gaining too much relevance. So Putin worked hard on a somewhat uncomfortable agreement with the two countries with which, in addition, he strengthens his influence in the southern Caucasus and guarantees dependence on Armenia. And with the pact came the so-called Russian “peacekeepers”, who already patrol the enclave, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. The one in Nagorno Karabakh was the only one of the conflicts bequeathed by the Soviet Union – such as that in Moldova or Georgia – in which there was no Russian military presence. Up to now.

Russia has not issued a peace resolution. The conflict remains as a “latent volcano”, indicates Anna Karapetyan, director of the think- tank Armenian Insight Analytical Center, as evidenced by the outbreak of a trickle of deadly skirmishes. In addition, there are still very important fringes: such as Azerbaijan returning dozens of soldiers captured during the war, says the expert. The trilateral agreement ended a quarter century of Armenian military control over Nagorno Karbaj, a touchstone for Armenian national identity and inhabited mostly by Armenian people. Azerbaijan had lost most of control of the remote, mountainous region in the war of the 1990s. But this dominance has been regained after last year’s war.

Although somewhat volatile, the agreement has been a “significant diplomatic and geostrategic victory” for Putin, highlights Oleg Ivanov, head of the Center for Social Conflict Resolution. Moscow, an ally of Baku and Yerevan, two former Soviet republics with which it has substantial historical and economic ties – and it sells arms to both – had neglected that part of the tumultuous South Caucasus, a region wedged between Russia, Iran and Turkey. And the latter country (a member of NATO), an increasingly assertive player, was gaining momentum. This scheme did not fit in with Putin’s foreign policy, who works hard and with different strategies to maintain influence in his backyard. The freezing of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict has allowed him to play another of his favorite roles and fundamental to his playbook as a global superpower: that of mediator.

Moscow wants a permanent and comprehensive redesign of the security map of the South Caucasus, from where it wants to remove any NATO presence, as well as the entire post-Soviet space. This is what he has demanded of the Military Alliance at a time of high tension due to the concentration of troops along the borders with Ukraine. For now, the Kremlin has guaranteed itself a very important dependence on Armenia, remarks Alexander Iskandaryan, director of the Caucasus Institute in Yerevan. Also, the involvement of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who came to power in 2018 after mass protests against political elites and who was initially viewed with suspicion from Moscow, but who with the signing of the agreement has ended up convincing the Kremlin of which is not wayward. “Russia provides security, not only with soldiers, but also politically. Armenia looks towards Moscow looking for this factor, while when it looks at the EU it sees a benchmark in the model of development and democracy, ”says veteran political scientist Iskandaryan in his bright office in the Armenian capital.

In Armenia, with a significant diaspora in North America and Europe – especially in France – but also in Russia, there are no parties that clearly advocate breaking ties with Moscow, which controls most of the strategic resources and is joined by agreements. of association and defense. The Russian has lost a lot of territory among the population, especially among young people, who now travel more to EU countries and the US than to Russia. But although there are those who believe that Moscow allowed the conflict to go too far, a good part of the population believes that without Moscow the war would have resulted in the total loss of control of the enclave. This is helped by Russian public relations policy, which shows its combat engineers clearing munitions on the ground or escorting buses in which some Armenian refugees have returned to Stepanakert, the region’s capital. 
The risks of dependency

The risk for Armenia is that this dependence on Russia is excessive and even “dangerous”, explains analyst Richard Giragosián, director of the Regional Studies Center. “The peacekeeping mission can be imitated, but there is an increase in the Russian military presence in the area, because it is Moscow that will control all regional trade and transport and also the Armenian border,” says Giragosián. This expert points out that, unlike other conflicts, Moscow now wants the involvement of the West as a formula to legitimize its diplomatic drive. The Kremlin would like a peace deal, says the analyst, that would allow that temporary group of peacemakers to become permanent and even expand with international forces. Meanwhile, the Russian deployment – which already had a small and fairly old base in Armenia – has relegated Ankara to a secondary role. Although Turkey, which in a certain way considers itself the winner of the resulting post-war scenario, is also working to increase its influence in the southern Caucasus and has even declared that it wants to “normalize” relations with Armenia that have been broken for decades and also very damaged by the Turkish lack of recognition of the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. 
Russian boots in Nagorno Karabakh

The Russian “peacekeeping” contingent is relatively modest on paper: some 1,960 personnel with small arms, 90 armored personnel carriers and another 380 motor vehicles. They have 27 checkpoints, most far from the front, along the main transportation arteries in the Armenian-populated areas of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Lachin corridor, a narrow, hilly eight-kilometer highway that connects the region with Armenia. . Although it lacks a detailed mandate, it analyzes in a report Olesya Vartanya of the ISPI, and that is a vulnerability if, over time, one of the parties (or both) begins to blame the Russian soldiers for not protecting enough or too much.

The military teams will remain in Nagorno Karabakh for five years, according to the treaty; extendable for another five. And so on if Baku or Yerevan do not demand their withdrawal. And this window raises the doubts of analysts, who recall the example of other conflicts, such as that of the separatist region of Moldova in Transnistria, where there are Russian troops of “peacekeepers” since the war of the 1990s, or the secessionist territories. Georgians from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where Moscow carried out a military intervention and there are also Russian bases, which the Kremlin operates as dials of pressure and destabilization in a country that wants to join NATO and the EU. “We see that the Russians arrive, but then they don’t leave,” says Giragosián.

Political scientist Anna Karapetyan believes that it will not be Yerevan that calls for the withdrawal of Russian soldiers. In Armenia, after the agreement was signed, thousands of people took to the streets and demanded the resignation of Nikol Pashinián, who they accused of capitulating and of not having taken care of relations with Moscow, the strong ally that, according to his idea, could have turned the balance as Ankara did by supporting Baku and selling it a bunch of drones that have been instrumental in its victory. But although many continue to blame the government for the management of the conflict, Pashinián again won the elections held last June.

Jora Pogosián, 78, and her family are among the more than 35,000 Armenians displaced by the conflict. They believe that if it had not been for the Kremlin, Armenia would have lost control of the entire region, which is seeking self-determination under the name of Artsakh and whose authorities are now analyzing making Russian the second official language. “As long as the Russian peacekeepers are there there will be no major escalations. If it had not been for the intervention of Moscow, the destruction would have been abysmal and the number of Armenian victims infinite, ”says Jora Pogosián very seriously. “Make no mistake, this has shown us that in the end we can only turn to Russia,” says this veteran of the first Nagorno-Karabakh war.

In a house lent by some friends on the outskirts of Yerevan, which still does not have heating and which is kept relatively warm thanks to the wood donated by acquaintances, Jora’s daughter-in-law, the teacher Lilith Pogosián, says that she tries to get ahead as may. The family lived in Hadrud, a village in the mountainous enclave now in the hands of Azerbaijan. Last year, when the fighting raged, they packed up all their belongings and left their home and farm, in which they had invested all their savings to start a family-run vodka and honey business. “I don’t find the point of going back to the area now,” Jora Poghosián laments: “To another town? There are no opportunities for development, but if the Armenians leave and that will soon become uninhabited, everything will be lost ”.

Russia seeks to accelerate old Soviet state union
Moscow is moving to transform the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) into a more unified political and economic bloc, an apparent response to perceived Western pressure against the grouping. The Kremlin and its allies are now seeking to accelerate EAEU integration by reducing non-tariff barriers and coordinating policies to consolidate the five-member bloc’s core ahead of possible enlargement. The EAEU now consists of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and operates through supranational and intergovernmental institutions to promote free trade and the movement of goods and labor.

On July 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law to establish a common EAEU electricity market, which will allow businesses in Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Armenia to freely choose their energy suppliers. On July 1, a unified search system known as Work without Borders was put into commercial operation in all EAEU countries, marking the grouping’s first joint digital project to promote the intra-bloc flow of labor. Also starting on July 1, all new drugs in the EAEU will be registered according to common rules. Like the European Union, EAEU members are gradually yielding parts of their sovereignty to the grouping, although it will take some time before they reach the EU’s level of integration. The moves to consolidate the EAEU’s core five are happening with an eye on expansion. Latest reports indicate the EAEU and Southeast Asian nation Indonesia plan to complete a joint feasibility study on a potential free trade agreement by September.

Strong economic actor?

That does not mean that an agreement will be signed any time soon, as it will take time to study the current state of EAEU-Indonesia trade and economic relations and project the benefits and risks of a possible expansion of ties. In 2020, the volume of trade between Indonesia and the EAEU countries reached US$2.25 billion. Indonesia’s exports to the region reached $1 billion, while Jakarta imported goods worth $1.28 billion from EAEU nations. “With the potential of a young population, Indonesia needs strong economic actors to become a developed country in 2045,” said Indonesian Minister of Trade Muhammad Lofti, noting his country’s intent on expanding ties with the EAEU. It is debatable, though, if the EAEU has developed yet into a “strong economic actor.” Its richest members – Russia and Kazakhstan – are still oil and gas-dependent economies, while Belarus depends heavily on its energy imports to fuel its economy.

Kyrgyzstan is one of the poorest countries in Central Asia, while the International Monetary Fund declared Armenia the poorest country in the South Caucasus as of 2018. The EAEU is looking beyond its borders for an economic boost. It is now seeking observer status at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), a free trade group encompassing 21 countries. APEC accounts for about 60% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 48% of international trade turnover. Russia joined APEC in 1998 and now reportedly aims to develop closer EAEU-APEC ties. Closer to home, the Kremlin is trying to lure comparatively prosperous Uzbekistan into the EAEU. “Uzbekistan’s full-fledged participation in the EAEU will provide additional opportunities for the growth of the Uzbek economy and tangible advantages for its citizens,” Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin recently said.

Observer status

The Central Asian country of 34.6 million people has a relatively large economy by regional standards, with a GDP of $57.7 billion and average economic growth of 6.6% between 2011 and 2019, a higher rate than all EAEU countries over the period. “Without the participation of Uzbekistan as a large and strategically located player in Central Asia, it is very difficult to resolve regional development issues, primarily in the field of transport, water and energy supplies,” said Evgeny Vinokurov, chief economist of the Eurasian Stabilization and Development Fund and the Eurasian Development Bank. On December 11, 2020, Uzbekistan was granted observer status in the EAEU. At the time, EAEU leaders granted the same status to Cuba – even though the Caribbean country and long-time Russian ally is located neither in Europe nor in Asia. Besides Uzbekistan and Cuba, Moldova is another EAEU observer.

All EAEU members are part of the Commonwealth of Independent States formed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The EAEU is widely seen as a Moscow project to reintegrate ex-Soviet countries through trade and commerce. It’s not altogether clear how that project is perceived in Western capitals as the EU continues its eastward reach. The EU’s free trade agreement with Serbia will come into force on July 10. The Balkan nation reportedly has no plans at present to join the EAEU, though geographically and historically it would seem a logical candidate for expansion. Moscow senses a Western plot to upend EAEU expansion. Earlier this year, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said the West’s desire is “to turn the post-Soviet space into a zone of constant conflicts and tension.”

Ex-Soviet states

Moscow, for its part, says it advocates equal and mutually beneficial cooperation among ex-Soviet states. “The West does not like our desire to unite the Central Asian republics,” said former Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who was given the title of Honorary Chairman of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in 2019. “They want to separate us all from Russia and China. They are actively working on it,” claimed Nazarbayev, who recently met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Even though he stepped down in 2019, the 80-year-old politician is still seen as a highly influential figure, not only in his Central Asian nation but in the EAEU as well. But Moscow has arguably created certain roadblocks to smooth EAEU integration. That was seen during a May 2020 videoconference of EAEU leaders at which Russia said it had no plans for a uniform unit gas price for all member states. Belarus and Armenia, both dependent on Russian gas, balked at the announcement. Kazakhstan leader Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, meanwhile, strongly criticized certain aspects of the EAEU’s Moscow-led development strategy, underscoring the many challenges of faster union integration.


As Guns Fall Silent In Nagorno-Karabakh, There's One Winner In The Conflict You Might Not Expect

Who’s the big winner in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace deal? Russia. As smoke clears from the battlefields around Nagorno-Karabakh and the ink is drying on the three-page peace deal aimed at halting the worst fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan in decades, one thing seems increasingly clear:
 The Kremlin has won.

At the very least, Moscow has snatched what looks like a victory from the jaws of defeat. It’s further increased its clout in a region where a flare-up of fighting between two former Soviet republics and a more robust Turkish role threatened to shrink the Kremlin's influence. “Russia did well in this,” said Matthew Bryza, a former co-chair of the Minsk Group, a long-standing diplomatic effort to resolve the conflict. “Putin has dominated. He’s the kingmaker in the situation.”

At least 2,000 soldiers and civilians, likely more, have died since September 27, when the latest round of fighting erupted over Nagorno-Karabakh, a small, mountainous territory that is legally part of Azerbaijan but has been controlled by ethnic Armenians for 26 years. In the years since the 1994 cease-fire that ended all-out war, Azerbaijani and Armenian forces have regularly skirmished, exchanging sniper fire and mortar rounds, but stopped short of another full-on conflict. The region’s unresolved status put it in a category known to experts as a “frozen conflict”-- hot spots around the former Soviet Union where Russia plays a central role, both perpetuating and mitigating the tensions.

Others, with varying levels of tension and violence, include Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions and Moldova’s breakaway Transdniester region. And then there’s eastern Ukraine, where Russia-backed forces hold parts of two provinces and a simmering war has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014. As in some of the other places, Russia sought to deploy troops on the ground in or near Nagorno-Karabakh as peacekeepers, but had previously failed on that front. That was due in part to a lack of confidence in Yerevan and Baku that Moscow was an honest broker. Russia has substantial economic ties with both countries; Azerbaijan is a major purchaser of Russian weaponry.

But Moscow’s most prominent diplomatic effort has been through the Minsk Group, an initiative headed by France, Russia, and the United States under the aegis of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The subtext to the Minsk Group was that Western nations -- NATO allies France and the United States -- had a strategic role to play in a region that Moscow still considers part of its historic sphere of influence. With the new peace deal, Russia gets its troops on the ground -- and potentially pushes Paris and Washington out of the picture once and for all. And according to the text published by the Kremlin, as well as remarks from Putin’s spokesman, Turkish peacekeepers will not be deploying, something that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev suggested would be happening.
Iranian, Russian Presidents consider any change of borders in region unacceptable
Iranian, Russian Presidents consider any change of borders in region unacceptable

During a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi welcomed Russia’s initiative to establish peace and stability in the Caucasian region, the Iranian Presidential Office reports. “Any change in the geopolitical situation and the borders of the countries of the region is unacceptable”, the sides said. Expressing their concern about the current situation around the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, the Russian leader talked about raising the level of trust and cooperation in the region, stating that they seek to implement the “3+3” consulting mechanism. Putin expressed hope for Iran’s support.

Roads remain under jurisdiction of countries through which they pass – Russian Deputy PM tells Pashinyan

Roads remain under jurisdiction of countries through which they pass –  Russian Deputy PM 
tells Pashinyan

As ARMENPRESS was informed from the Office of the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister welcomed Mr. Overchuk's visit to Armenia, noting that it is a good opportunity to discuss the current agenda. "I would like to note that I highly appreciate the works of the trilateral working commission chaired by the Deputy Prime Ministers of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan. I hope that we will finally be able to reach concrete solutions.

I would like to say the following in this regard. Armenia is committed to the statements of November 9 and January 11, which refer to the unblocking of all transport and economic ties in the region. But I would like to emphasize that the statements made by Azerbaijan regarding the corridors have a negative impact on the efficiency of our work and atmosphere, especially considering that in our trilateral statements there are no remarks about corridors.

My impression is that Azerbaijan is trying to impose its perceptions on the commission, which, of course, is unacceptable for us. I would like to reaffirm that Armenia is interested in opening and unblocking regional transport and economic infrastructure. I have repeatedly stated publicly that we are ready to go to concrete solutions, the essence of which should be the following. Armenia should get road and railway communication routes through Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan should receive railway and road communication routes through Armenia, including one connecting Azerbaijan to the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic.

Our documents are about the unblocking of economic and transport infrastructures, our position is the following. What do we offer? The railways that existed during the Soviet era must be restored; the highways that existed during the Soviet era, including those connecting the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic with Azerbaijan, must also be restored.

We are ready for such solutions. We have concrete proposals, it should be emphasized that according to the January 11 statement, about which we have talked many times, we should also negotiate on customs control, phytosanitary control, border control and other possible types of control. This is what is stated in our statements of November 9, 2020 and January 11, 2021. I want to confirm once again that Armenia is interested, ready, and we hope that in the near future we will be able to reach concrete solutions to these issues. We are constructive," Prime Minister Pashinyan said. Alexei Overchuk thanked the Prime Minister for the meeting and for highly appreciating the activities of the working group comprised of the Deputy Prime Ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation.

“We are really working within the mandate that you, together with the leaders of the other countries, granted us in the framework of the statements of November 9-10, 2020 and January 11, 2021. I would like to note that we are in constant touch with our partners and deputy prime ministers. We have held 8 meetings, 4 of which were in-person, the other four were held remotely.

At the same time, we talk on the phone almost every day, discussing various options to find more optimal, more acceptable solutions for all parties. You know that road construction experts also worked, who examined the roads. Today we have a very good understanding of what those roads really look like. Based on these data, after the 8th session of the joint working group held on October 22, it seems to us that we will reach concrete solutions. They are based primarily on that the roads remain under the jurisdiction of the countries through which they pass.

Russia will defend the borders of Armenia like its own - Andrey Klimov

"Russia will defend the formally recognized borders of Armenia as its own, since the two states are part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)," Andrei Klimov, chair of the Ad Hoc Commission on Protecting State Sovereignty and Preventing Interference in the Domestic Affairs of the Russian Federation Council said on Monday. Klimov was asked about the active role of Turkey in connection with the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. "You are a member state to the CSTO and we are there. We will defend the formally recognized borders of Armenia as we would do our own. Furthermore, our military doctrine envisages that through defending ourselves and our allies, we would resist to others. This is well known to those why must know this," Klimov said.

Russia should annex parts of eastern Turkey, RT editor-in-chief says

The editor-in-chief of the Russian state TV channel RT said Russia should annex eastern Turkey's Mount Ağrı (Ararat) and Kars province. Margarita Simonyan, who is of Armenian descent, told public broadcaster Rossiya 1 TV channel that the country should annex the areas from Turkey. Simonyan's controversial comments followed similar remarks by Russian politician and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who claimed that a "special" tsar-like regime was necessary to secure Armenia.

“Any democratic regime like the U.S., U.K. or France is unacceptable (for Russia). And you, Armenians, will get both Kars and Ardahan if there’s a strict regime like (the rule under) a tsar. Under a democratic government, even Yerevan will be taken away from you,” he said. Armenia and Turkey have never established diplomatic relations and their shared border has been closed since the 1990s. The ties have further deteriorated due to Turkey's support for its regional ally Azerbaijan, which fought with Armenia last year for control of the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region. But last month, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said Yerevan was prepared to hold discussions on repairing relations with Ankara.

Meanwhile, Turkey and Russia enjoy strong relations, as officials highlight cooperation on numerous regional issues. In July, Dmitry Polyanskiy, the first deputy permanent representative of Russia to the United Nations, said Turkey is working to preserve world peace in crisis areas including Libya, Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh. A Russian-brokered deal on Nov. 10 halted a six-week conflict between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh and its surrounding areas, securing territorial gains for Azerbaijan. Turkey agreed with Russia that its troops would also monitor the cease-fire. Ankara and Moscow signed an agreement to establish a joint observation center in Nagorno-Karabakh. On the other side, Turkey has frequently voiced that the two countries have made significant contributions to the establishment of cease-fires in both Syria and Libya, while further steps need to be taken in Libya to reintegrate the country’s divided institutions.

 Artsakh FM: Azerbaijan attack on Karabakh will mean attack on Russia
No one can guarantee the complete absence of the possibility of a new war, but now such a possibility is very small, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Foreign Minister David Babayan told a press conference Wednesday.  He stressed that a large-scale attack on Armenia would mean an attack on the CSTO, and this simply could not go unnoticed.  "We saw the recent events in Kazakhstan, and the reaction of the CSTO. And in case of an attack on Armenia, there will be a reaction at least from the Russian side, especially if Turkey joins [this attack]. As for the possibility of an attack on Karabakh, peace and stability [there] are maintained by the Russian peacekeepers. An attack on Artsakh will automatically mean an attack on the Russian peacekeepers and Russia. It will be a different kind of war. It will not be a war between Azerbaijan and Artsakh and Armenia. I do not think that Azerbaijan does not understand that. If the terrorists, pan-Turkists in Kazakhstan managed to achieve their goal, the probability of war would have been 100 percent. Now the probability is small," the Artsakh FM added.
Nagorno Karabakh Armenians claim sovereignty
The National Assembly of the (unrecognized) republic of Nagorno-Karabakh has approved a motion declaring its opposition to the positions of the Prime Minister of Yerevan, Nikol Pašinyan, regarding the consequences of the conflict with Azerbaijan last year. Added to this is the very harsh statement of Araik Arutjunyan, president of Karabakh, which sounds like a distancing of the separatist republic from Armenia.

The small republic, called "Artsakh" in Armenian language, has about 150 thousand inhabitants and a territory of about 3000 km2. As a matter of fact it is an enclave in the territory of Azerbaijan, at least partially controlled by local Armenians; it can communicate with the homeland through the narrow mountain corridor of Laҫin, three kilometers long and nine meters wide, protected by the peace forces of the Russian Federation.

Pašinyan's participation in the summit of leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States in St. Petersburg on December 28 provoked a reaction from Karabakh Armenians. The day before, during a press conference, the Armenian premier had blamed his predecessors for the defeat in the separatist territory. Pašinyan's position has also been criticized in Yerevan by the opposition, especially by former president Robert Kočaryan, who on December 29 openly accused the prime minister of betrayal of national interests.

