Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is Armenia's social and economic impasse
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict continues to negatively affect Armenia's economy, whose own geo-economic conditions do not allow it to develop effectively without cooperation with neighbors, the Russian experts said, speaking with the correspondents of Vestnik Kavkaza about the reasons for the republic's economic failures in recent years and the low living standards of its citizens.
The director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov first of all drew attention to this: "I think that the unsettled status of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict plays a key role in Armenia's economic problems. If it were not for the conflict, the republic would not be blocked from two sides. Armenia would have developed much better, and therefore the Kazan formula for the settlement of the conflict proposed by Russia is optimal, because it prescribes the liberation of the Azerbaijani regions around Karabakh, which are empty, for which Armenia receives lifting of a blockade in return, it would be a great option for its economic recovery," he said.
The expert noted that Armenia is simply not able to develop normally in the blockade. "Of course, there are examples when countries in the blockade regime achieved certain economic successes, but Armenia is a small country with little economic potential. The republic could benefit from working as an open regional economy, but the conflict deprives it of such a possibility. It can be said that about 90% of Armenia's economic problems caused by the blockade, "Sergei Markov said.
The Associate Professor of the Department of International Security of the Faculty of World Politics of Moscow State University, Alexey Fenenko, explained Armenia's limitations in greater detail. "First of all, Armenia has an unprofitable geographical position: it does not have access to the sea or even a large river, it is away from world trade routes. Armenia also has little to offer to the foreign market: the agricultural markets around it have long been occupied, export of precious stones and rare minerals is limited, it does not have other competitive goods. And this is aggravated by the problem that the republic is closed, especially from Turkey's side," he explained.
At the same time, according to the expert, Armenia is in a stalemate now: the solution of economic problems requires political will in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and its progress can cause a surge of social instability. "I am afraid that in the course of time, anti-Russian sentiments will increase in Armenia, which will be even worse for the republic. I think that the situation will not be corrected even at the start of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement, because there is a very powerful Karabakh clan in the republic that can quickly raise an uprising against any government that will make concessions," Alexei Fenenko pointed out.
The director of the Institute of Contemporary Economics Nikita Isayev, in turn, pointed out the influence of this stalemate on the mood of the population and its attitude towards other countries, including Russia. "Undoubtedly, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the economic blockage is one of the main markers of public sentiment. The Karabakh conflict is perceived as the last frontier for the protection of Armenia's sovereignty, and since international guarantors do not provide the expected support for Yerevan's position, this affects the attitude towards them, including towards Russia," he said.
The expert also noted Armenia's dependence on other states. "Armenia is dependent on foreign policy due to its geographical location and a huge number of conflicts around its perimeter, which, by the way, requires the republic to prevail international policy over domestic policy. Russia has always been a guarantor of security and economic stability for Armenia, but now Russian support is declining, hence there is a decline of pro-Russian sentiments and the formation of Russophobic sentiments in Armenia," Nikita Isaev said.
"People, realizing that Armenia is in the economic and political vector of Russia, and also observing Russia's economic crisis, connect this in many respects with the actions of the authorities, and, of course, blame all their troubles on the Russian Federation," the director of the Institute of Contemporary Economics concluded.