Armenia gets rid of "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic" ballast?

Armenia gets rid of "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic" ballast?

In recent days, deputies of the ruling Civil Contract party in Armenia have noted a number of remarkable statements on the topic of Karabakh. Two parliamentarians from Nikol Pashinyan's party at once voiced their thoughts, for which they would probably have been hung on the first Yerevan pillar a year ago.

For example, the deputy from the Civil Contract faction Vigen Khachatryan bluntly stated: "It is very dangerous to promote the idea that Armenia has no future without Karabakh. The highest goal is Armenia, not Karabakh. There can be no question of these lands being considered territories Armenia, we should talk about whether the lives of these people (the Armenian population of Karabakh - editor's note) in Azerbaijan are in danger or not. " Surprisingly, in the Armenian segment of social networks, this statement caused only moderate dissatisfaction among the opposition, and Khachatryan's party members did not react to him at all and, accordingly, did not pull up his colleague.

Vigen Khachatryan's reconnaissance by force was successful, and after a couple of days his fellow in the faction Gagik Melkonyan stated that the guarantor of the security of the Armenian population in Karabakh is not Armenia, but Russia. In particular, answering a question about the recent aggravation of the situation in the region, Melkonyan said: "Contact the Russian embassy. The Russians are the guarantor of security, and ask them why this happened."

Let us recall the background: a few days ago a civilian Armenian was killed in Karabakh, then an Azerbaijani civilian column was fired upon, and a little later - a sniper shot an Azerbaijani soldier. On the same night, there was a bloody incident at an Armenian military post in the Agderin direction, as a result of which six Armenian soldiers were seriously wounded. Azerbaijan denied any involvement in both the first and the last incidents, while Armenia claimed that the military position was destroyed by an Azerbaijani strike UAV (initially, the Armenian media reported a mortar attack). Meanwhile, pro-government sources in Azerbaijan report that the conditional "civilian" of Armenian origin, after whose murder an exacerbation began in the region, worked on his tractor near the contact line without the necessary coordination with Russian peacekeepers and the Azerbaijani Armed Forces and did not respond to repeated warnings to leave the territory. ...

Remarkable in this story is the rather mild reaction of official Yerevan to the recent incidents in Karabakh. It suggests that the aforementioned Armenian MPs from the ruling party did not voice private opinions, but announced changes in Armenia's approaches to Karabakh. For example, the Armenian Foreign Ministry got off with statements about the need to investigate and punish the perpetrators, while the RA Defense Ministry completely ignored the shootings in Karabakh, in particular, the wounding of six servicemen. On the other hand, the Armenian military department hastened to refute the report about the shelling of Armenian positions in Yeraskh on the border with Nakhchivan by Azerbaijan. Paradoxically, the most radical statements from Yerevan today are voiced not by officials and the military, but by Arman Tatoyan, who received the post of RA Ombudsman during the reign of Serzh Sargsyan.

Yerevan's cooled interest in the Karabakh separatists can be explained, in our opinion, by both a large regional policy and purely economic reasons. Today Baku and Yerevan have brought their positions closer on some key aspects of the new regional configuration, which implies mutual recognition by the two countries of each other's territorial integrity and unblocking of regional communications. At the last CIS summit, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for the first time announced that Azerbaijan will receive through the territory of Armenia not only railway, but also automobile communication with Nakhchivan. Earlier, Yerevan insisted that only a railway would be presented to Baku for communication with the autonomous republic.

On the other hand, after Azerbaijan returned under its direct control most of the territory of Karabakh, which remained in the zone of responsibility of the RF Ministry of Defense from the abolished Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, the economically unviable "stub" turned into a financial black hole for Armenia, which is experiencing an economic crisis.

Yerevan does not understand what to do with this "appendix", but political and economic expediency suggests only one way out - to carefully throw "ballast" on Azerbaijan, preferably securing temporary security guarantees for the Armenian population there from Russia. This arrangement seems to suit Moscow, Baku and Yerevan.


Vestnik Kavkaza

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