Another former president, Serž Sargsyan, has also announced a public meeting in January on the issue, which will most likely be equally merciless towards Pašinyan. In all of this, Arutjunyan wanted to reiterate that "only Artsakh authorities have the right to speak on behalf of the local population." Arutjunyan stressed that their main goal is the international recognition of Artsakh's independence, and that no form of autonomy within Azerbaijan will be acceptable, such as those to which the Armenian premier seems to be leaving room for negotiation.

The Armenians of Karabakh maintain that there is no possibility of peaceful coexistence with the Azeris, and their territory must be returned to the borders of 1991, when the conflict with Baku over the mountainous area began. For Arutjunyan, Russian troops deployed in the area should facilitate the establishment of a local Artsakh army, staying as long as necessary, and this should be Pašinyan's goal in negotiations with Putin.

The Parliament of Stepanakert - the capital of the separatist republic - has reiterated its president's positions, declaring inadmissible the pronouncements of any politician or party that casts doubt on the Armenian future of Artsakh, especially lashing out at Pašinyan's statements, deeming them too ambiguous and dangerous. The premier had assured that the status of Nagorno Karabakh would remain on the negotiating table, and that "the legal and political bases of Armenian independence in the area are not in contradiction with the positions of the mediators and international structures dealing with the matter".

Karabakh Armenians fear being victims of diplomatic games, and do not want to give up their sovereignty even at the cost of going against Yerevan. The speaker of Stepanakert's parliament, Ašot Gulyan, compared Pašinyan's words to the "style of 1937," when Stalin first annexed Karabakh to Azerbaijan, starting the mountain feud of the two Caucasian peoples, who have always been divided by language, culture and religion.


President of Artsakh wants permanent Russian military presence

President of Artsakh wants permanent Russian military presence

President of Artsakh Arayik Harutyunyan believes that the regional situation is such that Artsakh cannot ensure its security alone and on its own.  “The victory isn’t final, the defeat isn’t fateful,” the president said at a meeting with residents in Martakert. “What matters is to have the courage to go on. Over the course of 30 years we’ve had victory, which I will call a temporary success, because if victory isn’t a final one it can’t be a victory. We’ve had failures – it’s not a defeat, but we must find, re-discover ourselves, continue our struggle. The work we do today impacts not only our daily lives, our life and activity, but the fate of our children and generations.”  President Harutyunyan emphasized that the Russian military presence in Artsakh should be permanent, and not temporary.  “If the Russian troops hadn’t entered the region we would’ve had a very different fate. There are many stupid comments, some people will say different things just to justify themselves or blame others,” the president said.

Stepanakert: Any attempt to include Karabakh in Azerbaijan is doomed to failure

Any attempt to include Karabakh in Azerbaijan is doomed to failure. Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Foreign Minister David Babayan stated this in an interview with Armenian

"The model of existence within Azerbaijan is unacceptable for us. First of all, Azerbaijan itself has shown its inadmissibility. Our people made the right decision to leave Azerbaijan, as it was no longer possible to be part of a common union state in which Baku had no control over the NKAO [(Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast )]. Even in those conditions, it was impossible to ensure our security. Moreover, Azerbaijan liquidated the NKAO, showing how it envisions our future. Then there were three wars unleashed by Azerbaijan, and now we see what is happening. By the way, in 1998 and 1999 Azerbaijan rejected the idea of a 'common state' where Karabakh and Azerbaijan were theoretically to be equal subject units. Azerbaijan even rejected that idea.

That is why, any attempt to create such a system would lead to disaster. No Armenian will remain in that land if it will be part of Azerbaijan; everyone should realize that. For us, it is a past phase, a historical and political page in our ancient history; no more, no less. Such attempts are doomed to failure. There is no return to the past," Babayan emphasized, in particular.

Russia doesn’t plan to pull out peacekeepers from Karabakh upon completion of initial term - Vladimir Evseev

Russia doesn’t plan to pull out its peacekeeping forces from Nagorno Karabakh, military expert Vladimir Evseev told ARMENPRESS when asked to comment the former commander of the troops Lt. General Rustam Muradov’s latest statement. “I think Russia doesn’t plan to pull out peacekeepers upon the completion of the 5-year term.
But of course everything will depend on the current situation. Azerbaijan will certainly try to somehow drive out Russian peacekeepers, but I don’t think they’ll succeed,” the Russian analyst said. Lt. General Rustam Muradov, who led the Russian peacekeeping forces in Nagorno Karabakh since the signing of the ceasefire and who was only recently replaced by Major General Mikhail Kosobokov, told TASS that a decision on extending the mission’s term will be made when the 5-year term is completed. Muradov mentioned that he assesses highly the peacekeeping activities, and noted that this assessment is given by the civilian population of Artsakh. In this context, Evseev said that almost a year since the end of the war Azerbaijan basically hasn’t yet mastered the territories it occupied. “I don’t see how Azerbaijan is [mastering] Karabakh. This isn’t visible. There is some military mastering, but the territories aren’t being populated.
Turns out the 7000 Azerbaijanis which Azerbaijan lost in the war died for nothing. Turns out they captured territories where no one lives. In this case, what was the point in taking so many casualties? What do Arabs for example do in Nagorno Karabakh? Why did they appear there? There are many questions. Therefore I think it’s too early to speak about what could happen in 4 years. But in any case I think Russia doesn’t plan to pull out its peacekeepers. This is my personal opinion,” Evseev said.


Russian peacemakers are the only guarantor of status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh

The Nagorno-Karabakh Army is unable to fulfil its functions, since it has lost a significant part of its military equipment, Tigran Grigoryan, a political analyst, has noted. It is beneficial for Armenia to attract UN or OSCE peacemakers to the region, but Russia is hindering this, Naira Airumyan, a political observer, believes. Russian peacemakers do not allow Azerbaijan to take control over the entire Karabakh, Russian experts have noted. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Russian peacemakers are ensuring the safety of residents of the Karabakh villages bordering on Azerbaijan. Thus, on June 10, at the request of residents of the village of Chartar in the Martuni District, they began guarding them during their agricultural work in the fields.

The presence of Russian troops in Karabakh must be permanent, since the region will not be able to ensure security on its own, said Arayik Arutyunyan, the president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, the "Sputnik Armenia" reports. A significant part of Karabakh has become a frontline zone, which is extremely difficult to defend in wartime, said Tigran Grigoryan, a Karabakh political analyst. In his opinion, the Armed Forces of Armenia are also in a state of crisis, while Azerbaijan continues arming itself and improving the results of its military victory. Russian peacemakers should not be the only defence of Karabakh people, said Naira Airumyan, the editor of the "". In her words, France could help in the issue of OSCE troops, but Armenia does not appeal to this country, because "Russia does not allow it."

Russia is not interested in expanding Azerbaijan's influence in the region and fears a conflict escalation, said Kamran Gasanov, an expert at the Russian Council for International Affairs.

Visitors to Karabakh to require Russian permission

The move comes as Azerbaijan is more assertively exercising its sovereignty in Karabakh, and Armenians are seeing Russia as a possible bulwark.

The territory’s de facto ministry of foreign affairs announced new entry regulations for foreigners on February 8, and one of the provisions was that Russian peacekeeping forces will examine applications “for security purposes” before they are approved. It’s not clear what prompted the new regulation, which the de facto authorities say had already been in effect before being announced. The day before, a gadfly source claimed that a group of French journalists and activists had been turned away at the de facto Armenia-Karabakh border, and that it was because the Armenian government had made a secret agreement with Azerbaijan allowing Baku to control who enters Karabakh.

Karabakh’s de facto foreign minister David Babayan denied the reports about Azerbaijani control, claiming that the new border regulations were necessary because of the presence of foreign fighters in Azerbaijan proper. “The fact that a large number of mercenary terrorists recruited to fight against Artsakh [an alternate Armenian name for Karabakh] still remain in Azerbaijan forces us to improve the procedure of registering those entering Artsakh,” he said in an interview with Armenian Public Radio, without elaborating on the (improbable) connection.

“We have established close cooperation with the Russian peacekeepers because they are among the key role-players in maintaining peace and stability,” he added.

A spokesperson for Karabakh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Eurasianet the policy did not apply to Armenian citizens, but it did to all other nationalities, including Russians. Anush Ghavalyan, a former adviser to the head of the territory’s parliament, said she thought the new rule was appropriate. “There is a new reality in Karabakh,” she told Eurasianet. “Given that our security now depends also on Russian peacekeepers, I think the regulation fully fits this reality.”

The question of who can and can’t enter Karabakh – which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but which has been controlled by Armenian forces since the first war between the two sides in the 1990s – has long been a deeply sensitive one for both sides. Azerbaijan has for years tried to force foreigners going to Karabakh to ask for Baku’s permission first, and maintains a “blacklist” of many who refuse, denying them entry to Azerbaijan proper on the grounds that they illegally entered Azerbaijan. (A spokesperson for Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to a query from Eurasianet.) The Armenian-controlled government in Karabakh, meanwhile, has jealously guarded its sovereignty and maintains its own informal blacklist of foreign would-be visitors it deems too solicitous of Baku’s demands


Moscow reminds Baku Lachin corridor controlled by Russian peacekeepers

Moscow has reminded Baku that the Lachin corridor connecting Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) to each other is controlled by Russian peacekeepers, after Azerbaijan criticized French presidential hopeful Valérie Pécresse's December trip to Karabakh. The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said on Thursday, January 20 that under Article 6 of a ceasefire statement signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, Azerbaijan was supposed to guarantee "traffic safety for civilians, vehicles and goods in both directions along the Lachin corridor." Zakharova noted that the command of the Russian peacekeeping contingent has determined the procedure for visiting Karabakh, including by foreign citizens, employees of international organizations, missions, areas of the peacekeeping operation. "This procedure is well known to both the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides. In particular, advance and proper notification of Russian peacekeepers about such trips is required," Zakharova said.
Pécresse visited Armenia in late December and made a trip to Karabakh, accompanied by former European Commissioner and French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier. According to Pécresse, she visited the region because she is concerned about the fate of Christians in the Middle East. The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry handed a note to the Chargé d'Affaires of France in Baku, describing the trip as illegal. Azeri President Ilham Aliyev claimed, meanwhile, that Pécresse entered Karabakh "in secret" and that the Azerbaijani authorities would not allow her to leave if they knew about the visit.
Iran hails ties with Eurasian Union

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the first specialized Eurasian exhibition in Tehran on Sunday, Jalali said, “The Eurasian Economic Union is an important and promising union for economic actors.” “The Preferential Trade Agreement between Iran and the Eurasian Union was reached as a result of long negotiations and efforts of the parties, and during the year and a half that has passed since this agreement, it has had a significant impact on increasing the volume of trade between Iran and Eurasian Union member states,” he added.

Emphasizing Iran's commitment to a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Union, he praised the approach of the union secretariat and member states to this issue and added, “In the approach of Russia and Mr. Putin himself, we see a positive assessment for the expansion of relations with Iran in the form of the Eurasian Economic Union and Iran's membership in this union.” He also referred to Iran's efforts in the field of logistics and added that Iran can facilitate Eurasian trade through regional corridors.
Jalali pointed to two rail and sea routes and noted, “In the railway area, two very important border points of the Rasht-Astara and Chabahar-Zahedan railways are being completed. In the case of the Rasht-Astara railway due to lack of financing by the Republic of Azerbaijan problems have been created, but the Chabahar-Zahedan railway is being completed with internal resources.” The Iranian ambassador to Russia assessed the various railway routes to the Republic of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkmenistan as important North-South, East-West and middle corridors and expressed hope for the revival of these rail routes, according to ISNA. He also stressed the role of the Caspian Sea route in developing direct trade, especially with Russia and Kazakhstan.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he referred to the existing problems in developing trade between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union, expressing hope that Iranian traders will become professional and reach the level of Eurasian countries. It is through such professionalism and strengthening Iran's customs that trade between the two sides will improve, he suggested. He also called for correcting existing problems and making the agreements more effective to achieve the goal.

Emphasizing the effective role of private sector traders and chambers of commerce and the relationship between traders, Jalali said that the lack of familiarity of traders with the laws of other countries is one of the main problems in trade between the two parties. And the solution is online education and creating a database of businessmen of countries. In the end, Jalali emphasized perseverance and efforts to develop relations. The opening ceremony of the first specialized Eurasian exhibition was held in the presence of Iran’s ambassador to the Russian Federation. Officials and diplomats from other countries, including Russia, were also present. During the ceremony, Jalali visited the exhibition and met with a number of businessmen and traders participating in the exhibition. The exhibition, which runs until July 13, will feature Eurasian Union companies, including 30 companies from Russia, 30 companies from Kyrgyzstan, more than 10 companies from Armenia, more than 10 companies from Kazakhstan and companies from Belarus, along with Iranian companies.
 With “3 + 3,” Russia wants to take control over Caucasus, tear Turkey away from NATO and take it to EEU – German pundit 

Russia is seriously attempting to take control over the Caucasus with the new proposed “3 + 3” platform, German political analyst Alexander Rar said in an interview with “Its goal is to reconcile the three Caucasian countries, which are in serious conflict with each other. The closed borders between these countries hinder trade and commerce, including the development of Russia-Turkey-Iran relations,” he said. The foreign ministers of Russia and Iran have said they were discussing the “3 + 3” platform which would include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia. Rar says, Russia is getting further from the European Union and looking towards Asia. “It needs new roads to Armenia and from there to Iran. And what prevents it from doing so? Georgia, which is in conflict with Russia and because of it in unfriendly relations with Russia’s ally Armenia. Turkey wants to establish stronger ties with Azerbaijan and Central Asia. What prevents it from doing so? Closed borders between Turkey, Armenia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Rar says Russia also wants to tear Turkey away from NATO and take it to the Eurasian Economic Union. That is why Russia will help Armenia to “open up” to its eastern and western neighbors. Iran also needs communications through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkey. “Then Iran will play alongside Russia and Turkey in their attempts to reconcile the three Caucasian powers,” he says.

Paul Goble: Nakhichevan Corridor will Help Russia, Hurt the US, and Keep Azerbaijan from Becoming ‘a Vassal of Turkey,’ RUSSTRAT Says

Most Russian analysts since the 1990s have argued that the reopening of the transportation corridor between Azerbaijan proper and Azerbaijan’s autonomous republic of Nakhichevan risks transforming Baku into a vassal of Turkey. But a new Moscow commentary argues exactly the opposite. Moscow’s RUSSTRAT Institute says that the corridor will benefit all the countries involved, allowing Armenia to be supplied by land from Russia, Russia to trade with Iran and the Middle East, and Turkey to project power through Azerbaijan to Central Asia (

But it suggests that the planned opening of transportation and communication via the corridor will end any risk that Azerbaijan will be transformed into “a vassal of Turkey” and lose its ability to act independently. Baku “will become only a junior partner but will remain an important regional player in the Trans-Caucasus” because of its ties to other countries there. In particular, RUSSTRAT says, with the reopening of this corridor and Armenia’s dependence on it, “Azerbaijan will gain influence on political processes in Armenia and the position of its elites, above all on questions of war and peace in Qarabagh and its surrounding areas.”

And that means, it continues, that as important as the link is Baku because of the opening of a direct land route to Turkey, something that the Azerbaijani government and people view as “a major geopolitical prize,” its implications are such that Moscow does not have compelling reasons to drag its feet on this route. That has been a serious potential problem because the November 10 declaration that some call an agreement does not specify any timetables for the reopening of routes. Azerbaijan is fully capable of paying for the reopening of the Nakhichivan corridor but Armenia can’t build any of the ones the declaration mentions without outside help.

More generally, RUSSTRAT argues, “it is obvious that ‘the Nakhichevan transportation corridor’ will become powerful stabilizing factor in a region by raising the importance of weak players (Armenia and Azerbaijn) and creating a zone of compromise for the geopolitical goals of Russia, Turkey and Iran.” The reopening of the corridor also works to Russia’s advantage because it seriously undermines the interests of the US and Georgia. Indeed, the only downside from Russia’s perspective, RUSSTRAT says, is that it could lead to the development of a new transportation corridor south of Russia from Afghanistan to the West.

Moscow can counter that via an accord with China, but everything considered, Moscow has good reason to promote the reopening of the Nakhichivan transportation corridor now, however much Yerevan fears it will leave Armenia surrounded by Turks because it helps Russia and hurts the West. If the Kremlin accepts this argument, that would mean that Baku does not face the obstacles to the reopening of the transportation corridor there that many Azerbaijanis had feared existed.

 "3% of Azerbaijan is occupied by Russia" - commentary from Baku

Azerbaijan’s official position on the issue of the presence of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh is not yet clear, however, the overwhelming majority of political scientists and experts consider it an illegal act on the Russian side. Opposition Republican Alternative party leader Natiq Jafarli wrote on his Facebook page last night the op-ed below: “As per the trilateral agreement of November 10, 2020, signed by the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, Russian peacekeeping forces will be stationed on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh that is not controlled by the Azerbaijani armed forces.

This act has not yet been turned into a legislation. The Parliament of Azerbaijan has not yet ratified the entry of foreign peacekeeping forces into the country. Moreover, the issue has not even been raised at the Milli Majlis (National Assembly of Azerbaijan) yet.

Last night, deputy foreign minister of Russia Sergei Ryabkov spoke to a Russian TV channel, saying he does not understand why neighboring countries and the entire world call Russia an “aggressor”, and why everyone so wary of the Kremlin. He added that such an opinion is both groundless and biased. I will not discuss the affairs of the distant past in great detail. It will be enough to have a quick look at what Russia has been doing since the USSR collapsed 30 years ago to realize that the Kremlin is, indeed, an aggressor.

1. All ethnic and separatist movements in the post-Soviet space have been caused by Russian interventions

2. It is Moscow that supported and recognized the “independence” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. To this day, the ruble is the main currency there, residents of South Ossetia and Abkhazia travel abroad with Russian passports, and the budgets of both republics consists of money allocated by Moscow

3. Russia has occupied and annexed the territory of Crimea, and illegal formations were created in Donbass and Luhansk

4. Pridnestrovie, located on the territory of Moldova is a puppet “republic” created by Russia. To this day, it is managed by the Kremlin which also provides it with financial assistance and weapons

5. The Kremlin’s ‘clowns’ call for the seizure of neighboring countries on central TV channels in Russia every day

6. The entire layout of domestic affairs of the Central Asian countries is designed by Moscow

7. During the past 15 years, the Kremlin has been trying to influence policies of the countries in the Baltic and Europe, by means of so-called ‘soft power’

8. Russia is the main moderator of Armenia’s domestic and foreign affairs

9. The Kremlin is building up its military superiority in neighboring states. For example, in Belarus, Russian military bases are located near the border with Poland, however, Russia is outraged whenever NATO acts in the same way

10. Finally, Russia has occupied 3% of the territory of Azerbaijan under the guise of a “peacekeeping” mission.

Russia is a large country, its territory and resources would be sufficiently large to support 2 billion people in comfort. It is the absurd government system and sick ambitions thereof, that is holding Russia back today. Faced with a serious ideological crisis, Russia is trying to prove to the whole world that there are is no such thing as universal humanitarian values – only the “Russian world” and its own unique ways. The Kremlin still does not understand that a new generation of Russians cannot be ruled by the “Suslov’s agitation”, “Stalin’s fear machine”, or “Brezhnev’s insanity.” In fact, Russia has every potential to become a center of balance in the world, a force defending global justice.

Azerbaijan Increasingly Critical of Russia’s Peacekeeping Mission in Karabakh

Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh

Azerbaijan discusses additional legal mechanisms in connection with the mandate of the Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh. Armenia is closely following these discussions while officials and experts in the two countries have very different views on this issue. Exactly 300 days have passed since the signing of the trilateral ceasefire agreement by the presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan, as well as the Prime Minister of Armenia. Immediately after the signing of this document, Russian peacekeepers were deployed to the part of Karabakh that remained under the control of Armenia. Azerbaijani political scientists and experts have repeatedly stated over the past months that there is no legal basis for the presence of Russian military personnel in the internationally recognized territories of the country. It is indicated that the issue has not been ratified by the Azerbaijani parliament or addressed by the Azerbaijani legislative authorities. 

What did Hikmet Hajiyev say?

The day before, the Azerbaijani authorities first spoke about this. In an interview with the BBC, Assistant to the President of the country Hikmet Hajiyev noted that at present “certain discussions are continuing on additional legal mechanisms in connection with the mandate of the Russian peacekeepers”. According to Hajiyev, the trilateral statement of November 10, 2020 established a “political and, to a certain extent, legal framework” for the deployment of Russian peacekeepers to the territory of Azerbaijan. “The whole of Karabakh is the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan, the international community recognizes the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan and, according to a statement dated November 10, 2020, peacekeeping forces are temporarily deployed in a certain part of the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan”, Hajiyev said. “The main issue we are facing is working on the restoration, reconstruction of the territories liberated from the occupation. Over the past 30-40 years, no country in the world has faced such an issue on such a large scale”, the assistant to the President of Azerbaijan added.
Commentary from Baku

According to the Azerbaijani political observer Agshin Kerimov, with the statement of Hikmet Hajiyev, Azerbaijan in a diplomatic form expressed its dissatisfaction with the actions of the Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh. “At times, peacekeepers go beyond the functions and mandates that they were given by the November 10, 2020 statement. They seem to create additional service obligations for themselves and fulfill them, or try to fulfill them. Baku is worried about these actions and has so far expressed its discontent in various forms.

Hikmet Hajiyev’s statement coincided with the protest of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry in connection with the placement of a tender announcement on the state portal of the Russian Federation regarding the provision of the necessary services to the Russian peacekeepers stationed in Karabakh. In that announcement, their place of deployment was indicated as “the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh”. Apparently, this overflowed the patience of the Azerbaijani authorities and therefore they started talking about the legal aspects of the deployment of peacekeepers in order to show them their place” Kerimov said. According to the observer, it is no coincidence that Hajiyev in his interview pointed out the temporary nature of the stay of Russian military personnel in Karabakh. 

“Additional legal obligations of the peacekeepers, which official Baku spoke about, include specifying the types of actions of military personnel in Karabakh, as well as excluding the possibility of the peacekeeping contingent stimulating the actions of illegal Armenian armed formations on the territory of Azerbaijan. Thus, Azerbaijan will bring the responsibilities of the Russian peacekeepers into the international legal framework. And this will speed up the solution of other issues that still remain open”, the expert concluded.
Commentary from Yerevan

According to political observer Hakob Badalyan, the President of Azerbaijan is most worried about the fact that the Russians can legitimize their military presence in NK by an agreement with the United States and France: act that Azerbaijan does not sign the mandate of the Russian peacekeepers has a legal, legal weight, but the efficiency of this legal weight depends on the actual political weight. And this decision could carry de facto political weight if the US and France reject the legitimacy of the Russian presence. But there are processes and signs that the trend is now the opposite. This is what worries Baku.


Azerbaijan-Russia relations sour over Karabakh disagreements

Baku has been increasingly airing public criticisms of Moscow over the post-war order, which have been exacerbated by the lack of a formal mandate for the Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh.

Azerbaijan’s relations with Russia, the broker of the ceasefire agreement ending last year’s war with Armenia, have hit another rocky patch. Azerbaijan’s relations with Russia have been in flux since the latter diplomatically intervened to end last year’s fighting. The ceasefire that Russian President Vladimir Putin helped negotiate cemented Azerbaijan’s victory, but it also allowed for the presence of 2,000 Russian peacekeeping troops on what is internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory and allowed the Armenian-backed de facto Nagorno-Karabakh government to continue to control part of its territory.

While Azerbaijan saw those developments as in opposition to its strategic goals, President Ilham Aliyev has nevertheless portrayed the agreement as marking “the end of the conflict” and the “restoration of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.” Putin, meanwhile, has said that the status of Karabakh in fact remains undetermined. This disagreement over the fundamentals of the conflict has spilled over into several minor controversies over the past month. Most recently, Azerbaijani media unearthed an announcement for a Russian government tender for servicing the peacekeeping contingent that used the term “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.” That name is anathema to Baku, which considers the self-proclaimed government to be an illegitimate occupant of its territory.

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry formally complained to its Russian counterparts. Ministry spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva said that the Russian side explained that the phrasing was a “technical mistake” and would be fixed soon. As of the time this piece was posted it remained online. That episode followed a complaint on August 11 by Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense about repeated ceasefire violations in Karabakh. The MoD statement said that Armenian military posts had been newly set up in Karabakh, in the areas of Mukhtarkand and Shushakand (which Armenians call Mkhitarashen and Shosh, respectively).

Though Azerbaijan has long objected to the presence of Armenian troops in Karabakh since the end of the war  the ceasefire statement called on Armenian forces to withdraw from the territory  this was the first time Baku implicated the Russian peacekeepers. “In accordance with the provisions of the tripartite statement, the Russian peacekeeping forces must put an end to the deployment of Armenian armed forces in the territories of Azerbaijan where they are temporarily stationed,” the statement read.

Two days later, the Russian peacekeeping forces reported that the Azerbaijani side had violated the ceasefire, firing at the direction of what they called “Nagorno-Karabakh armed units”  contrary to Azerbaijan’s description of them as having been deployed from Armenia. This statement also was unprecedented; it was the first time the Russians have blamed a specific side for a ceasefire violation. That all, in turn, followed another diplomatic dispute between the two sides. Nationalist Russian member of parliament Vladimir Zhironovskiy gave an interview to a Russian radio station on July 30 in which he commented controversially on events in Azerbaijan.

“Ilham, you will have the territory you want, but no one has a right to look at Russian soldiers askance! You understand me?” Zhirinovskiy told the interviewer. “And he understands perfectly well that he will lose his post, there is a dictatorship there, it’s full of opposition forces there. If Biden wants to, he will be overthrown within two weeks. And only we can save him, as we saved Pashinyan.” Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry reported that it summoned the Russian charge d’affaires and expressed “concern and protest in connection with the insulting and biased statements against the Azerbaijani statehood and the country's leadership”, which it believed would damage the spirit of strategic partnership between the two states.”

Zhirinosvky’s comments also sparked even stronger objections on Azerbaijani social media, with many saying the government’s response was too weak. Isfandiyar Vahabzade, a professor of philology and former ambassador, released a half-hour tirade on YouTube criticizing the Azerbaijani and Russian governments and broadly insulting the entire Russian nation. In response, the Russian government barred Vahabzade from entering Russia for the next 50 years. Azerbaijanis also have objected to recent exercises that the peacekeepers have held in Karabakh. One was training Russian soldiers to defend themselves against drones – one of the keys to Azerbaijan’s military success in last year’s war  and the second, more controversial, was a course billed as “basic training” for young Armenian residents of Karabakh.

Though analysts in Azerbaijan hesitate to call the frequent disagreements a crisis, they say the continuing spats could escalate ahead of the critical date of 2025, when the term of the Russian peacekeeping force is set to expire and Baku will be able to veto its extension. The controversies are exacerbated by the lack of a formal mandate for the peacekeeping mission, in contrast to Russia’s other peacekeeping missions around the post-Soviet space. Russia has been repeatedly pushing for Baku and Yerevan to sign a formal agreement, but it has been held up by demands by Azerbaijan that are unacceptable to the other parties, the International Crisis Group wrote in a June report. One of the key sticking points is that Azerbaijan is demanding formal control of the Lachin corridor, a road that connects Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as an acknowledgement of its sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh itself.

“It seems that Russia does not want to accept Azerbaijan’s condition, thus leaving the mandate question open for now,” analyst Shahin Jafarli told Eurasianet. There may be movement on the mandate issue, however: On September 5, Hikmat Hajiyev, Aliyev’s senior foreign affairs advisor, told BBC Azerbaijani that discussions are ongoing on “additional legal mechanisms” concerning the mandate of peacekeepers. One Baku-based analyst, who asked not to be identified, told Eurasianet that Zhirinosvky’s comments about Russian soldiers were sanctioned by the Kremlin as a response to Baku’s demands on the mandate. “The Russian position is that it has an ongoing mission in Karabakh, and it is not going to tolerate any questions challenging this mission,” the analyst said.

Ahmed Alili, an analyst at the Caucasus Policy Analysis Center, also saw the mention of the peacekeepers as the most important part of the Russian MP’s comments. “He says you can take as much territory as you want, but do not dare touch Russian soldiers,” Alili told Eurasianet, adding: “this implies Russia is fine with potential Azerbaijani military advances in Karabakh as long as its [Russia’s] army remains” in Karabakh. These controversies between Azerbaijan and Russia are temporary but they will likely intensify as the 2025 deadline approaches, Alili said.


Why Russian peacekeepers are a threat to peace in the South Caucasus

The presence of Russian peacekeepers in the Armenian inhabited part of the Karabakh region and along the Lachin corridor connecting Karabakh Armenians with Armenia remains a contentious issue. Officially tasked with normalising the situation on the frontier after last year’s war, this group has been accused of not supporting the finalising of peace accords between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The recent clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan were predictable as a large proportion of Yerevan’s political and security elites are unwilling to accept defeat in last year’s Second Karabakh War. Of course, this refusal is also clear regarding the loss of territory in and around Karabakh, which Armenia had controlled for nearly three decades. In the country’s June elections, the Armenian National Congress Party led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, the only well-known political figure that has campaigned to normalise relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan, received a mere 1.54 per cent of the vote and failed to enter parliament. Armenia’s new parliament includes two political forces that openly demand that the country retake the lost territory. These are former President Robert Kocharian’s “Armenia Alliance” and the “I Have Honor Alliance” led by Arthur Vanetsian. Together these two parties received 26 per cent of the vote. Desires to retake Karabakh are undoubtedly higher within the senior officer corps of the Armenian siloviki (security forces).

Armenia continues to drag its heels over the signing of a peace treaty with Azerbaijan for two main reasons.

The first is an inability to accept that Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan and that Baku will ultimately decide the fate of the region. The Armenian diaspora, dominated by the nationalistic Dashnak party, has a great deal of influence over the country’s worldview and attitude towards its neighbours. The Dashnaks openly support territorial claims to eastern Turkey and western Azerbaijan as part of wider desires to create a “United (i.e., Greater) Armenia”. The Armenian diaspora rules out any compromise over Karabakh’s sovereignty.

The second issue is the presence of Russian peacekeepers in the area. This should not be surprising to those who have studied the former USSR since 1991, as Russian peacekeepers have never helped resolve any conflict. This is because the Kremlin has allocated them different goals other than peacekeeping. For example, in August 2008 in Georgia Russian peacekeepers were joined by a larger invading army that led to the Kremlin’s recognition of the supposed ‘independence’ of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In other words, Russian peacekeepers have always promoted separatism wherever they have been stationed.

A long-term strategy

In the mid-1990s, when former SVR (Russia’s foreign intelligence service) Chairman Yevgenny Primakov became foreign minister, Russian security policy shifted from viewing the country as part of a common European home to a more Eurasian outlook. Since then, Russia has demanded an exclusive sphere of influence in Eurasia and has used a variety of instruments, including so-called peacekeepers, to establish forward bases in many former Soviet republics.

Russian peacekeepers have directly strengthened Russia’s sphere of influence in Eurasia, as they have dragged out numerous conflicts. In Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova they have even sided with separatists, who have been equipped, trained and transformed into proxy forces to fight central governments. If Russian peacekeepers sought to ultimately resolve these conflicts then their rationale would eventually dissipate and their mandate would be terminated. As the Kremlin views its peacekeepers as outposts of Russian influence, it has no intention of withdrawal. This would naturally undercut its long-term policy of carving out a Eurasian sphere of influence.

Russia has no intention, therefore, to use its five year mandate as a peacekeeping force to finalise a treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan. One year into the mandate, there is no evidence that Moscow’s peacekeepers are encouraging Armenia to sign a peace treaty with Azerbaijan. Recent clashes between the two countries are driven by Yerevan’s political and security elites, who are unwilling to complete negotiations regarding the country’s border with Azerbaijan. Such an agreement would be the cornerstone of a post-conflict peace treaty between both countries. An Azerbaijani diplomatic source has claimed that various groups and individuals against a peace treaty in Armenia are “trying to provoke Russia to be directly involved in the conflict, which will mean the end of the Russian role of a mediator in establishing peace.” The leader of the Prosperous Armenia Party, Edmon Marukyan, who opposes the November 2020 ceasefire agreement, called upon Russia to intervene under the mandate of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation). Armenia also points to a 1997 security treaty with Russia that it believes can be activated in the event of a threat to Armenia’s territorial integrity.

Ever since the start of last year’s war Armenia has been pushing for Russia to side with it under the CSTO mandate. Russia’s official position during the war was that the CSTO would only intervene if Azerbaijan attacked Armenia proper and not if Baku undertook military operations on what is internationally recognised as its sovereign territory (including Karabakh). The Kremlin also favours balancing between Armenia and Azerbaijan rather than potentially losing leverage over one side. The Kremlin does not seek to punish Azerbaijan, as it has with Georgia and Ukraine, because Baku does not wish to join NATO or the EU.

The Kremlin’s continued ability to balance both sides will decline as the five-year mandate for its peacekeepers draws to a close. During the 2020 war, many feared that Russia would intervene in support of Armenia just as it did in the early 1990s. The trigger for Russian intervention could have been if Azerbaijan had captured the portion of Karabakh inhabited by a small Armenian minority.

The effects of a new Ankara-Baku alliance

Azerbaijan no longer has to be too concerned with potential Russian intervention. A Turkish-Azerbaijani strategic partnership is now a reality following the Shusha Declaration, which recently resulted in real action as Turkey threw its support behind Azerbaijan in response to Iranian threats. Azerbaijan could therefore refuse to renew Russia’s peacekeeping mandate in 2025 with support from Ankara.

Two factors could tip the balance in the region. The first is this growing Turkish-Azerbaijani strategic partnership that first appeared during the 2020 war. Russia has never accepted other powers and international organisations, such as NATO, the EU, or even the UN, acting in what it views as its exclusive Eurasian sphere of influence. Russia has always opposed potential UN peacekeeping in the former USSR, a region in which it has demanded an exclusive right to act as a peacekeeper. At some point in the future Russia may no longer accept Turkey’s right to act in what the Kremlin considers to be its South Caucasian backyard. The second involves the Kremlin’s potential actions in 2025 if Azerbaijan does not renew its peacekeeping mandate. In Azerbaijan, there is a growing view that Russian peacekeepers are allowing Armenia to drag its heels and postpone the signing of a peace treaty.

Azerbaijan’s strategic partnership with Turkey will also stiffen Baku’s resolve against a possible extension of the peacekeeping mandate. An Azerbaijani diplomatic source has said that Baku would prefer to respond with force to provocations, as there is “a firm opinion that Yerevan is not just delaying the process of border delimitation, but actually undermining the trilateral (Azerbaijan-Russia-Armenia) format of the conflict settlement, which formalised the results of last year’s war.”

But this is where ongoing competition becomes both interesting and dangerous for regional security. Iran, even more so than Russia, is itching to teach Azerbaijan a lesson. Theocratic Shia Iran and Christian Armenia have been unusual, albeit long-term, military and geopolitical allies since the early 1990s. Tehran has also long viewed Azerbaijan and its territory as an integral part of its historic national identity in much the same way as Putin’s Russia views Ukraine.

In a joint telephone call, the presidents of Russia and Iran warned against changes to existing borders. This move will be a surprise to Baku; after all, both Russia and Iran never questioned Armenia’s occupation of 20 per cent of Azerbaijani territory for nearly three decades and neither country has pressured Yerevan to sign a peace treaty recognising the boundaries of former Soviet republics as international borders. Iran, not surprisingly, praised Russia for bringing “peace and stability” to the South Caucasus in contrast to historical facts that show the opposite to be true.

Fundamental misunderstanding

Russia has long sought to establish a military base in Azerbaijan. Baku has always opposed such a move because it still remains bitter over the Kremlin’s support for Armenia in the First Karabakh War in 1988-94. Aside from its two military bases in Armenia, a Russian peacekeeping base in the South Caucasus is the best the Kremlin could achieve and not something they would therefore easily give up. Moscow has always sought to assert influence over the former Soviet republics but has not been successful in the case of Azerbaijan. A third Russian strategic goal has been to maintain Armenia as a proxy state. This has helped Moscow create a strategic partnership with Iran.

Azerbaijan’s goals are different to those of Russia. Azerbaijan seeks to normalise relations with Armenia, re-open borders and revive economies, trade and transportation. Azerbaijan is the main supporter of a post-conflict peace treaty that would recognise former Soviet internal republican boundaries as international borders. Azerbaijan views the Russian peacekeeping force through the lens of whether it does – or does not – promote the implementation of the 2020 ceasefire agreement and a peace treaty. Baku’s final strategic goal involves the development and consolidation of the country’s strategic partnership with Turkey. This relationship would be based on the Shusha Declaration, military exercises, training, and the joint production of military equipment. Azerbaijan also hopes to establish balanced relations with the US, NATO, and EU. The country probably hopes to have more balanced links regarding the OSCE’s Minsk Group, which was created to negotiate a closing resolution to the Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijan was disappointed with France’s role in the Minsk Group as it often sided with Armenia while the US had not taken an active role under Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

The presence of Russian peacekeepers in the area only encourages Armenia to drag its heels over the signing a post-conflict peace treaty. If this continues, there will continue to be periodic military clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan. With Turkey covering its back, Baku will increasingly embrace the belief that the mandate of Russian peacekeepers should not be renewed in 2025. Fundamentally, the crux of the problem lies in the fundamental disagreement between Turkish and Azerbaijani interests and those of Russia and Iran in the South Caucasus.

Paul Goble:  Moscow Opens Russian Orthodox Church In "Qarabagh"... "to Make Russian presence more permanent"

Orthodox Church

Moscow has taken another step to make the Russian presence in Qarabagh more permanent: it has opened the first Russian Orthodox Church there since the Soviets destroyed all such shrines more than half a century ago ( Nominally, the church, which is located on the base of the Russian peacekeeping contingent there, provides religious services to those troops. But it is already clear that those behind it want to help maintain the ethnic Russian community there and Moscow’s hold on the disputed territory.

Aleksandr Bodrov, president of the Russian Community of Stepanakert, says that “Russian churches in Qarabagh to my great regret have not been preserved. All were destroyed by the Bolsheviks in Soviet times, and because of that, the newly erected Russian Orthodox Church in honor of the Birth of Christ acquires sacral and historic importance.”

But there is another reason why the appearance of this new facility is likely to anger many in Azerbaijan and please many in Armenia. Last month, Patriarch Kirill established a Yerevan-Armenian bishopric of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate ( There was no indication at the dedication of the new church in Stepanakert that it will be subordinate to this bishopric, but it is certain that many in Yerevan will expect that and many in Baku will be alarmed about what both will see as a tilt by Moscow in Armenia’s direction and an indication that Russia intends to remain in Qarabagh not for five years but forever.

What awaits the Armenia-Azerbaijan relations in 2022?

Notwithstanding occasional flare-ups and infrequent deadly clashes, the past year marked a remarkably peaceful and promising period in the post-Soviet history of the Armenia-Azerbaijan relations. Meeting three times via the mediation of third parties, the leaders of the two countries discussed the ways for normalization of their relations and gave important peace messages. The regional situation has passed a long path from the notorious August-2019 speech of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Karabakh where he, in a populist manner, shouted “Karabakh is Armenia, period”.

The Sochi summit of the leaders on November 26 formalized the peace efforts of the sides over the last year where Armenia and Azerbaijan basically recognized their international borders and launched the negotiations on their delimitation and demarcation. In late 2021, Prime Minister Pashinyan’s reference to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions of 1993 as the inevitable legal basis for the talks about the status of the Karabakh region confirmed that the relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan have entered a qualitatively new stage. It is important to recall that the four resolutions adopted by the UNSC amidst the first Karabakh war, the international community recognized Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity with Nagorno-Karabakh being part of it. Referring to the content of peace negotiations between Baku and Yerevan during the rule of his predecessors, Pashinyan said that Karabakh’s status can only be determined within the constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

This, along with the positive accomplishments in the talks over the unblocking of regional transportation and communication channels in line with the trilateral [Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia] ceasefire accord of November 10, 2020, has created an important ground to believe that 2022 promises more peace and security to the South Caucasus. On this account, the following predictions for the Armenia-Azerbaijan relations can be suggested for the upcoming year.

First and foremost, the format of negotiations is expected to remain as it has been since the latest war: i.e., the major decisions are likely going to be made within the trilateral format of the Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia leaders. Since the end of the 44 Day War, Moscow appears to be both supporter and guarantor of the agreements over the most conflictual issues between Baku and Yerevan and does not seem interested in losing its critical role in this process in the foreseeable future.

Along with that, there might be contacts and meetings between the leaders of the two countries mediated by other actors, for instance, the European Union. The Brussels summit of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Pashinyan on December 14 demonstrated the EU’s capability to bring the two parties to the negotiating table and encourage them towards negotiated solutions to the existing disputes on their agenda. However, although the European Council President Charles Michel succeeded to facilitate a direct meeting of Aliyev and Pashinyan without the mediation of third parties, the regular direct contacts and meetings between them will take some more time to become possible.

Secondly, Baku and Yerevan are expected to announce the establishment of working groups for the delimitation of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border next year. According to the results of the Sochi summit, an international commission of the two countries is expected to be founded with the participation of Russia. The progress towards this end would further stabilize the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia and as such prevent the reoccurrence of violent escalations of 2021. The fact that this process is fully supported by all three countries is significantly important and promising for regional peace and security.

Third, Baku and Yerevan are likely to remain on a good track also in the negotiations over unblocking of transportation and communications in the region. The results of the past year provide a favorable basis for this process. It is worth recalling that the leaders of the two countries agreed on the opening of a railway between the western regions of Azerbaijan and its Nakhchivan exclave through the southern Armenian territories at the Sochi summit, after a long period of tug-of war. They have already prepared a timeline and estimated the costs for the reconstruction of this railway. The sides have, nevertheless, yet to reach an agreement about the technical details of a highway along that path which Azerbaijan calls “Zangazur corridor” with a reference to the historical name of the southern Armenian region. We can expect a breakthrough in this direction for next year. In parallel, Armenia is going to get railway access to Iran and Russia via the Azerbaijani territories which will create some degree of interdependency between Armenia and Azerbaijan providing more incentives for peacebuilding in the region.

Fourth, the 3+3 regional cooperation initiative, standing for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia plus Russia, Iran, Turkey and proposed after the 44 Day War, is expected to become an active platform for the discussions and solutions of regional problems in 2022. A summit of the participating countries is possible if all the parties remain interested in this format. Although Georgia is not likely to decide joining this platform next year due to the country’s strained relations with Russia, Tbilisi will have to find a way for engagement with this group if it becomes a real geopolitical force in the region. The 3+3 regional grouping has such a potential as the participating countries are either already in friendly relations with each other or willing to build such relations soon. The rapprochement between Baku and Tehran after the recent tensions in their relations and the progress in the normalization of the Turkey-Armenia relations will make a good contribution to the 3+3 initiative, as well. Hence, this initiative could even serve as a useful platform for the normalization of the Russia-Georgia relations helping the sides resolve their conflicts peacefully.

What is more, the developments of the past year and the prospects for the upcoming year reaffirm that the liberation of the occupied territories of Azerbaijan in the 44 Day War of 2020 has created a unique chance for peace not only in the South Caucasus but also amongst the countries neighboring the region. We hope that it will finally be possible for the region to restore peaceful co-existence after the long years of conflicts and violence. This historic chance for peace should not be taken for granted and needs to be protected against the destructive forces that threaten to undermine the post-war peace process.

Attempt to normalize Armenian-Turkish relations. The game between Moscow and Washington

To what extent is the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey connected with the policy of Moscow and Washington? After the 3 + 3 or 3 + 2 meeting, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in his speech at the parliament that a representative will be appointed to normalize relations with Armenia, and Istanbul-Yerevan charter flights will be resumed.

Referring to high-ranking Turkish officials, Bloomberg agency writes that this unexpected step of Turkey is connected with US President J. Biden's request. During a meeting with Erdogan in Rome in October this year, he allegedly asked Erdogan to open the border with Armenia and secure his access to the sea, referring to the Mediterranean Sea. According to Bloomberg, Turkey hopes that by improving relations with Armenia it will be able to ease tensions in Turkish-American relations. It is said that in this case Erdogan will have significant achievements in the field of foreign policy, which will help stabilize the economy, as the recent devaluation of the Turkish lira has led to a decline in the rating of Erdogan and his political force.

It should be noted that in order to normalize relations with Washington, Turkey must first withdraw from the C-400 deal and hand over the purchased C-400 systems to Washington. However, Ankara cannot normalize relations with Armenia and expect Washington not to demand C-400s. Another important issue concerns the devaluation of the lira, and the resulting economic crisis. It is no secret that the devaluation of the lira is conditioned by the US policy, therefore Erdogan cannot fight the crisis by normalizing relations with Armenia. In other words, the normalization of relations with Armenia will not give Erdogan any economic benefits that will increase his chances in the 2023 elections. Moreover, the US is unlikely to make concessions in its policy in exchange for this.

Now let's talk about Russia, why its role is important for the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations. First, the South Caucasus is an area of ​​influence for Russia's vital interests, but in recent decades it has gradually lost some leverage. Georgia pursues an openly pro-Western policy, trying to join the EU and NATO, but it should be noted that Russia, represented by Abkhazia and South Ossetia, maintains its military positions in that country. Azerbaijan gradually turned to Turkey and after the Second Artsakh War, we can say that it is absorbed by it, moreover, here Russia is forced to share some levers of influence with Turkey. Armenia continues to be Russia's main strategic ally in the South Caucasus, therefore, taking into account certain circumstances, Armenia's foreign policy actions are harmonized with Russia, which also concerns Armenian-Turkish relations.

In connection with the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations, Yerevan asked Moscow to act as a mediator, in connection with which, we believe, Russia is taking steps. In addition, the announcement by Turkey on the normalization of relations with Armenia was made immediately after the first meeting in the 3 + 3 format, which took place in Moscow. In this case, we can draw two conclusions: Armenia has agreed to participate in this measure after receiving certain guarantees from Russia, which are primarily related to security, and second, Russia is interested in unblocking the region, which is enshrined in a number of documents after the Second Artsakh War. The blockade primarily concerns Armenia and Azerbaijan, but it will not be complete if there is no blockade with Turkey. The operation of communications systems is certainly beneficial for Russia, especially in the context of the sanctions imposed on it.

Are Moscow or Washington more interested in normalizing Armenia-Turkey relations?

No matter how much Washington makes efforts to normalize Armenian-Turkish relations, this issue, as well as the South Caucasus region, is of secondary importance to it. In fact, this issue can be used by the US administration to put pressure on Turkey, but it will remain an additional or secondary issue.

For Moscow, the normalization of Armenia-Turkey relations (non-normalization is not ruled out as well) is important, as the region is vital for it, and Armenia is its strategic ally (Russia also controls the protection of Armenia's border with Turkey). In this case, we think, the harmonization of the interests of Armenia and Russia will be considered a priority, as Turkey remains a strategic opponent for Russia. Another important issue is the vision of the "Turkish world", when Turkey is actively working in that direction. Russia will try to take control of the ongoing processes in this regard, and Armenia will play a key role in this issue.

The beginning of the Armenian-Turkish dialogue will be a difficult and long process. Of course, both Washington and Moscow will intervene in this process, but in our opinion, the latter has more interests and opportunities both in terms of positive and negative role. On the other hand, previous attempts to normalize Armenian-Turkish relations have reached a deadlock, so it is necessary to wait for developments…


Thaw in Turkish-Armenian Relations: A Hopeful Beginning?

The fact that Prime Minister Pashinyan achieved a major electoral victory afterwards and the ensuing policy shift suggests that the Armenian electorate may be more interested in peace and prosperity than in pursuing irredentist foreign policy adventures, writes Ilter Turan, Emeritus Professor of International Relations at Istanbul Bilgi University.

Azerbaijan’s recovery of its territories, which Armenia occupied in 1993, appears to have opened the way for an improvement in Turkish-Armenian relations. Immediately following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Turkey recognised Armenia. It was expected that relations would gradually advance toward the opening of borders and establishment of diplomatic relations. These hopes were dashed with the commencement of active hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which led to Yerevan seizing several Azeri regions between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Since then, Turkey has maintained steadfast support for Azerbaijan’s efforts to regain its territory.

The US, EU and Russia have all worked to introduce a modus vivendi between Turkey and Armenia to improve their relations, culminating in 2009 in the Zürich Protocols in which the parties agreed to initiate diplomatic relations and manage their differences within an agreed-upon framework. In the end, this effort failed, not only because of a strong Azeri reaction that Turkey could not ignore, but also because both sides had been pressured into an accommodation that they were not ready to accept or implement by powerful friends.

The recent recovery by Azerbaijan of its territories has transformed the context of Turkish-Armenian relations in two fundamental ways. The first and more obvious one is that Turkey and Azerbaijan, happy with the outcome, are now interested in establishing durable peace and stability in the region. This aspiration, however, cannot be achieved without change on the Armenian side. This is where the second, equally important but perhaps less obvious change comes in. Armenia appears to have shifted its somewhat irredentist foreign policy premise of acquiring territory from neighbours to construct a larger Armenia to one which prefers achieving security and economic prosperity by developing peaceful relations with them.

Armenia’s shift of the fundamental premise of its foreign policy came after clear military defeat. The fact that Prime Minister Pashinyan achieved a major electoral victory afterwards and the ensuing policy shift suggests that the Armenian electorate may be more interested in peace and prosperity than in pursuing irredentist foreign policy adventures. Whether he will be able to sustain this policy depends on the rewards it brings to Armenia’s population and the ability of the opposition to force a return to the previous policy.

Historically, Armenia’s external relations have vacillated between expansionism and good neighbourly relations. The preference for good neighbourly relations has been preceded by military failures. The efforts to build a greater Armenia during the First World War by relying on external forces ended in a multi-dimensional disaster and defeat. The first Armenian State, which enjoyed a short existence, on the other hand, reached without success to the emerging Turkish state for help to survive as an independent entity. Similarly, after Armenia became independent in 1991, its initial orientation foresaw developing good relations with Turkey. The policy was altered in relatively short order as the new country turned to settling historical scores with Turkey and acquiring territory from Azerbaijan. We have arrived at a new stage now where, with dreams of expansion doomed, once again, Armenia appears to be pursuing good neighbourly relations.

The vacillation of the basic premise that gives direction to its external relations appears to be derived from the ambiguous relationship Armenia as a country has with the Armenian diaspora, where major segments of the latter extend political and material support to what they consider to be their motherland and, in return, expect the national government to pursue policies in line with their aspirations of taking revenge on others that have historically “wronged” them. This stance, likely, receives a boost from the Armenian Apostolic Church that can ensure its own survival by inculcating a strong, existential mission among its members. Ironically, the more the Armenian governments pursue diaspora-promoted irredentist policies, the poorer the country becomes, making it even more dependent on diaspora support. It is only after dramatic events like military defeat that such policies come under serious scrutiny and change.

Many observers have also noted that Armenian irredentism may sometimes receive encouragement through the actions of third parties that perceive benefits in Armenia’s problematical relations with its neighbours. If one were to take Russia as an example, it is often judged that Russia extended greater military support to Armenia in its war with Azerbaijan, allowing it to acquire Azeri territories. The ensuing hostile relationship with neighbours produced security concerns that could only be alleviated through the introduction of a significant Russian military presence in the country. Of course, Russia is not interested in Armenia initiating conflicts into which it may be drawn; rather it restrains the Armenian government’s risky initiatives. A strong sense of insecurity on the Armenian side, however, tends to render Russian military presence in the country indispensable. This suits Russia well, since it wants to maintain and extend its influence in the Caucasus.

Is the new opening likely to succeed? Both Turkey and Armenia seem to be interested in developing better relations. Already, Armenia has lifted its ban on Turkish products, the parties have agreed that passenger flights between the two countries would commence on February 2, and more importantly, they have both appointed special representatives to meet regularly for talks with a view to further advancing the relationship. It is important to note that the improvements in bilateral relations will be tied to how Armenia’s relations with Azerbaijan progress. It is unrealistic to expect Turkey to allow the Armenian opening to harm its close ties to Azerbaijan. Turkey hopes that improvements in the short run will allow it to address highly complex problems in the long run with a more positive frame of mind. These problems include, among others, Armenia’s territorial aspirations, as expressed in its Constitution, and historical memory issues relating to the events of 1915. It is hoped that the initial progress will be rapid and bring immediate benefits, so as not to allow the currently weakened irredentist political movements to recover and set positive developments back.

The international community has so far been supportive of developments. The opening also offers Russia and Turkey yet another opportunity to enhance their cooperation and successfully manage the competitive aspects of their expanding relations.


Moscow’s Caucasian Conundrum: Turkish-Russian Relations and the Limits of “Strategic Competition”

Putin erdogan sochi

Russo–Turkish relations have been at the forefront of recent media discussions. Cooperative competition, “frenemies,” managed rivalry, “co-opetition,” and other catchy terms are used to describe bilateral relations between Moscow and Ankara. However, the reality is that the two countries have both overlapping, and yet contradictory, interests in many parts of the world. Of these, the most critical for Russia is the post-Soviet space, and the Caucasus in particular.

Managing Competition in Moscow’s Backyard

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian Federation has viewed the entire post-Soviet space as a zone of its critical national security interest. Therefore, Moscow seeks to restrict the influence of other regional and global actors—in particular, that of the United States and the NATO military alliance. The Kremlin has consistently viewed the eastward expansion of NATO with considerable alarm, perceiving it as a violation of the trust in U.S.-Russian relations built during the Gorbachev-Reagan “détente” of the late 1980s. In keeping with that history, Moscow is very suspicious of the activities of any NATO member state in its immediate neighborhood. Turkey is no exception in this regard.

Ankara made its first foray into the Caucasus after 1991, with particular focus on developing relations with Azerbaijan. The ethnic and linguistic bonds with Baku served as an ideal basis for this policy. With the active support of war hawks in Washington, a network of gas and oil pipelines was built to bring Azerbaijani energy resources to the West through both Turkey and Georgia, an aspiring member of NATO. The aim, essentially, was to undermine Russia’s natural position as the dominant energy provider for Europe, and by extension, to weaken Russia’s position in other post-Soviet states, primarily in Ukraine and in Belarus. From the view of Washington war hawks keen on “containing Russia,” this East-West energy corridor would ideally extend further east. That is, it would extend across the Caspian, into the energy-rich post-Soviet Central Asia, especially Turkmenistan, home to the fifth largest reserve of natural gas in the world. The ultimate aim would be for NATO to surround Russia on its borders.

This vision directly clashes with the view commonly held in Moscow, which perceives the Caucasus as a vital part of its Eurasian underbelly. Of particular concern to the Kremlin is its volatile North Caucasus region. Therefore, it seeks to develop strong, and ideally allied, relations with its three neighbors to the south—the post-Soviet republics of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. Of these, Georgia is the most critical for Moscow. However, given the Kremlin’s fraught relations with Tbilisi due to its Euro-Atlantic aspirations and the conflicts over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a full restoration of ties is unlikely to occur in the near future. Moscow has been able to maintain better relations with Baku. However, here, too, relations with the “Kuwait on the Caspian” have not always been reliable. Its close ties with NATO member Turkey, its leading role in Western-backed energy projects, and the anti-Russian current in Azerbaijani nationalist discourse have prevented relations from developing to an optimal level.

By contrast, Moscow maintains its strongest relationship in the region with Armenia, which depends on Russian security as a “vahan” (the Armenian term for “shield”) against Turkey. Since the 1990s, Yerevan has developed a strategic alliance with Moscow, hosting a Russian military base at the northern city of Gyumri and entering the CSTO and Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). Given the deep-rooted tensions between the U.S. and Iran, Tehran supports Russian policy in the region, including its alliance with Armenia. Support for this position enhances Iran’s security against possible efforts by the U.S. to use the Caucasus as a launchpad against Iranian territory.

Consequently, the region’s geopolitics has evolved into a tacit confrontation of two competing blocs—the U.S.-supported Turkey-Azerbaijan-Georgia East-West bloc vs. the Moscow-backed Russia-Armenia-Iran North-South bloc. This equilibrium has also played a decisive role in the settlements of regional conflicts. After the 2008 war in Georgia, Moscow recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Meanwhile, conventional wisdom told the Kremlin that it should prevent any drastic change of the status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh in favor of Azerbaijan to prevent an increase of Turkey’s influence.

Moreover, although Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili sought to cement Georgia as part of the East-West bloc, the Georgian Dream government has sought to mend ties with Moscow, a process that has seen both successes and limits. In late 2015 and early 2016, Georgia’s then-Energy Minister (now Tbilisi Mayor) Kakha Kaladze even explored the possibility of participating in the North-South bloc by forging stronger energy ties with Moscow and Tehran. In April 2016, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Iran signed an agreement in Yerevan to establish an energy corridor by 2019, which would sharply increase electricity supplies among them. However, domestic pressures within Georgia, especially from Saakashvili’s party, have prevented a major shift toward a more independent, multi-vectored policy in Tbilisi.

Turkish Delight or Turkish Nightmare?

The second decade of the 21 st century posed new challenges for Moscow in the region. The primary agents of change were the significant deterioration of Russia-West relations amid the 2014 Ukraine crisis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s policy to transform Turkey into an independent regional player. Although Ankara sought to assert a separate position from the United States, it still found itself on the same side of U.S. policy on the Syrian Civil War, albeit with different aims than Washington. Turkish-Russian competition in Syria was especially intense, culminating in the Turkish shootdown of a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 over the Syrian airspace on 24 November 2015.

The Sukhoi incident marked the lowest ebb in the Russo-Turkish relations since the end of the First World War. It demonstrated how easily a complex conflict like the Syrian war could drift into a “nuclear war by accident.” For months afterwards, Russo-Turkish relations continued to bubble with antagonism. Russian overtures to the Kurds of Turkey and Syria were met by Turkish overtures toward the Crimean Tatars and support for Azerbaijan in its Four-Day War over Nagorno-Karabakh. However, Moscow and Ankara managed to move beyond the animosity and toward rapprochement, a process that intensified after the failed military coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016. The launch of Astana format in Syria, the purchase of S-400 systems, the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, and the Akkuyu nuclear power plant were primary examples of an emerging understanding between Moscow and Ankara.

Nevertheless, in many, if not most areas, interests between the two countries continued to contradict and conflict, most notably with regard to the fate of Idlib and northeastern Syria and the situation in Libya. This complex maze of coinciding and contradicting interests was governed by unspoken ground rules between the two sides, in order to avoid another entanglement on the scale of the Sukhoi shootdown. One of those rules was Ankara’s unconditional acceptance of Moscow’s dominant position in the post-Soviet space.

However, Erdogan’s frustrations with Moscow in the Syrian and Libyan theatres led him to do the unthinkable—violate this rule in the fraught conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh between Azerbaijan and the Armenia-allied Karabakh Armenians. His flagrant intervention in the post-Soviet space amid the COVID pandemic paid significant political dividends. Erdogan’s “quick war” in the Caucasus strengthened his position at home, while critically weakening Russia’s main strategic ally in the region (Armenia) and thus Moscow’s regional standing generally. Overall, a combination of NATO military tactics, Turkish Bayraktars, and Armenian incompetence proved to be fatally decisive factors in Karabakh.

Nevertheless, Russia was able to prevent the full takeover of Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijan through the 10 November 2020 trilateral statement, which saw the deployment of its peacekeepers in what remained of the Armenian Karabakh. However, this outcome has been tenuously unstable. The Russian peacekeepers face manifold challenges, including the constant work of defusing recurring Armenian-Azerbaijani clashes. The number of Karabakh Armenian refugees who have returned to their homes has been limited. Moreover, with Armenia’s cession of the vital districts of Kelbajar and Lachin to Azerbaijan, only a single, narrow road (the Lachin corridor) connects the Russian peacekeepers to the Russian forces in Armenia, placing them in the same security dilemma that the Karabakh Armenians faced in the 1990s.

Meanwhile, the war has emboldened Ankara. In the Black Sea basin, Erdogan cast aside his conflicts with Washington to assist Ukraine in the NATO-led effort to increase pressure on Russia in Donbass. Across the Black Sea, while Georgia is preoccupied by Saakashvili’s latest antics, Ankara-backed Azerbaijan continues to launch new provocations against Armenia and Karabakh, taking advantage of a politically weak prime minister. Demanding from Yerevan uncontrolled access to Turkey via the southern Syunik province (the so-called “Zangezur corridor”), Baku has implemented a strategy of military coercion and blackmail penetrating Armenian territories inch by inch. Although some Russian commentators have raised the idea of a “Zangezur corridor” guarded by Russian troops, replicating the Lachin corridor arrangements, such an approach would only serve as a springboard for the Turkish influence to expand in the post-Soviet space. Meanwhile, across the Caspian, Baku, again with Turkish support, has worked to bolster relations with Turkmenistan and extend the East-West energy corridor into Central Asia. Indeed, despite its increasingly tenuous economy, Ankara appears to be playing a leading role in NATO’s effort to encircle Russia.

Although Moscow’s position in the region remains firm, Kremlin elites are becoming increasingly wary of Ankara’s efforts to project its influence along Russian borders. Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov was jokingly dismissive of Erdogan’s display of a map of a vast pan-Turkic world with a nationalist political ally. However, beneath the cool self-confidence, many in the Kremlin are becoming increasingly frustrated with Ankara’s comportment. Indeed, the threats are significant. Between Ankara’s actions and a growing NATO build-up in Ukraine, Moscow faces one of the greatest security challenges it has confronted since 1991. How Russian President Vladimir Putin and his administration will deal with it remains to be seen. One thing is very clear: the Kremlin’s patience is not infinite.

Russia will take steps to ensure its national security if Turkey opens a military base in Armenia, the Kremlin said on Friday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not rule out Turkey’s permanent military presence in Azerbaijan after visiting on Tuesday the Nagorno-Karabakh town of Shushi (Shusha) captured by Azerbaijani forces during last year’s war.

In a joint declaration signed there, Erdogan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev pledged to further deepen military and other ties between their nations. Aliyev said the declaration calls for their “mutual military assistance” in the event of an armed conflict with third states. Erdogan on Thursday did not exclude a Turkish military base in Azerbaijan. “There may be development, expansion here later,” he told Turkey’s NTV channel.

Commenting on Erdogan’s statement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “The deployment of military infrastructure by the [NATO] alliance countries near our borders is cause for our special attention as well as a reason for us to take steps to ensure our security and interests.”

Peskov also said Russia is “in close contact” with Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia on “further stabilizing the situation” in the South Caucasus after the Armenian-Azerbaijani war stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire in November. Regional players must not take actions containing “any elements that could cause a rise in tensions,” Russian news agencies quoted him as saying. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was more dismissive of the talk of Turkish military presence in Azerbaijan. “We have not discussed that issue and do not comment on rumors,” he told a news conference on Friday.

Lavrov’s remarks contrasted with concerns voiced by some Russian lawmakers and pundits., a major Russian news website, said Moscow’s reaction to a possible Turkish military deployment in Azerbaijan would be “very negative.”

It quoted Alexander Sherin, the deputy chairman of a Russian parliament committee on defense, as saying that Azerbaijan can already be considered a de facto NATO member because its soldiers fought alongside Turkish troops against Russia’s ally Armenia during the Karabakh war. “Its de jure membership [in NATO] is only a matter of time,” claimed Sherin. The Armenian Foreign Ministry has condemned Aliyev’s and Erdogan’s visit to Shushi as a “provocation against regional peace and security.”

In a statement released on Thursday, the ministry accused Turkey and Azerbaijan of threatening Armenia’s territorial integrity after their “joint aggression” against Karabakh. It pointed to the Shushi declaration’s references to a “corridor” that should connect the Nakhichevan exclave with the rest of Azerbaijan via Armenia’s Syunik province.

Ankara lent Baku strong military and diplomatic support during the six-week Karabakh war. Yerevan says that Turkish military personnel participated in the hostilities on the Azerbaijani side along with thousands of mercenaries recruited in Syria’s Turkish-controlled northern regions. The truce accord led to the deployment of 2,000 Russian peacekeeping soldiers in Karabakh. Russia has also deployed soldiers along some sections of Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan.


There is no 'Russia-Turkey alliance'
Russian president Vladimir Putin has spoken of a historic rapprochement with Turkey, on the model of post-WW2 France and Germany.  But talk of a Turkish realignment from the West was premature, former Nato and Russian officials say. "Today, they [France and Germany] are jointly performing their Nato defence and security duties the way they think fit," Putin said on TV on 17 November.  "Why can't we [Russia and Turkey] do the same here, in the Black Sea region?," he added. He spoke after letting Turkey join a new Russian military centre in Azerbaijan, imposing a peace deal on Armenia. 
Russia had a "positive experience" of joint operations with Turkey in the Syria war, Putin added. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan bought and recently test-fired a Russian air-defence system, despite threats of US sanctions if he did so. And his navy has bullied French and Greek warships, prompting a European outcry. But for all that, the view from Brussels was that Turkey was "not about to sacrifice Nato and its anchorage in the West to go off in a new direction with Russia".
"I don't buy this theory that Turkey is realigning in the way Egypt did, when it broke its alliance with the Soviet Union in the 1970s to move into the American camp, but Turkey would be going in the other direction", Jamie Shea, a former Nato official in charge of emerging security challenges, told EUobserver. Putin was "too intelligent" to think he could "persuade Erdoğan into a new alignment," Shea said.
 And Turkey was too big a Western asset in the Middle East for Nato to let fail, he added. US sanctions could still be avoided at the "eleventh hour", Shea, who now works for British-based think tank Chatham House, said. Erdoğan bought the Russian 'S-400' air-defence system in protest that the US would not sell him state-of-the-art 'Patriot' air-defence technology, Shea said. But the incoming US administration of Joe Biden could do a Patriot deal and the S400-s could end up being "mothballed" or "sold off", Shea suggested, the way France, a few years ago, sold 'Mistral' warships to Egypt, when its arms deal with Russia went sour. 

"Nato is used to long-term management of allies who might be difficult," Shea said. And Putin's deals with Erdoğan had come at a price, he noted. "There's a greater Turkish role in its old Ottoman sphere of influence, which Putin would have considered to be a Russian sphere for the past 20 years," Shea said.
'No alliance'

The outlook on Turkish realignment was broadly similar for Dmitri Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow Centre think tank in Russia. "There is no alliance between Russia and Turkey," Trenin told EUobserver. And Putin's ambition for ties with Erdoğan was limited to regional "Realpolitik", Trenin indicated. "Putin is keen on preserving a peaceful relationship with Turkey, a rising regional power, cooperating where interests are sufficiently close, and managing differences, preventing them from degenerating into conflicts," Trenin, who is a former Russian military-intelligence colonel, said.
Looking at the recent Russia-Turkey deal in the South Caucasus, he said: "Cooperation on Nagorno-Karabakh [a region at the heart of the conflict] creates a better climate for interaction across the board. Lack of cooperation there would have soured relations across the board". "But each situation is dealt with on its own merits," Trenin added. Russian and Turkish "interests may diverge and even clash" in other conflicts, such as those in Libya and Syria, he also said. Trenin gave a different assessment of who might be better at handling complicated friends, such as Erdoğan, than the ex-Nato Shea. "Russians can deal with anyone on the basis of Realpolitik," Trenin said. But "Nato is not well designed to deal with a country that seriously pursues what is known in the post-Soviet world as a multi-vector foreign and security policy," he added.


Russia, Turkey Compete to Entice Azerbaijan Into Their Geopolitical Plays

During the latest session of the Council of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), on July 1, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, the participants effectively introduced the category of a CSTO “partner state” by setting the criteria and provisions for granting such a status to a third country (,, July 1). The speaker of the Russian State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, declared that a number of states have already expressed interest in becoming a “partner” of the alliance. And the head of the Duma Committee on Eurasian Integration, Leonid Kalashnikov, specified inter alia Azerbaijan as a potential partner state, before backtracking slightly: “It is not customary to talk about that, though” (RIA Novosti, July 1). In May, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said that the “doors of the CSTO are open” to Azerbaijan, with the major obstacle being the absence of diplomatic relations with Armenia, a member of the organization (Izvestia, May 24).

At present, Moscow and Yerevan are discussing the deployment of Russian border guards to protect Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan. Moreover, Yerevan has again appealed to the CSTO to evoke the article on collective defense against Baku. However, CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas has responded that the alliance will only assist in case of aggression, not in a “per se border incident” between Armenia and Azerbaijan (TASS, July 3). Although Yerevan was dissatisfied with that response (Kavkazsky Uzel, July 7), the incident served as a hint to Baku: joining the organization would shield Azerbaijan from potential CSTO involvement against the country in the future, and it might become an implicit condition for the Kremlin to facilitate the “grand peace treaty” that Azerbaijan wants to reach with Armenia.

Such statements and gestures from Moscow effectively shape a discursive reality, in which Azerbaijan is purportedly ready or willing to join the CSTO but Armenia stands in the way. The next step, thus, would be to transform this discursive reality into material one through, for example, granting Azerbaijan the status of partner or observer despite Armenia’s objections. Indeed, Russian expert Alexandr Perendjiyev predicts that the Armenian obstacle will be settled in order to allow Azerbaijan to become a CSTO partner (Vzglyad, July 8). Similar gestures and calls to entice Azerbaijan into the Moscow-led alliance were repeatedly made in the recent past (see EDM, July 22, 2020).

But presently, the context is sharpened by the outcomes of the Second Karabakh War (September 27–November 9, 2020), including the fact that Turkey has formally asserted its presence in Azerbaijan by signing the Shusha declaration on allied relations on June 15 (see EDM, June 23). Furthermore, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated that he has discussed with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, the creation of a Turkish military base in Azerbaijan and that Aliyev would discuss the matter with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Erdoğan also said that Turkey wants to involve Azerbaijan and its state-owned energy company SOCAR in hydrocarbon extraction projects in Libya (, June 15;, June 17). And reportedly, the Azerbaijani military may join Turkey’s continued peacekeeping contingent in Afghanistan following the United States’ and most of its Western allies’ withdrawal from Afghanistan. These three issues indicate that Ankara seeks to use Baku in a supportive role in Turkey’s geopolitical plays. However, there is a question mark regarding whether Ankara’s intentions are actually compatible with Baku’s interests. One Azerbaijani member of parliament recently warned the government against the risk of becoming embroiled in Afghanistan, where superpowers like the former Soviet Union and the United States “have ended up in a disgraceful defeat” (, July 1). But the problem is whether Azerbaijan can afford to refuse Turkey since it is Baku’s turn, at least in Ankara’s view, to reciprocate what are described as brotherly gestures (, July 9).

Turkey’s presence in the South Caucasus and potential march into Central Asia via Afghanistan following the US withdrawal resonate, in Russia’s perception, with the so-called “Anaconda ring” conspiracy theory, which is deeply embedded in the Russian psyche. Accordingly, the US-led Western world aims to encircle Russia with hostile states and conflicts in order to eventually partition it (, June 21;, accessed July 15). A recent article in the Armenian service of Sputnik News pointedly referred to Turkey’s activities near Russia as evidence of the West’s “Anaconda ring of Turkish bottling” (, June 30).

Therefore, Moscow feels pressed to counter increasing Turkish presence in Azerbaijan. Indeed, earlier this year, Moscow expressed its desire to join the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States (informally, Turkic Council). Although membership requires having a majority Turkic population, the Russian Federation actually exceeds most Turkic countries (except for Turkey and Uzbekistan) in terms of the absolute combined size of its many ethnically Turkic populations. Moscow’s drive to penetrate the Turkic Council appears to be driven by its interest in balancing Ankara’s hegemony over the organization as well as the latter’s rising popularity among Russia’s own multi-million-strong Turkic-speaking minorities (see EDM, October 30, 2019 and June 28, 2021;, May 20, 2021;, May 21, 2021;, May 23, 2021).

Paradoxically, the Russian attempts to join the Turkic Council or engage other Turkic nations through the CSTO or EEU in order to provide a counterweight to Turkey is frequently interpreted as evidence of a budding Russo-Turkish regional alliance. In this perspective, Turkey and Russia are purportedly the core nations of a union between the Turkic and (Eastern) Slavic civilizations under the Eurasianist idea. Incidentally, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are simultaneously members of the Turkic Council, the CSTO and EEU. Well before the outbreak of the Second Karabakh War but in the wake of the “Velvet Revolution” in Armenia, Alexander Dugin—a leading Russian proponent of Eurasianism, oftentimes (though not universally—Providence, July 8, 2019) dubbed “Putin’s Rasputin” or the Kremlin’s ideologue—visited, in July 2018, the village of Jojug Merjanli, one of the sites of Azerbaijan’s victory in the 2016 clashes with Armenia. There, Dugin stated that Armenia “must return the five occupied districts” and that “the Russian Federation recognizes Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan.” Assuming Dugin’s presumed links to the Kremlin have not been overstated, his remarks may have been intended to signal to Baku Moscow’s relative neutrality and red lines in the lead-up to the Second Karabakh War. Perhaps even more importantly, Dugin specifically noted, “The Eurasian idea is impossible without the alliance of Turkic and Slavic nations” (, July 1, 2018;, July 1, 8, 2018). As such, Russia’s maneuvers in relation to Azerbaijan and its push-and-pull approach toward Turkey seem to be dictated by the dichotomous character of the “Anaconda plan” conspiracy and Eurasianist ideology.

Cross-border shooting escalates as Azerbaijan seeks formal agreement with Armenia

Fighting surges in a new area, Aliyev meets Putin in Moscow, Azerbaijan again steps up the info war against Armenia, and the EU throws its hat into the conflict resolution ring. This week’s Post-War Report.

Some of the heaviest post-war fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan took place this week, as tensions continued to escalate between the two sides. Armenian and Azerbaijani forces exchanged fire for hours starting late July 19 near the Armenian town of Yeraskh, on the border of Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan exclave, an area that had previously seen little tension. The firing included grenade launchers, the Armenian Ministry of Defense reported. Among the wounded was the mayor of Yeraskh. It was perhaps the most serious fighting since a Russia-brokered ceasefire ended last year’s war in November, and it got the world’s attention with the European Union and United States calling on the two to stop fighting and engage in “substantive negotiations,” in the U.S.’s words.

The timing of the violence likely was not a coincidence. The next day, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev flew to Moscow to meet with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. It has been a long-established pattern that some kind of fighting breaks out and demands the world’s attention precisely when Baku is unhappy with the pace of negotiations with Armenia to resolve the conflict.

And so it happened this week, although the public comments following the Kremlin meeting curiously downplayed the tension. Aliyev spoke in only very general terms, as did Putin, who thanked Aliyev for the fact that "so far we have always been able to come to compromise solutions" in the conflict – a rosier view of the situation than most might take. And Moscow, unlike Brussels and Washington, did not respond immediately to the outbreak of fighting near Nakhchivan.

But no doubt the conflict took up a significant portion of Aliyev and Putin’s behind-closed-doors time. Azerbaijan has been making it plain that it wants to start real talks over a final resolution to the conflict, which would include Armenia’s formal recognition of Azerbaijani sovereignty over its territory. And Baku has – with steadily escalating force – been applying a variety of instruments to try to force Yerevan to come to the table. In the face of this Azerbaijani push, the Armenian government has been either silent or feckless, not least because in its weakened post-war state it has few of its own levers. But one figure seems poised to take advantage: Robert Kocharyan, the former president and now opposition leader.

Following his recent announcement that he will not take the seat in parliament that he earned after his coalition won second place – albeit a very distant one – in elections last month, Kocharyan appears to be positioning himself as an extra-parliamentary gadfly. He gave a lengthy interview to several Armenian networks that aired on July 21, and Azerbaijan was high on the agenda.

“It’s completely possible that the events in Yeraskh are preparing the way for a peace agreement, which wouldn’t be signed without Armenia’s recognition of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity,” he said. As tension increases, “the signing of such a document will be perceived not as a betrayal, but as salvation,” he continued. “And that would be the end of Karabakh.”

Laurence Broers, a scholar of the Caucasus, had a similar take on Azerbaijan’s motivations. “Baku is seeking to avoid a repeat of the 1990s – where the militarily victorious side, then Armenia, was not able to consolidate its victory into a favorable peace from a position of strength,” he tweeted following the Nakhchivan-Yeraskh flareup. “Azerbaijan is consequently seeking to maximize pressure on Armenia to force it into a comprehensive peace agreement, for which – from Baku’s perspective – there will never be a better time than now.” Indeed the pressure keeps coming, in various forms.

One is a sort of soft territorial claim, in which Azerbaijan makes “historical” claims to Armenian territory, while stopping short of formally politically claiming the land for itself (as the Armenia-backed, self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic has done in Azerbaijan). Aliyev rolled out that strategy again last week. Baku is now going to start using Azerbaijani names for geographical entities inside Armenia, pro-government media reported. “Baku started to announce the historical Azerbaijani names of cities, reservoirs, regions and mountain systems of present-day Armenia only after it became finally clear that the latter does not agree to peace,” one pro-government commentator, Vafa Ismayilova, wrote on July 22. “Yerevan’s actual refusal to recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity means that Azerbaijan no longer considers itself obliged to recognize Armenian’s territorial integrity.”

The issue of territorial integrity – that is, Armenia’s refusal to acknowledge Azerbaijani sovereignty over the territory of the former Soviet Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, part of which Armenian forces still control – is the biggest substantive stumbling block to a final resolution. But the two sides also have different takes on the format negotiations should take. European Council President Charles Michel made a trip around the region last weekend, and offered the EU’s diplomatic services – alongside those of the Minsk Group of the OSCE, the Russia, U.S. and France-led body that mediated pre-war peace talks but which has since been sidelined.

Neither side directly formally addressed the EU proposal, but Armenia has been saying that it would be amenable to negotiations under the standards that the Minsk Group had been working on pre-war, which included the principle of the people in a territory to determine its status – in this case, that the Armenians of Karabakh would have a say in how they were ruled. "Armenia is willing to be involved in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process based on the approaches proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group […] including the right to self-determination," Armenia’s acting foreign minister, Armen Grigoryan, told foreign ambassadors in Yerevan on July 20.

But Azerbaijan has a lot less interest in the Minsk Group now – even more so after the U.S., France, and Russia appear to have coordinated on a snub of Baku’s invitation earlier this month to tour Shusha, the jewel of the territories that Azerbaijan retook last year. Baku further considers the principle of self-determination no longer relevant following the war, and that Karabakh not only will be part of Azerbaijan but will not even have any sort of autonomous status. Privately, Baku was “outraged” by the EU’s offer, the Russian newspaper Kommersant reported, citing an unnamed “informed source in Baku.” In his comments in Yerevan, Michel also had raised the issue of the need to resolve Karabakh’s status.

“For Baku, which considers the conflict to be resolved, the question of some kind of status is a red flag,” Kommersant’s source said. In addition, Baku sees EU involvement as a back door for French involvement; Paris has taken a noticeably pro-Armenia approach in the conflict.

Russia, meanwhile, took a sort of middle ground, welcoming EU involvement – as long as it was within the framework of the current, Russia-brokered ceasefire statement. "If mediation efforts bring stability and predictability, and facilitate the implementation of the existing agreements, they should be welcome,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitriy Peskov told reporters on July 21. And in his own lengthy interview, aired July 23 on state TV, Aliyev put a positive spin on Michel’s statements, noting that the EU leader didn’t utter the word “status” – at least while he was in Baku.

Aliyev further riffed on the status issue, making some rare comments about Stepanakert – the capital city of Karabakh, which remains under Armenian control following the war and which Aliyev generally seems to treat with careful ambiguity. In this interview, though, he went on at some length about Azerbaijan’s intelligence-gathering capabilities in the city, which he claimed now has only about 25,000 residents. While that is almost certainly an undercount – its pre-war population was roughly 50,000 and by all accounts it has gotten more crowded since then with Armenians displaced from other parts of Karabakh – Aliyev used the claim to further discredit the idea of any kind of autonomous status for the region under a (still only implied) reassertion of Azerbaijani control. “Under what kind of logic would you create a status for only 25,000 people?” he asked.


Is Pashinyan's Victory the Best Case Scenario For Moscow?

Though it was intended to be a referendum on Pashinyan and the outcome of the Nagorno-Karabakh War, the election to some extent became a referendum on his opponent.

Armenia’s Civil Contract party scored a landslide victory at the 2021 parliamentary elections last week, securing the votes needed to preserve their ruling majority. The snap elections, called by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, were seen as a referendum on the outcome of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War. The conflict was widely interpreted as a defeat for Armenia, sparking mass protests over the Pashinyan administration’s handling of the war effort and the subsequent peace negotiations. Pashinyan described the November 9 armistice agreement, which involved large territorial transfers from the breakaway, Armenian-backed Republic of Artsakh back to Azerbaijan, as a “painful” necessity: “This is not a victory, but there is no defeat until you consider yourself defeated. We will never consider ourselves defeated and this shall become a new start of an era of our national unity and rebirth.”

It appeared from the election results that a large portion of the Armenian population accepted Pashinyan’s assessment, but the full picture is more complicated. Despite several waves of popular demonstrations by the Prime Minister’s supporters and detractors in the months leading up to the elections, voter turnout did not exceed forty-nine percent. This is not as unequivocal a mandate as Pashinyan may have wanted, especially at a time of crippling polarization in Armenian politics. The opposing “Armenia Alliance,” founded and led by former President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan, still has not fully conceded defeat as of the time of writing, promising instead to publish evidence of widespread electoral misconduct. But observers from the United States, Russia, the European Union, and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have all accepted the election results, which put the Civil Contract party at 53.96% against the Armenia Alliance’s 21.06%.

Though it was intended to be a referendum on Pashinyan and the outcome of the Nagorno-Karabakh War, the election to some extent became a referendum on his opponent. Kocharyan was widely accused of corruption throughout his presidency from 1998 to 2008. In 2018, he was charged over his alleged involvement in the 2008 election crackdown that led to hundreds of injuries and the deaths of eight protesters at the hands of the police. He was released on bail and proceeded to relaunch his political career as a leading opposition voice against the Pashinyan government. The charges against him were dropped by Armenia’s Constitutional Court in March 2021, but Kocharyan remains linked in Armenian political discourse with a kind of heavy-handed, “criminal-oligarchic” governing style that many in the country would prefer to leave behind. There is yet to be a comprehensive post-mortem of what went wrong for the opposition bloc, but Kocharyan’s political baggage was quite possibly a contributing factor to Pashinyan’s blowout victory.

Then there are the foreign policy implications of Pashinyan’s victory. A long-time friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kocharyan brandishes all the credentials of a consistently pro-Russian politician. Earlier this year, Kocharyan called for a deeper, “full-fledged modern integration” with Russia. By stark contrast, Pashinyan has routinely been accused by commentators and politicians in Moscow of harboring anti-Russian views. “If we leave [Pashinyan] in power in Armenia,” said well-known Russian political scientist and politician Sergei Kurginyan, “this man will destroy everything we have achieved there . . . to leave Pashinyan in power is to cede Armenia to NATO.” A significant subset of Russian commentators seemingly still cannot forgive Pashinyan for coming to power via the 2018 color revolution against the government of Kocharyan ally Serzh Sargsyan. Pashinyan was one of the leaders of the “Way Out Alliance,” a liberal faction that favored European integration at the expense of deeper ties with Russia. As Prime Minister, he was accused of staffing his government with pro-western officials as part of a long-term plan to transform Armenia into an anti-Russian outpost in the Caucasus; Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev went as far as to accuse Pashinyan of being a “product” of billionaire investor George Soros.

But, in spite of the inflammatory charges being leveled against him, Pashinyan has yet to take even a single meaningful foreign policy step against Russia. From his first day in office, Pashinyan has sought to reassure the Kremlin that he is not looking to fundamentally alter the pro-Russian course taken by Kocharyan and Sargsyan. Not only has Pashinyan done nothing to reduce Russia’s considerable military presence in Armenia, but his government has signaled their openness to expanding the Russian military base in Armenia’s western region of Gyumri. “The issue of expanding and strengthening the Russian military base on the territory of the Republic of Armenia has also been on the agenda,” Armenian Minister of Defense Vagharshak Harutyunyan told reporters. Pashinyan even went as far as dispatching a small military contingent in 2018 to support Russia’s ongoing military mission in Syria. Russia continues to provide ninety percent of Armenia’s military equipment, with Pashinyan reiterating earlier this month that Russia is Armenia’s “main partner” on security matters and that there is no alternative to Armenia’s continued membership in the Russian-led military alliance known as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

Despite widespread disdain for Pashinyan among Russian elites, the Kremlin has done nothing to put its thumb on the scale of Armenia’s elections— least of all in Robert Kocharyan’s favor. If anything, the Kremlin may very well have concluded that Kocharyan’s victory could spawn more problems than it solves. Kocharyan’s promise to leverage his ties with Putin to tweak the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process in Armenia’s favor is a major liability for Moscow, which has no desire to renegotiate the fragile armistice agreement signed in late 2020. To the extent that Moscow wants to see an Armenian government that will uphold the agreement as it is currently written, Pashinyan— who is one of its three original signatories, along with Aliev and Putin— seems a safer bet.

Far from the Soros-NATO stooge that his Armenian, Russian, and Azerbaijani critics make him out to be, Pashinyan has established himself as a reliable, if not amenable, partner to Moscow. “I still see the Russian government preferring to see a Pashinyan government in power,” said Richard Giragosian, head of the Yerevan think tank Regional Studies Center, as reported by Eurasianet. “In many ways, Pashinyan has become a trophy for Putin: a legitimate, democratically elected leader well under Russian subordination and control. The opposite of [Belarusian President Aleskandr] Lukashenko.”


Western agents in Armenia fight for Turkey’s interests

After it became known that Armenia would send its military to Kazakhstan within the framework of the CSTO peacekeeping forces, a wave of discontent arose among the Turkish and Azerbaijani political circles, as well as some public and political figures in Armenia, who are traditionally financed from outside. For a long time now, pro-Western circles in Armenia have been working in sync with Armenia’s ill-wishers.

Immediately after the decision of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to send Armenian troops to Kazakhstan, a number of Soros organizations in Armenia made a statement, which noted that they were against the introduction of CSTO troops into Kazakhstan in general, and also condemned the decision of the Armenian Prime Minister on the participation of the Armenian Armed Forces in this process. Then there are accusations against the Russian president of attempting to occupy Kazakhstan, etc. The statement was signed by the following US-funded and Soros-based NGOs:

  1. Transparency International
  2. NGO “Dialogue for Peace”
  3. NGO “Support for Rights Without Borders”
  4. Center for Advanced Development
  5. NGO “For Equal Rights”
  6. Center for the Study of Human Rights
  7. NGO “Free Citizen”
  8. Helsinki Civil Assembly (Vanadzor Office)
  9. Armenian Women’s Initiative NGO
  10. Club of journalists “Asparez”
  11. NGO “Helsinki Association”
  12. NGO “Union of Informed Citizens”
  13. Scientific and educational foundation “Restart”
  14. Human rights organization “Pink”
  15. Public Journalism Club
  16. Center for Media Initiatives
  17. Coalition against Discrimination and Equal Rights
  18. Foundation for the Development of Law and Defense

Among the signers are such well-known recipients of American and European grants as: the head of the Union of Informed Citizens NGO Daniel Ioannisyan, the head of the Asparez press club in Gyumri Levon Barseghyan, the head of the Helsinki Civil Assembly (Vanadzor office) Artur Sakunts, etc.

These individuals are known for their Russophobic stance in everything related to Russia. A similar statement was made on January 6 by representatives of the National Democratic Pole movement led by Zhirayr Sefilyan. Some attacks on the topic were made by the chairman of the European Party of Armenia Tigran Khzmalyan, the former head of the State Control Service David Sanasaryan, a member of the National Democratic Pole movement Ara Papyan.

The following messages are heard: why should Armenia help the Kazakhs who did not help us ?! Kazakhstan is an ally of Azerbaijan, and we should not help the friends of our enemies, Russia plans to occupy Kazakhstan, but Armenia should not take part in this. The publications of the above persons on social networks carry the same message, and all this suggests that their actions are directed from a single center. A similar picture is in other CSTO countries, where local paid circles made similar claims and demands.

Of course, Turkey is interested in the CSTO peacekeeping forces not being brought into Kazakhstan, as this is a direct threat to Turkish interests and evidence of the failure of Ankara’s plans. Kazakhstan is located in the zone of interests of Ankara and is of great importance from the point of view of realizing Erdogan’s imperial ambitions. It is no secret that there are more than 20 thousand NGOs operating in Kazakhstan, many of which are financed, among other things, by Turkey.

The protests in Kazakhstan are deep-seated. It is naive to believe that the armed men who cut off the heads of law enforcement officials are disgruntled citizens who oppose the rise in gas tariffs. These are radical groups that have been actively trained, educated and amply funded. There is every reason to believe that there is also a Turkish trace in the events in Kazakhstan.

It is clear that it is in the interests of Armenia that Erdogan’s imperial ambitions are not realized, since this is a direct threat to the RA national security. Apparently, many did not like the fact that the CSTO is a real organization that put its mechanisms into action. It was repeatedly stressed that the CSTO peacekeeping forces will not take any part in hostilities, and only the protection of state and strategic facilities will be in the zone of responsibility of the military bloc. Despite this, a real panic began among those who had previously boldly declared that the CSTO did not exist.

The synchronized work of Turkish and a number of Armenian public and political figures, as well as NGOs, raises great concerns. Why do Armenian public and political circles not act in the zone of Armenian interests, but defend and promote Turkish interests? I would like to direct this question to Prime Minister Pashinyan, who, as the chairman of the CSTO Collective Security Council (CSTO), the country’s leader, coordinated the political process of bringing peacekeepers to Kazakhstan.

Russian Media Outlet Turkish Internet Bots Incite Armenians Against Russia; The Information War Is Just Beginning

According to the Russian media outlet, thousands of fake accounts, created for waging an information war against Russia's role in the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict, have been identified on the social networks. The bots' main purpose bots is to discredit Russia in Armenia and Armenians in Russia; “threads” from these bots lead to Azerbaijan, Turkey and Britain. According to, this is the first sign of a new political reality, in which the military-political alliance between Moscow and Yerevan will undergo a stress test.

6,500 Fake Accounts Were Identified

"…Edgar Grigoryan, head of the 'DataLocator' project for monitoring, analyzing and processing information on the Internet, reported in an interview with RT that his team had managed to identify about 6,500 accounts on various social networks, in which fake Armenian [users] were spreading deception about the course of the conflict and driving wedges into relations between Armenia and Russia.

"In 31% of the cases the IP addresses led to Azerbaijan, in 21% of cases to Turkey, and in 19% of cases to the UK. Grigoryan believes that the activity was under centralized management .

"'From the first day [of the conflict], the idea that Armenia does not need Russia was introduced, that the Armenian army is inherently strong, that it is necessary to refuse Russia's help, and that Russia is an occupier. The main goal was to present Russia as a sort of tyrant,' said the expert.

"By now, the war is over, but the activity of the bots continues: they explain to real people that Armenia was 'deceived and betrayed' and that 'Russia orchestrated everything to expand its own influence in the Caucasus.'

"On the whole, the cocky sentiments in part of Armenian society, as well as the grievances against Russia within it, can hardly be attributed to bots alone. Real persons, such as comedian Sarik Andreasyan, have also made statements of this kind.

"At the same time, armies of bots engaged in propaganda and disinformation have become constant participants in the information wars, accompanying real ones. Since Baku made such excellent preparations for the offensive on Artsakh in terms of renting Turkish drones and hiring Turkish specialists, then it would be strange if Baku did not make provisions for hostilities in the Internet and did not target them on the Russian-Armenian military alliance, or rather - on the mutual understanding between peoples.

"At the same time, Russian users are being used without their knowledge, provoking a negative reaction towards Armenians. And Armenians themselves are taught to think about the unreliability of Russia - the culprit behind their current troubles.

Armenia Became Russia's 'Hostage'

"Regardless of what would happen to the army of identified bots… the information war around Armenia is just beginning. "After the Russian peacekeepers were brought into the Karabakh conflict zone, Moscow's of influence on Yerevan has increased significantly. Fate has made Armenia our 'hostage': its dependence on the Russian army in this case is voluntary, but also forced. "From a security point of view, to have a hostage is even more secure than just having an ally. But the rapidity and the quality of changes [in the region] became a challenge for Russia's competitors in the area - both for Turkey, which counted on a different outcome of the war, and for the Western countries, especially the United States and France.

"Vladimir Putin has already called on Washington and Paris not to hold grudges, but they still are going to sulk, since a lot of funds were invested in the slow drift of Armenia towards the West.

"There are a huge number of Western NGOs in Armenia - much more than Russian ones. Not all of them are agents of political influence, the situation is largely explained by the status of Armenians as a transatlantic nation, that is, through NGOs, the Armenian diaspora participates in the life of the homeland. But it is difficult to find a harmless explanation for the fact that the American legation in Yerevan is one of the largest in the world – two thousand employees for a country of three million. In the Russian one, by comparison, there are less than a hundred employees.

"The results of these peoples' activities are much more modest than, for example, in Georgia. Although Nikol Pashinyan came to power as the result of another 'color revolution,' as prime minister he revised his anti-Russian attitudes - geography cannot be changed, and it is a harsh mistress: Armenia is surrounded by enemies and can count only on the help of Russia.

"Now this dependence has become even stronger, but the political crisis in Armenia and the general disappointment in Armenian society open a wide window of opportunities for Western agents of influence.

International Players Hope To Increase Their Influence In Armenia And Push Russia Out Of There

"Before the implementation of the Karabakh agreement, Russia was interested in keeping Pashinyan at the head of Armenia's vertical power – the Kremlin still doesn't trust him, but all other options are much worse. Logically, after [the peace agreement] the prime minister should leave - like the 'Moor who has done his work' and turned to be politically bankrupt. But there is no idea of who can replace him.

"The Russian authorities have a long and fruitful history of relations with the Republican Party of Armenia, one of the oldest in the country. However, after the resignation of its leader [former PM] Serzh Sargsyan from all government posts, under pressure from the street, Pashinyan, who took power, practically destroyed this structure. In the new elections, the previously dominant force in Armenian politics was unable even to surmount the electoral threshold and was left without representation in parliament.

"Now two-thirds of the National Assembly is dominated by Pashinyan's people - the 'My Step Alliance', and almost all of them are quasi 'wooden soldiers,' devoid of political will and individuality. The opposition is represented by two parties – Edmon Marukyan's 'Enlightened Armenia' and Gagik Tsarukyan's 'Prosperous Armenia.'

"Marukyan is a former associate of Pashinyan, who broke with him after the 'love revolution.' He and his people are rigidly oriented towards Washington and Brussels, and their platform includes such topics as Armenia's withdrawal from the CSTO and joining NATO.

"'Prosperous Armenia' stands for an Alliance with Russia, but the problem is that ideology does not play any role in its case. This is not even a party, but an asset of Tsarukyan, who is considered to be the richest man in the country. The picture will not be complete if we do not specify that the 63 year-old oligarch is a wrestling coach, and that he served a prison term during the Soviet era for robbery and gang rape.

"In other words, under certain circumstances, the power in Armenia can go to such people, compared to whom, even the leader of the local Maidan, Pashinyan, is the best figure in Russia's eyes. The fact that he is responsible for the current crisis with unpredictable consequences, and for such an ugly party balance, is a different matter.

"In the coming months, the pack of Armenian politics will be reshuffled under a new historical reality, where most of Karabakh has been lost, and Turkey and Azerbaijan use the territory of Armenia, which was previously closed to them, for trading with each other. But now comes the time when international players will be investing in the redistribution of forces, hoping to increase their influence in Armenia and push Russia out of there.

"The army of bots described above is just one [example] in a series of many, through which [international players] will try to play on public opinion within both countries. Speculating on the Armenians' national distress has not yet proved its effectiveness, but one would not like to learn about it retroactively, when a Russophobic core has already formed within Armenian society."


ԼՂԻՄ-ում ապրել են ադրբեջանցիներ․ ես համաձայն չեմ այն մտքին, որ Արցախը պիտի լիներ հայկական․ Նիկոլ Փաշինյան

Նիկոլ Փաշինյանն ասուլիսի ժամանակ պատասխանելով լրագրողների հարցերին կապված Արցախի և մասնավորապես ԼՂԻՄ տարածքների բանացային սեղանին լինելու մասին ասել է, որ ԼՂԻՄ-ում ապրել են ադրբեջանցիներ։
«ԼՂԻՄ-ը բանակցային բովանդակության մեջ երբեք հայկական չի եղել։ Ես նախկինում բանակցային բովանդակության վերաբերյալ իմ վերապահումները արտահայտելիս ասել եմ՝ ենթադրենք էդ հանրաքվեն, ենթադրենք հայկական մեկնաբանությամբ պիտի տեղի ունենար, իսկ հայկական մեկնաբանությունը երբեք չի ժխտել, որ հանրաքվեին պիտի մասնակցեն ԼՂ ադրբեջանցի բնակիչները, հիմա երբ ինքնորոշման իրավունքը իրացվում էր, հարց, իսկ ԼՂ ադրբեջանցիները այդ համատեքստում իրենց հերթին կարող են բարձրացնել իրենց ինքնորոշման խնդիրը: ԼՂ-ն միշտ դիտարկվել է ադրբեջանական և հայկական տարածք, եթե ինքնորոշման հարցը լուծվեր, բա Ադրբեջանի բնակիչը որտեղ պետք է բնակվեր, իսկ որ հայկական կողմը բանակցություններում ընդունել է այս իրողությունը կարող եմ ապացուցել անհրաժեշտության դեպքում, եթե հարցնեք թե ի՞նչ աղետ է տեղի ունեցել 2016 թվականին բանակցությունների մեջ ես կպատասխանեմ՝ 2016 թվականին ներկայացվել է առաջարկությունների 3 փաթեթ, որտեղ 2011 թվականից ի վեր առաջին անգամ չի ներառվել նախադասություն այն մասին, որ ԼՂ-ն ստանում է միջանցիկ կարգավիճակ»,-ասաց Փաշինյանը՝ հավելելով, որ ՄԱԿ-ում 1993 թվականին ընդունվել է բանաձև որտեղ ասվում է, որ ԼՂ-ն Ադրբեջանի տարածաշրջան է և ճանաչում է Ադրբեջանի տարածքային ամբողջականությունը, այ սա է մեծ աղետ, որ եղել է 2016 թվականին։ Հարց է առաջանում ԼՂ-ն, ո՞ր երկրին է պատկանում։

Հարցին, թե երբ եկավ իշխանության, ինչ փուլում էին բանակցությունները, Փաշինյանն ասում է․ «Սերժ Սարգսյանն այդ ժամանակ ասաց՝ բանակցային գործընթացը կանգնած է, որովհետև Ադրբեջանի ակնկալիքները այդ գործընթացից անընդունելի են մեզ համար, սա կարևոր է»։ Փաշինյանը համարում է, որ այն մեղադրանքը թե ինքը հողեր է հանձնել անհիմն մեղադրանք է, փոխարենը լեգիտիմ է իրեն հողեր չհանձնելու մեջ մեղադրելը։ Արցախահայության ապագային անդրադառնալով ասաց, որ տեսնում է իրենց բնօրրանում ապրող, բարգավաճող ժողովուրդ։

Հարցին, թե Սերժ Սարգսյանը հայտարարել է, որ իր թողած ժառանգությունից Արցախը հայկական տարածք էր մնալու, սա չի հակասում Փաշինյանի այն հայտարարությանը, որ 2016 թվականին Սարգսյանը Արցախը թողել է դուրս բանակցային սեղանից, Փաշինյանն ասաց․ «Ուշադրություն դարձրեք, երբ տեսա այդ հայտարարությունը զարմացա, որովհետև այդ նախադասությունն ուղղակի նախադասություն չէ, դա ճշգրիտ մեջբերում է Լևոն Տետ-Պետրոսյանի «Պատերազմ, թե խաղաղություն» հոդվածից, որը նախագահի պնդմամբ Արցախը պետք է լինի հայկական, ինչն է խնդիրը, զարմացա որ Սերժ Սարգսյանը ժամանակին ասում էր, որ Արցախը երբեք չի լինելու Ադրբեջանի կազմում, իսկ հետո ասում էր՝ Արցախը պիտի լիներ հայկական, ես համաձայն չեմ այս մտքին։ Արցախը չէր կարող ամբողջությամբ լինել հայկական, ինչ է նշանակում պետք է լինի հայկական, ժողովրդի կազմը նկատի ունե՞ք, ոչ, երիցս ոչ, Արցախն ունենալու էր և հայկական և ադրբեջանական բնակչություն»,-ասաց նա։

«Եթե ՀՀ վարչապետն ես ու չես ապահովում ՀՀ տարածքային ամբողջականությունը, հրաժարական տուր». Վլադիմիր Եվսեև

«168 Ժամ»-ի զրուցակիցն է ԱՊՀ ինստիտուտի Կովկասի բաժնի ղեկավար, ռազմական փորձագետ Վլադիմիր Եվսեևը

– Պարոն Եվսեև, հետևում եք տարածաշրջանում ծավալվող իրադարձություններին: Այս օրերին և հատկապես նոյեմբերի 16-ին ծանր մարտական լոկալ գործողություններ բռնկվեցին հայ-ադրբեջանական սահմանին: Ադրբեջանը մեծ ուժերով հարձակվեց Հայաստանի վրա: Ինչո՞ւ սա տեղի ունեցավ:

– Հիմնական պատճառը տարածաշրջանում և կողմերի միջև ուժային հավասարակշռության փոփոխությունն է: Ադրբեջանն իրեն ուժեղ է զգում, ավելի հանդուգն է իրեն դրսևորում։ Բացի այդ՝ Ադրբեջանը հաղթանակի էյֆորիայի տակ է և, չգիտես ինչու, իրեն թվում է, որ Թուրքիան մշտապես յուրաքանչյուր հարցում լինելու է Ադրբեջանի կողքին: Սա շատ սխալ դիրքորոշում է: Թուրքիան երբեք Ադրբեջանի համար չի պատերազմի Ռուսաստանի Դաշնության դեմ: Դա անհնար է: Այն դեպքում, երբ Ադրբեջանը ստեղծի մի այնպիսի իրավիճակ, երբ Ռուսաստանը չունենա ընտրության հնարավորություն, ապա Ադրբեջանը կմնա ՌԴ-ի հետ դեմ-հանդիման: Ադրբեջանի փոխարեն՝ իրավիճակը նման ուղղությամբ չէի տանի: Նույնը վերաբերում է Ուկրաինային՝ ուկրաինացիների փոխարեն՝ սեփական հարցերի համար ոչ ոք չի պատերազմելու՝ ո՛չ ամերիկացիները, ո՛չ լեհերը, ո՛չ թուրքերը, ո՛չ ոք նրանց փոխարեն չի պատերազմելու: Նույնն այստեղ է: Իրավիճակը սկսում է փոխվել: Այն, որ խոսել են Ռուսաստանի ու Իրանի ղեկավարները՝ չափազանց կարևոր հանգամանք է:

– Ինչո՞վ է, ըստ Ձեզ, դա կարևոր:

– Դա խոսում է համատեղ գործողությունների համակարգման մասին, որը զսպելու է Թուրքիային և Ադրբեջանին՝ հատկապես Հարավային Կովկասում: Ցանկանում եմ հիշեցնել, որ այս ամենից առաջ Իրանն անցկացրեց մասշտաբային զորավարժություններ՝ ամենամասշտաբայինը վերջին տարիների ընթացքում Նախիջևանի մոտ: Զորավարժությունն անցկացրեց Իսլամական հեղափոխության պահապանների կորպուսը, Իրանը պատրաստ է ՌԴ-ի հետ համատեղ գործողությունների, քանի որ իրեն ևս անհանգստացնում է իր հարևանությամբ ուժերի հավասարակշռության փոփոխությունը, և պատրաստ է հանդես գալ երկրի տարածքային ամբողջականության խախտման դեպքում, այս դեպքում՝ Հայաստանի: Ուստի Ադրբեջանը շատ չի առաջ մղում իր այդ դիրքորոշումը, քանի որ զգում է Իրանի ու Ռուսաստանի դիմակայությունը:

Սակայն, որպեսզի նման իրավիճակներ այլևս չլինեն, հարկավոր է, որպեսզի ՀՀ ղեկավարությունն ընդունի մի շարք որոշումներ, որոնք բնական են այս իրավիճակում: ՀՀ-ում երկրորդ ռուսական ռազմաբազայի ձևավորումը կենսական նշանակության հարց է, ինչպես նաև ռուսական խաղաղապահ ուժերի տեղակայումը հայ-ադրբեջանական սահմանին, ինչպես նաև սահմանապահ ծառայության տեղակայումը: Ցավոք, ՀՀ ղեկավարությունն ԱՄՆ-ի և նրա գործընկերների ճնշումների ներքո սրան չի գնում, ես դա սխալ եմ համարում: Պետք չէ անընդհատ հղում անել Ռուսաստանին, դիմել, պետք է անել այն գործողությունները, որոնք կապահովեն ՀՀ անվտանգությունը, առավել ևս, երբ Ռուսաստանն ու Իրանը սկսեն կոորդինացնել իրենց գործողությունները: Այդ դեպքում ստեղծվում է օդային միջանցք, որից ՌԴ-ն կարող է ՀՀ զորք և զինամթերք տեղափոխել: Այլ նմանատիպ միջանցքներ Ռուսաստանը չունի: Սա շատ կարևոր է: Բայց ինչ-որ հղումներ են արվում նաև միֆական Արևմուտքին, կգան ամերիկացիները… ամերիկացիները հայերի փոխարեն՝ Հայաստանում չեն պատերազմելու: Սա լիակատար հիմարություն է: Ֆրանսիացիները՝ ևս:

– Ինչպես նաև ռուսները, ի դեպ, ՌԴ-ն այնուամենայնիվ ռազմավարական դաշնակից է:

– Այո, ես պարզաբանում եմ՝ ինչու է այդպես: Ոչ ոք չի անելու: Նման պատրանքներով պետք չէ տարվել: Միֆական ընկերներ պետք չէ փնտրել, պետք է կառուցել հարաբերություններ նրանց հետ, ովքեր կան ոչ թե՝ ՀԱՊԿ շրջանակում, այլ՝ երկկողմ մակարդակում և առկա իրավապայմանագրային բազայի վրա:

– Պարոն Եվսեև, հենց այդ բազայի հիման վրա ՀՀ ԱԽՔ Արմեն Գրիգորյանը հայտարարում է, որ Երևանը դիմում է Մոսկվային ռազմական օգնության խնդրանքով 1997թ․ երկկողմ փաստաթղթի համաձայն: Իհարկե, շատ ռուսաստանցի վերլուծաբաններ քննարկում են՝ կա՞ գրավոր դիմում, նամակ, թե՞ ոչ, սակայն գլխավոր հարցն այն է, որ կա խնդրահարույց իրավիճակ նույնիսկ այս դիմումի շուրջ: Ի՞նչ է կատարվում:

– Ես Ձեզ ասում եմ՝ չպետք է օգնության խնդրանքով դիմել, քանի որ նման խնդրանքով կարելի է յուրաքանչյուր ամիս, ամեն շաբաթ դիմել: ՀՀ իշխանություններից գործողություններ են պահանջվում, ոչ թե նամակներ: Պետք են կոնկրետ գործողություններ, իսկ թե ինչո՞ւ չեն նախաձեռնվում, ես չգիտեմ: Կարծում եմ՝ ԱՄՆ ճնշման հետևանք է, քանի որ նրանք չեն ցանկանում ՀՀ-ում ՌԴ ռազմական ներկայության ընդլայնում: Պետք են քայլեր, ոչ թե խնդրանքներ կամ նամակներ: Հասկանալի է, որ Ռուսաստանը կօգնի, սակայն խնդիրը չի լուծվում երկարաժամկետ առումով: Իսկ խնդրանքներով նա Ռուսաստանին վատ դրության մեջ է գցում, կան ոչ միայն տեխնիկական, այլև քաղաքական բազմաթիվ հարցեր: Գյումրիից Ղարաբաղ, նայեք՝ ինչ տարածություն է: Գյումրիի բազան նախատեսված է Թուրքիայի զսպման համար, բայց ոչ՝ ԼՂ-ի համար: Հերի՛ք է շատախոսությամբ զբաղվեն, պետք չէ խոսել միֆական բաների մասին, դա արդեն զզվեցրել է բոլորին: Իսկ գործողություն ՀՀ իշխանության կողմից չկա:

– Այսինքն՝ ՌԴ-ն պատրաստ է կատարել իր պայմանագրային պարտավորությունները, բայց ՀՀ իշխանություննե՞րն են իրենց քայլերով դրան խոչընդոտում:

– ՀՀ իշխանությունները երկերեսանիությամբ են զբաղվում: Նրանք խոսքերով ասում են՝ պետք է օգնություն, բայց որպեսզի այդ օգնությունն իրականացվի, հարկավոր է ենթակառուցվածք: Իսկ ենթակառուցվածք չեն ցանկանում ստեղծել, քանի որ դա ամերիկացիները չեն ցանկանում: Ի վերջո, կողմնորոշվեք՝ ի՞նչ եք ցանկանում: Եթե ցանկանում եք, որ ՌԴ-ն օգնի, ստեղծեք ռազմական ենթակառուցվածք, կամ պետք է շարունակեք դատարկաբանել: Սա Երևանի ինչ-որ հրապարակ չէ, շատախոսել պետք չէ, այլ պետք են կոնկրետ գործողություններ:

– Դուք ասում եք, որ ամերիկացիները չեն գա, բայց կարծում եք՝ պատահակա՞ն է, որ ԱԽ քարտուղարը խոսում է այլ կենտրոնների դիմելու մասին: Ըստ Ձեզ՝ դա հնարավո՞ր չէ, կամ՝ եթե ՌԴ-ն չի օգնում գործնականում, ի՞նչ է պետք անել:

– ՌԴ-ն կօգնի ամեն դեպքում, ես ասացի: Բայց ես հենց այս մասին էի ասում, ինչո՞ւ են նման բաներ ասվում: Եթե Հայաստանը ցանկանում է ԱՄՆ օգնություն, ի սեր Աստծո, կարող են դիմել: Բայց ցավալի է, քանի որ հայ ժողովուրդն է շարունակելու տառապել, ոչ թե իշխանությունը, որը գալու և գնալու է, տառապելու են հայերը, որոնք արդյունքում ՀՀ տարածքում ցեղասպանվելու են:

– Ձեր կարծիքով՝ ո՞րն է ՀՀ իշխանությունների քայլերի տրամաբանությունը, փոխել ՀՀ անվտանգային համակարգը, փոխել կուրսը դեպի Արևմուտք:

– Ոչ, սա արվում է հայ-ռուսական ռազմական համագործակցության հիմքերը թուլացնելու համար:

– Ինչո՞ւ, ո՞րն է նպատակը դրա:

– Պարտության մեղքը ՌԴ-ի վրա բարդելու ցանկությունը: Եթե դու պետության վարչապետ ես, պետք է ապահովես երկրի տարածքային ամբողջականությունը, եթե դու դա չես ապահովում, հրաժարական տուր: Եթե Դուք այդ խնդիրը չեք կարողանում կատարել, որը պետության ամենակարևոր գործառույթներից մեկն է, հեռացեք, թող այլ մարդիկ գան, որոնք կկարողանան դա անել: Իսկ նա բոլոր ուժերով կառչել է իշխանությունից: Երկրում ստեղծված այս իրավիճակի համար, երբ իրանցի վարորդների համար ճանապարհը փակվել է, տեղաշարժը երկրում սահմանափակվել է, ո՞վ է մեղավոր՝ Ռուսաստա՞նը, թե՞ ՀՀ իշխանությունը: Ռուսաստանին պետք չէ շանտաժի ենթարկել, Ռուսաստանը հայերի փոխարեն չի պատերազմելու Հայաստանում, Ռուսաստանը կարող է դա անել հայերի հետ, իսկ այստեղ չես հասկանում, թե ինչ է, երկերեսանիություն է սա: Ինձ նյարդայնացնում է ՀՀ իշխանության վարքագիծը: Նրանք էլ անձամբ հակառուսական տրամադրություններ են հրահրում:

Փաշինյանը շատ ծանր դաս է ստացել․ հայ և ռուս փորձագետները վերլուծում են նրա մոսկովյան այցը

Հայաստանի ղեկավարությունը հասկանում է, որ տարածաշրջանում անվտանգության մարտահրավերներն ու սպառնալիքները կարելի է հաղթահարել միայն Ռուսաստանի հետ համագործակցության դեպքում։

ԵՐԵՎԱՆ, 8 հուլիսի - Sputnik. Ռուս սենատոր, ՌԴ Դաշնային խորհրդի միջազգային հարցերով կոմիտեի նախագահի առաջին տեղակալ Վլադիմիր Ջաբարովը «լավ նշան» է անվանել խորհրդարանական ընտրություններում հաղթելուց հետո ՀՀ վարչապետի պաշտոնակատար Նիկոլ Փաշինյանի առաջին այցը Մոսկվա: Նա այդ մասին ասաց Sputnik Արմենիա մուլտիմեդիոն հարթակում կազմակերպված տեսակամուրջի ժամանակ։ Ջաբարովի խոսքով՝ շատ կարևոր է, որ ընտրություններից հետո առաջին այցը Փաշինյանը կատարեց հենց Ռուսաստանի մայրաքաղաք։ Հայաստանի ղեկավարությունը հասկանում է, թե որքան կարևոր է Ռուսաստանի հետ համագործակցությունը տարածաշրջանում անվտանգության հարցերում, Ղարաբաղի շուրջ ստեղծված իրավիճակում։ Քաղաքագետ, պատմաբան Արմեն Գասպարյանն էլ իր հերթին ասաց, որ Փաշինյանի այցը ևս մեկ անգամ ցույց է տալիս, որ հաշվարկները, թե ԱՄՆ-ն, Ֆրանսիան կամ Գերմանիան կօգնեն Հայաստանին հաղթահարել մարտահրավերները, չարդարացան:

«Մեր աչքի առաջ տրանսֆորմացիա տեղի ունեցավ։ Քաղաքական գործիչը, որն իշխանության էր գնում տրամագծորեն այլ հայացքներով, և որը լրիվ այլ իրականության մեջ է հայտնվել։ Մի բան է, երբ խորհրդարանում ընդդիմություն ես, կարող ես ում ասես քննադատել և ինչ ասես ասել, և բոլորովին այլ բան է, երբ դու վարչապետ ես»,-նշեց Գասպարյանը։

Նա հիշեցրեց, որ անցյալ շաբաթ Մոսկվա էր այցելել Հայաստանի պաշտպանության նախարարության պատվիրակությունը, որը քննարկել է 102-րդ ռուսական ռազմակայանի ուժերի կողմից սահմանամերձ տարածքների ուժեղացման հետ կապված հարցերը, ինչպես նաև Մոսկվայի միջնորդությամբ հայ-ադրբեջանական համատեղ հանձնաժողովի ստեղծումը: Հենց այդ պատճառով Գասպարյանի համար բացարձակապես հասկանալի էր, թե ուր պետք է Փաշինյանը գնար։ Նա կարծում է, որ Փաշինյանը շատ ծանր դաս է ստացել։ Թե որքանով այն կյուրացվի, ժամանակը ցույց կտա։

«Մինչև այս պահը հայ գերիների հարցը լիովին լուծված չէ». Փաշինյանը` Պուտինին

 Ո՞վ է Ռուբէն Ռուբինեանը․ բրիտանական կամ թուրքական ազդեցութեան գործակա՞լ է․ Նաիրի Հոխիկեան

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Յունուարի 17-ին ՀՀ ԱԺ-ում ելոյթի ժամանակ փոխխօսնակ Ռուբէն Ռուբինեանը, ով նաև հայ-թուրքական յանձնախմբում համակարգում է հայկական կողմի աշխատանքը, սպառնաց, թէ այլևս համբերատար չի լինի նրանց նկատմամբ, ովքեր իրեն կ’անուանեն թուրքական ազդեցութեան գործակալ։

Նախ՝ գիտի՞ արդեօք Ռուբէնը, թէ ինչ է նշանակում «ազդեցութեան գործակալ» տերմինը։ 2018-ի աշնանը, երբ այն ժամանակուայ փոխնախարարներից մէկի առաջարկով Երևանի «Շերեփ» ռեստորանում հանդիպեցի այն ժամանակ ԱԳՆ փոխնախարար Ռուբէն Ռուբինեանի հետ, կարճ զրոյցի ընթացքում հասկացայ, որ գաղափար չունի, թէ ինչ պաշտօն է զբաղեցնում, չգիտէր, թէ ինչ է «ժողովրդական դիւանագիտութիւնը (soft diplomacy), որը քաղաքագիտութեան ֆակուլտետի իւրաքանչիւր առաջին կուրսեցի լաւ գիտի։ Դա Ռուբէնի հետ իմ առաջին ու վերջին հանդիպումն էր։ Իմաստ չունէր էլի հանդիպել, թէպետ ոգևորութեամբ իր հեռախօսի համարը տուեց, որ խօսենք։ Այսօր էլ կասկածում եմ, թէ նա գիտի՝ ինչ է ազդեցութեան գործակալի իմաստը, ինչպէս որ չգիտի, թէ ինքը ինչպէս է յայտնուել թուրքական ազդեցութեան գօտում։

Ազդեցութեան գործակալ բառն առաջացել է դեռևս 20-րդ դարի կէսերին՝ սառը պատերազմի ժամանակ, երբ ԽՍՀՄ և ԱՄՆ յատուկ ծառայութիւնները բարեկամանում ու իրենց ազդեցութեանն էին ենթարկում միմեանց պաշտօնեաներին, հասարակական, քաղաքական ու մշակոյթի գործիչներին, լրագրողներին։ Սրանք էլ, սկզբնական շրջանում, ոչինչ չհասկանալով, իրենց կամքից անկախ, իրենց երկրում քարոզում են հակառակ կողմի արժէքները։ Ժամանակի ընթացքում նրանք այնքան են տարւում միւս երկրով, որ իրենց գործողութիւնները համակարգում են հէնց այդ երկրների յատուկ ծառայութիւնների հետ։ Այսինքն՝ ազդեցութեան գործակալը վերածւում է իրական, մտածուած գործակալի։

Հիմա վերադառնանք Ռուբէն Ռուբինեանին։ 1990 թուականի մարտի 8-ին ծնուած այս տղան ԵՊՀ-ն աւարտելուց անմիջապէս յետոյ՝ 2011-ին յատուկ ծրագրով տեղափոխուել է Մեծ Բրիտանիա, սովորել այնտեղ մէկ տարի, իսկ 2012-ին նոյնպիսի յատուկ ծրագրով սովորել Լեհաստանում։ 2017-ին Թուրքիայում գործող «Հրանտ Տինք» հիմնադրամի ֆինանսաւորմամբ տեղափոխուել է Թուրքիա և ուշադրութիւն դարձրէք, «փորձի փոխանակման նախագծի» շրջանակում հետազօտութիւն իրականացրել Ստամբուլի «Սաբանջը» համալսարանում։

Երկու խօսք թուրքական «Սաբանջը» համալսարանի մասին։ Այս բուհի հիմնադիրը թուրք ազգայնական գործարար Հաջը Օմերն է, ով 1934 թուականին Քեմալ Աթաթուրքի խորհրդով ընտրել է Սաբանջը ազգանունը և նոյն Աթաթուրքի օգնութեամբ տիրացել Ատանայի հայերի անհատական ու եկեղեցապատկան ունեցուածքին՝ ընդհանուր առմամբ՝ 100 մլրդ դոլար։ Այս թուրքի զաւակները քարոզչական կրթութեան նպատակներով 1994 թուականին հիմնել են «Սաբանջը» համալսարանը՝ այնտեղ աշխատելով հիմնականում օտարերկրացի ուսանողների հետ՝ ուղեղների լուացման, ազդեցութեան գործակալ դարձնելու համար։ Թուրքական այդ բուհի դասախօսների մէջ շատ են Թուրքիայի յատուկ ծառայութիւնների աշխատակիցները։

Ռուբէն Ռուբինեանը 2017-2018 թուականներին հետազօտութիւն է արել հենց «Սաբանջը» համալսարանում և Հայաստան է վերադարձել 2018-ի ապրիլեան հանրահաւաքների օրերին։ Չմոռանանք, որ Նիկոլ Փաշինեանի Գիւմրի-Երևան քայլերթը և արագաչափեր փակելու արդիւնաւէտութիւնը առաջին անգամ փորձարկուել է 2017-ի յուլիսին նոյն Թուրքիայում՝ Անկարա-Ստամբուլ քայլերթով։

Ռուբէն Ռուբինեանի սիրելի թուրքական «Սաբանջը» համալսարանում գործող «Ստամբուլի քաղաքականութեան կենտրոնում» (IPC) էլ հէնց մշակուել է «ՀԿ-ների դերի բարձրացման և նրանց միջոցով քաղաքական փոփոխութիւններ իրականացնելու նախագիծը»։ Նոյն Ռուբէնը հէնց «Ստամբուլի քաղաքականութեան կենտրոնում» (IPC) եղել 1 տարի։ Հիմա հռետորական հարց։ Ռուբէն Ռուբինեանը բրիտանական կամ թուրքական ազդեցութեան գործակա՞լ է։ Այդ տղան սպառնում է, թէ չկայ մէկը, ով կը կարողանայ իր դիմաց ասել իր մասին նման բան։ Ես կարող եմ»։

«Հանուն նոր միության» Շարժումը շարունակում է ընդլայնվել
Ինչպես հայտնում են «Ուժեղ Հայաստանը Ռուսաստանի հետ. հանուն նոր Միության» Շարժման գործադիր կոմիտեից, այս տարի աշխատանքները արդեն սկսվել են: Շարժումը պլանավորում է հիմնել Շարժման խորհուրդներ մի շարք մարզկենտրոններում ու քաղաքներում: Մոտակա շաբաթ օրը, հունվարի 15-ին հիմնադրվելու է Աշտարակի շրջանային խորհուրդը, իսկ եկող շաբաթ նախատեսվում է այցեր Շիրակի եւ Վայոց Ձորի մարզեր, ինչպես նաեւ Մասիսի շրջանային խորհրդի հիմնադրումը: Ստեղծվել է Շարժման կայքը`, որտեղ ներկայացված է Շարժման մեկամյա պատմությունը, ներկա գործունեւթյունը եւ մոտակա ծրագրերը: Շարժումը նաեւ ստանում է նվիրատվություններ` Գեղամ Մ.-ն Երեւանից` 40 000դրամ, Վահրամ Մ.-ն Երեւանից` 40 000, Արթուր Ս.-ն Հրազդանից` 100 000 եւ Սիմոն Մ.-ն Մոսկվայից 100 000:


Ինչը կարող է փրկել Հայաստանին. Կուրղինյանը` ստեղծված իրավիճակի մասին. տեսանյութ

Սերգեյ Կուրղինյանը համոզված է, որ Իսրայելի ֆենոմենն այն է, որ հրեա ժողովուրդը կարճ ժամանակում շատ ուժեղ պետություն է ստեղծել, սակայն այն ևս շուտով կարող է վերանալ աշխարհի քարտեզից, քանի որ ընտրել է ապամարդկայնացման ճանապարհը։ 
Արդյո՞ք Հայաստանը գիտակցում է, որ այսօր կանգնած է անդունդի եզրին` հարց է տալիս ռուսաստանցի գիտնական, «Ժամանակի էությունը» շարժման առաջնորդ, թատերական ռեժիսոր Սերգեյ Կուրղինյանը։

Ինչո՞ւ է Բաքուն առաջ քաշում ԼՂ խնդրի հայ-ադրբեջանական տարբերակը. Բաբայանը` իրավիճակի մասին

Youtube–ի ալիքում իր հաղորդման շրջանակներում, ժամանակակից քաղաքականության մասին մտորելով, գիտնականը, Բիսմարկի խոսքերը փոքր-ինչ ձևափոխելով, հայտարարում է, որ քաղաքականությունն այսօր արդեն անհնարինի արվեստն է, քանի որ մի շարք երկրներ փլուզման ու անհետացման վտանգի առաջ են կանգնել։ Կուրղինյանը նշում է այն պատճառները, որոնք ժողովուրդներին հասցրել են այդ եզրին` խոսելով գլխավոր պատճառի մասին` սպառողական հանրությունը ի զորու չէ արարել և զարգանալ։ Նա օրինակ է բերել և՛ Իսրայելին, և՛ ԱՄՆ–ին, և՛ Ռուսաստանին` բացատրելով, որ այդ երկրները հեռացել են իրենց  հոգևոր առաքելությունից։

Կառավարությունն արտահերթ նիստ է հրավիրել. օրակարգում` մեկ հարց

Գիտնականը կարծում է, որ Հայաստանը կարող է փրկվել միայն ներկայիս կիսաքաղքենիական գոյությունից մեկ այլ իրականություն ցատկ կատարելով։  Նա համոզված է, որ իրավիճակը, որում հայտնվել է երկիրը ներկա պահին, ոչ թե քաղաքական է, այլ էքզիստենցիալ, և Հայաստանը բաժանվել է ոչ թե քաղաքական, այլ կյանքի ու մահվան ճամբարների։

«Нахичеванский транспортный коридор»: угрозы и возможности для России

Идея создания так называемого «нахичеванского транспортного коридора» родилась и получила оформление в концептуальном виде в результате мирного соглашения между Арменией и Азербайджаном по Нагорному Карабаху. Соглашение было подписано по инициативе России, и «нахичеванский транспортный коридор» – его составная часть (Заявление Президента Азербайджанской Республики, Премьер-министра Республики Армения и Президента Российской Федерации от 10 ноября 2020 г., п.9).

«Нахичеванский транспортный коридор» — это сеть транспортных коммуникаций, расположенных вдоль южной границы Армении с Ираном и идущих на запад Азербайджана. Нахичевань – автономный экстерриториальный анклав Азербайджана на территории Армении со времён СССР.

В советское время регион обладал развитой сетью дорог в сторону от России к Ирану и Турции через Азербайджан и Армению, проходя через Нахичевань. В результате Нагорно-Карабахского конфликта в 1993 году дорожная сеть была перекрыта, что повлекло сухопутную блокаду Армении от России – основного торгового партнёра. После тридцати лет блокады транспортное сообщение восстанавливается.

«Нахичеванский транспортный коридор» позволяет соединить Азербайджан, Армению и Россию с Ираном и Турцией прямым сухопутным сообщением, неподконтрольным США, тем самым вернув регион к степени транспортной связности времён СССР и восстановив региональное геополитическое значение России, Ирана и Турции.

В советский период по нахичеванской жедезнодорожной линии осуществлялись крупные региональные перевозки между Россией, Ираном и Турцией. Перекрытие этой коммуникации стало в своё время крупной геополитической победой США, повлекшей глобальные последствия в Евразии.

Основой «нахичеванского транспортного коридора» является нахичеванская железная дорога, с советского времени связывавшая Ереван (станция Масис), Нахичевань и Баку. Это единственная и кратчайшая сухопутная коммуникация между Россией и Арменией. Разблокирование этой магистрали обнуляет геополитический выигрыш США конца 80-х – начала 90-х и возвращает ситуацию к периоду независимых экономических связей трёх региональных центров силы, соперничающих с США в Евразии. 

Восстановление и развитие «нахичеванского транспортного коридора» усиливает ЕАС, так как облегчает доступ на его рынки для Армении. Также Армения получает железнодорожное сообщение с Ираном и Турцией. Для России «нахичеванский транспортный коридор» означает альтернативный сухопутный маршрут к рынкам Ближнего Востока, и, в первую очередь, к Ирану и Турции, где товарооборот стабильно растёт.

Турция получает доступ к Каспийскому морю через Азербайджан, получив возможность отказаться от использования дорог Грузии и Ирана. Россия, Турция и Иран становятся более независимыми от США, что непременно скажется на их внешней политике.  

Для Азербайджана восстановление «нахичеванского транспортного коридора» означает крупный геополитический приз. Первое: Азербайджан получает транспортный коридор в Турцию и дальше, что облегчает все прочие военно-политические и инфраструктурные проекты между этими двумя странами.

Второе: Азербайджан уходит от риска превращения в вассала Турции и утраты субъектности. Он становится лишь младшим партнёром, но остаётся важным региональным игроком в Закавказье, обусловливая торговые связи Турции, Ирана и России по кратчайшему маршруту.

Третье: из-за возможности подключения Армении к коммуникации, имеющей для неё стратегическое значение, Азербайджан получает влияние на политические процессы в Армении и позицию её элит, прежде всего в вопросах войны и мира в Нагорном Карабахе и его окрестностях.

Речь идёт о риске прихода в Армении к власти сил реванша. В случае победы на выборах они попадают под мощное давление пророссийских групп и прежде всего российского руководства, какое бы оно ни было. Так Азербайджан вовлекает Армению в мирный процесс, фиксируя выгодные условия мира в первую очередь для Азербайджана и препятствуя их пересмотру.

Нынешняя правящая группа в Армении во главе с Пашиняном понимает, что «нахичеванский транспортный коридор» — это перспектива нескольких дорог из Армении как в Россию, так и к Персидскому заливу. Пашинян уже заявил, что это «имеет переломное значение» в истории конфликта Армении и Азербайджана и в корне меняет ситуацию в регионе.

Армения становится транзитной страной и принуждается к миру ещё одним экономическим рычагом, будучи обязанной гарантировать безопасность перевозок по «нахичеванскому транспортному коридору», позволяя тем самым строить новые коммуникации из Азербайджана в Нахичевань и повышая региональную транспортную связность в интересах как Армении, так и всех региональных центров силы.

В настоящее время Азербайджан приступил к разработке ТЭО на строительство дороги от железнодорожной станции города Горадиза (Физулинский район Азербайджана) до Нахичевани, и строительство дороги займет максимум два года. Горадиз входил в состав территорий, занятых армянским ополчением Карабаха, но возвращён Азербайджану в результате боёв осени 2020 года.

В целом проект «нахичеванского транспортного коридора» интегрирован в проект «Север-Юг», соединяющий по суше Санкт-Петербург и индийский Мумбаи, а также интегрированный ранее в этот проект участок линии БТК (Баку-Тбилиси-Карс), соединяющий Азербайджан, Грузию и Турцию и повышающий значимость грузинской логистики.

Все три проекта взаимодополняемы и при некоторой конкурентности отдельных фрагментов в целом являются мощным евразийским логистическим комплексом, способным даже повлиять на отношения между ЕС и США, снижая ресурс влияния Вашингтона на Брюссель и повышая субъектность Германии и Франции.

В интересах снижения зависимости от доступа к краткосрочным кредитным ресурсам США лидеры ЕС ищут путей на Восток, и рост его инвестиционной перспективы объективно ведёт к снижению американского могущества.

Постановка проблемы.

Очевидно, что «нахичеванский транспортный коридор» становится мощным стабилизирующим фактором в регионе, повышая значимость слабых звеньев (Армения и Азербайджан) и создавая зону компромисса геополитических устремлений России, Турции и Ирана.

Однако это серьёзно ущемляет интересы США, и потому следует ждать ответной реакции Вашингтона, который будет всеми силами стремиться сорвать процесс и вернуть ситуацию к состоянию войны. Проигрывает и Грузия, чьи логистические возможности становятся неактуальными, так как «нахичеванский транспортный коридор» на 340 км короче ныне действующей линии «Баку-Тбилиси-Карс».

Одновременно возникают риски для транзитного проекта между Афганистаном, Турцией, Туркменистаном, Азербайджаном и Грузией, названного «Лазуритовый коридор», куда входит комплекс железных и автомобильных дорог от Герата через Ашхабад и порт Туркменбаши на Каспии до Баку с ответвлениями на Поти и Батуми и от Анкары до Стамбула.

«Лазуритовый коридор» - это фрагмент Великого Шёлкового пути, пущенный в эксплуатацию в 2018 году. Однако в связи с низким объёмом и узкой номенклатурой грузов из Афганистана (ковры, сухофрукты, малое количество полудрагоценных и драгоценных камней) по этому логистическому маршруту возможны лишь разовые акции.

Однако «Лазуритовый коридор» - это не экономика, а геополитика. Борьба за вовлечение Афганистана в свою орбиту происходит между США, Британией, Россией и Китаем. В ней участвуют Индия и Пакистан, пытается найти себе место Азербайджан, повышая свой транзитный статус. Суть проекта – объединение Афганистана с Центральной Азией по схеме «5+1», продвигаемой США в целях не допустить в регион Россию и Китай.

Также для США критически важно увеличить контролируемые возможности наркотрафика. Афганистан и Грузия – реперные точки для США, через них они входят в региональную систему Южного Кавказа, ключевую для стабильности в Евразии. Поэтому США всеми силами постараются не допустить снижения транзитного потенциала Грузии. Они будут делать всё возможное, чтобы превратить «нахичеванский транспортный коридор» в новый очаг конфликта.

Объём потерь Грузии от некоторого снижения грузопотока по коридору БТК потенциально можно скомпенсировать увеличением объёмов торговли в регионе в результате его инфраструктурного развития. Однако Грузия отвергает предложения об участии в проектах, где участвует Россия.

Получение же мультипликативного эффекта для Грузии возможно лишь при условии её интегрированности в имеющиеся проекты, а для этого в регионе необходимо сотрудничество и «дружба народов». Если это произойдёт, Грузия утратит нынешнюю зависимость от патронажа США. Влияние же США на транзит с Юга на Запад будет ослаблено, что повысит автономию ЕС.  Понятно, что инциденты с расширением воронки конфликтов в регионе гарантированы.   

У Ирана в отношении восстановления прямого транспортного маршрута из Турции в Азербайджан через территорию Армении возникает конфликт интересов. С одной стороны, для Ирана выгодно усиление возможностей внешней торговли по неподконтрольным США маршрутам, проходящим через территорию Ирана. 

С другой стороны, Иран долгие годы был логистической альтернативой замороженному нахичеванскому маршруту, получая плату за транзит и сохраняя влияние на Баку. Теперь это влияние уменьшается, и всё, что теряет Иран, перетекает к Турции и России.

Больше того, Турция как извечный соперник Ирана, получает выход к Тихому океану, что неизбежно усиливает её геополитический потенциал. Здесь возникает точка пересечения интересов США и Ирана – им обоим не выгодно усиление Турции.

Возможно, этот аспект способен стать темой для сепаратных переговоров Ирана и США на предмет неких возможных координаций, и к влиянию на этот процесс сразу подключатся Израиль, ЕС и Россия. Возникает потенциальный узел интересов и активных переговорных процессов, что будет обеспечиваться целым комплексом сопровождающих и подготовительных действий.

Причём, по умолчанию за всеми действиями участников будет подразумеваться китайский фактор. Продвижение своего видения переговорной ситуации и своих интересов определит целый комплекс тенденций на ближайшее десятилетие.

Восстановление «нахичеванского транспортного коридора» объективно способствует возрождению идеи Транскаспийского газопровода, одной из частей газопровода «Набукко», ранее поддержанного США, но не состоявшегося в задуманном виде. Транскаспийский газопровод – это доставка газа из Туркмении и Казахстана в обход России через Азербайджан в Турцию и Грузию, и дальше в Европу. Две других его части – Трансанатолийский и Трансадриатический газопроводы – уже построены ранее (в 2019 и 2020 г.г.).

С учётом введённых в строй мощностей Турецкого потока и падения спроса на газ в связи с кризисом и эпидемией COVID-19 рентабельность Транскаспийского газопровода под вопросом, но это политический проект, и к нему так или иначе всегда будут пытаться вернуться.

При этом надо учесть, что тогда Транскаспийский газопровод планировался без учёта фактора ввода в действие Северного потка-2 и возросших амбиций Турции. Сейчас реализация Транскаспийского газопровода не только ударит по интересам России и Ирана, но и повысит независимость ЕС.

Это ещё больше увеличит выбор доступных для Европы альтернатив и ослабит влияние США на евразийском векторе. Транскаспийский газопровод объективно несёт в себе потенциальную возможность возникновения дополнительных проблем у США с вассалами и союзниками по НАТО.

Открытие «нахичеванского транспортного коридора» создаёт понижающее давление на цену иранского газа для Турции. Сейчас эта цена $490 за тысячу кубометров иранского газа, но прокладка газопровода через Нахичевань может снизить стоимость до $335. Кроме того, создаются дополнительные возможности для поставок газа из Туркмении в Турцию.

Кроме того, Иран теряет комиссионные доходы от транзита газа из Азербайджана в Нахичевань. Это 15% от цены транзита. К тому же через Иран идут поставки грузовым транспортом из Турции в Среднюю Азию. За проезд каждого турецкого грузовика до границы с Туркменистаном (протяжённость пути 1800 км.) Иран брал $800. Теперь доходы Ирана и его и влияние на Турцию снизятся.

Таким образом, устраняя старые конфликты интересов, «нахичеванский транспортный коридор» создаёт новые. Кроме прогнозируемого сопротивления США и Грузии, усиливаются Турция и Иран, региональные конкуренты и соперники в исламском мире. Причём, их соперничество усиливается в сфере влияния на Азербайджан, являющийся зоной стратегических интересов обеих стран.

Также объективно усиление Турции не в интересах Китая: эти две страны являются жёсткими конкурентами между собой на мировых рынках в сегменте лёгкой промышленности и производстве тканей. Формирование логистического анклава вокруг «нахичеванского транспортного коридора» усиливает ЕАЭС и несколько понижает монопольную роль китайского ОПОП, создавая альтернативные развязки и ослабляя позицию Китая на переговорах с Россией.


1. Восстановление мира в Закавказье в первую очередь предусматривает окончательное прекращение войны между Азербайджаном и Арменией по поводу Нагорного Карабаха.

2. Стабильный мир между Арменией и Азербайджаном возможен только при условии общей экономической выгоды и общих спонсорах этого вектора политического процесса.

3. «Нахичеванский транспортный коридор» - проект, способный генерировать общую зону стратегических интересов у главных региональных игроков: России, Ирана, Турции, и тем самым стать стабилизирующим фактором в регионе с глобальными последствиями.

4. Главными бенефициарами «нахичеванского транспортного коридора» становятся Россия, Азербайджан и Армения. Их положение однозначно упрочивается.

5. Двойственное положение получают Турция, Иран, Индия и Китай, впрямую в проекте не участвующий. Их выгоды уравновешиваются повышением издержек.  Они получают расширение возможностей и усиление статуса, но одновременно возрастает зона турбулентностей и политических и экономических рисков от косвенных потерь в виде упущенной выгоды и возросшего сопротивления партнёров и соперников.

6. Косвенным бенефициаром «нахичеванского транспортного коридора» становится ЕС, получая возможность играть на противоречиях и интересах России, Китая, США, Турции, Британии и Ирана.

7. Ухудшают своё положение США и Грузия. США – за счёт того, что участники проекта улучшают свои возможности без участия США, а Грузия – за счёт утраты статуса ключевого звена с золотой акцией для всех участников. Нынешняя политическая элита пришла к власти в Грузии именно на волне ожиданий бонусов и выгод от транзитного статуса, полученного с помощью США.

Снижение этого статуса влечёт рост внутренней напряжённости в Грузии (что отчасти уже имеет место) с последующей сменой политических элит и перспективой победы сил, в меньшей степени зависимых от США.

8. От кого будут зависеть новые элиты Грузии, станет ясно по итогам изменения расклада сил в Евразии – с учётом изменения роли России, Турции и Китая.

9. Заключение союза между Россией и Китаем в долгосрочной перспективе (10–20 лет) скажется на раскладе сил в Закавказье в целом и в Грузии в частности. Если США сохранят свои позиции, элита Грузии останется проамериканской. Если союз России и Китая спроецирует силу на зоны их интересов за пределами своих границ, при определении для Турции красных линий и согласовании стратегий, Грузия будет ориентироваться на восстановление отношений с Россией. В ином варианте этой стране грозит распад.

10. Россия получила возможность для силового влияния на действия участников процесса трансформации расклада сил в Закавказье и далее в Евразии. Дороги «нахичеванского транспортного коридора» будут охраняться погранвойсками ФСБ России. В сочетании с корпусом миротворцев в Нагорном Карабахе это решающий фактор предотвращения попыток дестабилизации обстановки в Карабахе и вокруг стратегической транспортной артерии.

11. Статус России как посредника в карабахском вопросе стал спасением политических элит Армении, Азербайджана и Карабаха. После того, как инфраструктурные проекты заработают, возникнет новая ситуация, и стороны смогут заключить новую сделку, исходя из сложившихся реалий. Главное, что в этой сделке не будут участвовать США.

12. США сделают всё возможное, чтобы обнулить выгоды от проекта для России, Турции и Ирана. Возрастают шансы военных конфликтов в Центральной Азии и на Дальнем Востоке, террористических диверсий в Закавказье. Разрешение межэлитного конфликта в Грузии при решающем участии США становится для Вашингтона условием сохранения контроля над процессами в Закавказье и далее в Евразии.

13. Британия в создавшейся ситуации получает чрезвычайно широкое поле для игры против всех участников, включая США и Афганистан. У Британии в регионе собственные интересы, и заключаются они в первую очередь в раздувании конфликта между всеми соперниками и союзниками. Через конфликт Британия будет вклиниваться в процесс и помогать всем в войне против всех. Только это расчистит поле для участия Британии в борьбе за новые контуры Евразии.

14. Наиболее эффективные действия России по поводу использования проекта «нахичеванский транспортный коридор» для восстановления своей зоны влияния на постсоветском пространстве сводятся к способности быть крайне полезной силой для всех активных игроков, кроме США и Британии. Интересы Турции, Азербайджана, Армении и Ирана не могут быть удовлетворены без согласия и помощи России.

15. Процессы, протекающие сейчас на территории между Арменией и Азербайджаном, носят решающее значение для возникновения двух кластеров глобальной экономики, свободных от прямого влияния США, – это зона соединения ЕАЭС под эгидой России и ОПОП под эгидой Китая.

Между этими кластерами Турция пытается втиснуть свой геополитический проект Великого Турана, без одобрения России и Китая не имеющий перспективы, так как он заточен на китайских уйгуров и российских тюрок. Одновременно началась работа по созданию институтов финансирования, расчётов и вооружённой охраны российско-китайских кластеров.


"Не вижу даже намеков на то, что российские власти понимают, как их вчистую обыгрывает трио Пашинян-Алиев-Эрдоган", - отмечает в интервью "ГА" политолог, профессор МГИМО Андраник МИГРАНЯН.

- Что происходит в армяно-российских отношениях – в политическом аспекте, общественных настроениях, как в Армении, так и в России? На фоне привычных фраз о вековой дружбе, стратегическом союзничестве и т.д., происходят, кажется, некие глубинные и весьма тревожные трансформации…

- Нынешние власти Армении давно уже устами своих СМИ и активистов позиционируют Россию врагом, а 44-дневную войну считают российско-турецкой войной против Армении. На протяжении последних 25-30 лет я неоднократно писал и говорил о том, что для России ключи от Южного Кавказа находятся не в Баку, не в Тбилиси, а в Ереване. Между тем Россия умудрилась допустить три грубейшие ошибки, в результате которых она вынуждена будет уйти из Южного Кавказа с самыми печальными для себя последствиями.

Давайте откровенно: пашиняновское правительство проводит свою линию полностью в унисон с Баку и Анкарой. Для них давнишней мечтой было скинуть Карабах Азербайджану. Дальше они нормализуют отношения с Турцией, а затем, вместе с Анкарой, Баку, Вашингтоном и Брюсселем потребуют от России убраться восвояси из региона вместе с миротворцами и военной базой за неимением здесь своей роли. Таков реальный сценарий…

- Вы сказали о грубейших ошибках, допущенных Россией в отношении Армении. Что за ошибки?

- В апреле 2018 года Россия безучастно смотрела на пашиняновский "майдан" и палец о палец не ударила, дабы предотвратить процесс разрушения армянского государства и государственности. Для примера: в прошлом году в Минске ситуация была хуже, однако Россия твердо стала за Лукашенко и все отыгралось. У Сержа Саргсяна ситуация была менее серьезной, но многие как в Ереване, так и в Москве хотели заменить его на более "приемлемого", тем самым открыв дорогу Николу. А Саргсяна оставили в одиночестве без какой-либо поддержки.

В итоге Армения получила полностью протурецко-азербайджанскую и проамериканскую власть. Далее: своей политикой равноудаленности (а на деле потворствуя разгулу проазербайджанской истерии в российских СМИ, экспертных кругах и т. д.), Москва потеряла поддержку и доверие большинства армянского народа. Эта пресловутая равноудаленность способствовала цементированию антироссийской и антиармянской политики также и по итогам последних досрочных парламентских выборов в Армении.

- Не говоря уже о бреде, который в это время несли некоторые так называемые эксперты в России, выдавая желаемое за действительное…

- И при том, что реальное негодование по отношению к пашиняновской власти было очень сильно в армянском обществе, но кто сделал хоть что-то, дабы использовать его для продвижения сил, на которые можно было бы положиться в долгосрочной перспективе?

Можно наивно кричать на каждом углу, дескать, Россия спасла Арцах (да и Армению) от полной оккупации, введя миротворческий контингент. Но суть в том, что Пашиняну это вовсе не нужно было – напротив, приход российских миротворцев помешал ему довести свое предательское дело до конца, до полной сдачи Арцаха с возможным впоследствии выбрасыванием российского фактора из Армении. Так что Николу помощь России была что мертвому припарка. Но для патриотически настроенных армян серия ошибок Москвы сделала российскую политику не только антиармянской, но и, в еще большей мере, антироссийской, неминуемо ведущей Россию в обозримой перспективе к выкидыванию из Южного Кавказа.

- Кто может остановить подобное развитие событий?

- Я сейчас не вижу сил в Армении, которые могли бы остановить предательскую политику Пашиняна. Также не вижу никаких намеков на то, что российские власти понимают, как их вчистую обыгрывает трио Пашинян-Алиев-Эрдоган. А за спиной этой троицы - Вашингтон и Лондон.

И самое последнее: скорее всего, в прошлом году можно было еще что-то спасти для России и Армении, но последовала еще одна грубая ошибка Москвы. Когда Генштаб ВС потребовал отставки Пашиняна, Москва не только не намекнула, что была бы рада приходу к власти пророссийских сил, но, наоборот, не позволила довести дело до устранения Пашиняна от власти.

Между тем, приди тогда к власти в Ереване пророссийские силы, они усилили бы позиции России в противодействии Баку и Анкаре в решении самых сложных региональных вопросов. Не сложилось бы ситуации "трое против одного", а было бы "двое против двух" (Россия-Армения и Турция-Азербайджан). Даже одна из вышеперечисленных ошибок - уже очень много для судьбы общества и государства. А уж такое количество роковых проколов со стороны Москвы – совсем чересчур.

Кстати, сегодня очень много спекуляций на тему "Зангезурского коридора", дескать, это выгодно России. Но до их пор ни один российский политик, дипломат, эксперт не смог вразумительно объяснить мифическую выгоду страны в данном контексте. Анкаре коридор выгоден, Баку тоже, а Москве – чем?! И в 90-е годы прошлого столетия, и в начале 2000-х как Россия, так и Иран были категорически против любых коридоров, соединяющих Турцию с Азербайджаном, демонстрируя совершенно четкую и принципиальную позицию в отношении известного "Плана Гобла".

Резюмируя: понятно, что предательская армянская власть имеет свою огромную долю ответственности в том, что произошло. Но огромная доля ответственности ложится и на российскую дипломатию, которая до сих пор не понимает, что она натворила. И с чем ей еще придется столкнуться в ближайшем будущем.


Пашинян предал Путина: Армения открывает "эру мира" с Турцией

Никол Пашинян сделал свой выбор, он обманул Москву и ведёт Армению под власть турок. Но понравится ли это народу Армении? Пашинян предпочёл переговоры в рамках враждебного России проекта.

19 ноября было распространено сообщение Совета Европы о том, что премьер-министр Армении Никол Пашинян и президент Азербайджана Ильхам Алиев после телефонного разговора с президентом Европейского совета Шарлем Мишелем договорились встретиться 15 декабря в Брюсселе, в рамках саммита ЕС — Восточное партнёрство. Об этом сообщил сам европейский чиновник в Twitter. Официальный представитель МИД Армении Ваан Унанян подтвердил ТАСС договорённости. Из сообщения МИД Азербайджана стало ясно, что инициатором встречи стал Никол Пашинян.
"Премьер-министр Никол Пашинян предложил провести их встречу 15 декабря на саммите Восточного партнёрства в Брюсселе. Азербайджанская сторона всегда открыта для политического диалога, приветствует такие контакты. В связи с этим Азербайджан согласился организовать такую ​​встречу при посредничестве Совета Европы", — сказала пресс-секретарь МИД Азербайджана Лейла Абдулла.
По мнению азербайджанской стороны, брюссельский саммит и встреча, которая будет организована в его рамках, создадут дополнительные возможности. Однако в тот же день, 19 ноября, глава МИД РФ Сергей Лавров ещё выражал уверенность, что трёхсторонняя встреча по Карабаху с участием РФ, Азербайджана и Армении состоится, но для неё нужен консенсус сторон. Такую встречу российская сторона готовит с начала ноября. То есть получается, что Ереван и Баку, заключив при помощи Сергея Шойгу 16 ноября очередное перемирие, не поставив Москву в известность, подготовили другие переговоры и попробуют решить свои проблемы через посредничество Восточного партнёрства — антироссийского проекта Запада.
Это была не истерика: Ереван исполнил свою угрозу

Таким образом стало ясно, о каких иных вариантах "международного партнёрства" говорил в обращении секретарь Совета Безопасности Республики Армении Армен Григорян после обострения обстановки в Сюникской области 16 ноября, когда потребовал от РФ защитить территориальную целостность Армении в рамках соглашения 1997 года, а если нет, то тогда Армения обратится к другим посредникам. Кстати, письменного обращения к Москве, которое обещал организовать Григорян, так и не последовало. Откровенно говоря, предательство Азербайджана не кажется странным, страна состоит в союзе с Турцией, и Путин относится к этому "с пониманием". Алиев высказывался против присутствия российских миротворцев в Карабахе. Но для Армении такое "кидалово" России может стать критическим. Если бы российские миротворцы не вошли 9 ноября в Степанакерт, то турки оккупировали бы весь Нагорный Карабах и Сюникскую область. Россия охраняет внешнюю границу Армении, в Гюмри стоит её военная база, и только российская армия сможет оказать армянам мобильную помощь, если Ильхам Алиев с Реджепом Эрдоганом начнут новую военную кампанию. Если же ЕС выступит посредником установления отношений Армении с Турцией, то тогда это будет изменение внешнего вектора Еревана.

Пашинян кладёт Армению к ногам турок

Известно, что к этому идёт подготовка. Пашинян говорит о нормализации отношений с Азербайджаном и Турцией, открывая "эру мира". Президент Турции заявил журналистам в сентябре, что получил через премьера Грузии предложение о встрече с Пашиняном. При этом Эрдоган отметил, что для этого Армения должна предпринять определённые "позитивные шаги": открыть Заргезурский коридор через Сюникскую область Армении между Азербайджаном и Нахичеванской Автономной Республикой. Это даст Эрдогану выход в Среднюю Азию, которую он включает в зону своего влияния. Между тем Россия предлагает сторонам договариваться о демаркации-делимитации государственной границы, это было бы долгосрочным решением, но Ереван этого не хочет. Вероятно, договор о пребывании миротворцев Ереваном, не говоря уже о Баку, не будет продлён, и России надо готовиться к уходу с Южного Кавказа и кардинального изменения геополитической карты региона. Вопрос в том, входит ли это в планы армянского народа — оказаться под турками? Россия делает всё, чтобы решить вопрос мирно. Если это армян не устраивает, то Нагорный Карабах Армения потеряет первым. Дальше — и всю Армению, Ереван станет Иреваном, а армяне — меньшинством в строящейся (и успешно) Османской империи.