Tragedy by Artsakh: as the balance of forces of Transcaucasia will change
Russia continues to be pushed out from Transcaucasia, using the bankrupt Pashinyana team and ambitions of the Turkish president Erdogan.
Opposition for Nagorno-Karabakh turned into tragedy for the Armenian people, and triumph for Azerbaijan and its ally of Turkey. Permission of the long-term conflict will inevitably cause change of balance of forces in the region, and, most likely, not in favor of Russia.
Details - in material of the correspondent of The Moscow Post.
The third sharp phase of the conflict for Nagorno-Karabakh, or Artsakh in the Armenian tradition, came to the end most quicker, and with the smallest losses on both sides. According to the latest data, from NKR about 1 thousand from army in 2.5 thousand people could die. It is clear, that against 60 thousand Azerbaijani military personnel with full support of the Turkish army they had no chances. However and its from it it isn't easier than Armenia for the brotherly people of Russia.
For all Post-Soviet time around Nagorno-Karabakh the identity of the new Armenian state and its people was under construction. Loss of these historical territories will inevitably cause a powerful ressentiment in society – not less strong from what concerning Karabakh the Azerbaijani suffered.
In this situation it was almost obvious that neither Armenia, nor her ally on the CSTO Russia will interfere with the taking place events. The president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev ideally picked up the geostrategic moment and acted from force position. He called operation police and anti-terrorist. In this sense, it wasn't stopped at all even by Genassambleiya's start by the UN - and couldn't, Karabakh de jure is internationally recognized territory of Armenia.
Who "handed over" Karabakh?
Prior to the second Karabakh war in 2020 Pashinyan several times claimed that "Artsakh is Armenia. And point". He explained the position with the fact that he proceeds from the declaration on independence of Armenia where it is told about reunion of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
And in April, 2023 he twisted that the world in South Caucasus is possible only if Armenia records: her territory is 29.8 thousand sq.km of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic in which borders the republic gained independence in 1991. Already then Armenians apprehended this statement as treachery.
In May Nikol Pashinyan again de facto recognized Nagorno-Karabakh beyond Azerbaijan. Since then the destiny of the unrecognized republic was almost decided. And during a one-day hot phase on September 19 the prime minister of Armenia said that there is no army of his country in the unrecognized republic. Certainly, it caused the real storm of indignation among people - protesters in the center of Yerevan tried to get to government buildings, there were clashes with the police. Next day protest actions continued.
Also the Russian Embassy suffered. The radical groups which are obviously "warmed up" by various anti-Russian organizations and media tried to get also into it, crying out offensive slogans and charges of treachery. In a number of media and social networks the whole company which tries to accuse Russia of present crash of Armenia was started.
There is a considerable probability that Pashinyan's government after all won't resist. However, back not to turn a situation in Karabakh any more. It seems, the team of the current prime minister who came to the power on a wave of "velvet" revolution of 2018 made the business and completely went bankrupt.
Not to mention where the current prime minister of the country close to us developed a vector of her foreign policy. The last several weeks tension between the authorities of Russia and Armenia grew because of a number of unfriendly steps of Yerevan. What is cost by only some military exercises with NATO countries which pass these days in the territory of the republic. Why the Armenian troops didn't move to protect the historical territories, and just handed over the people living there?
There was it despite all efforts of Russia not to allow bloodshed. Moreover, under blow the Russian peacekeepers got - on May 20 near the settlement Dzhanyatag which is located in an area of responsibility of the peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation, their car was shot by unknown. Investigating authorities of Russia and Azerbaijan are engaged in a situation. Scandalous situation. Investigators both Russia, and Azerbaijan are engaged in it.
Other important point - a humanitarian situation in the region. Thousands of refugees of NKR stretched from the houses, being afraid of ethnic cleansing from Azerbaijan. At the airport of Stepanakert the chaos began.
Further actions of the winning country cause concern to other states - what will happen to the population of Artsakh? Among other things, Ilham Aliyev demanded that the Armenian authorities extradite the commanders of the former unrecognized Republic, as well as men who had something to do with its army. And this is at least two-thirds of the total male population of Karabakh.
Today Ilham Aliyev should meet with representatives of residents of the former NKR, Those who have so far remained in their homes. Aliyev's government is struggling to convince the world community that the reintegration of Karabakh into Azerbaijan will be smooth and civilized. As far as it turns out to be true, the near future will show.
The fear of repression over civilians, however, does not greatly occupy Armenia's new Western partners. If we say that his team tried to reorient security issues from Russia to the United States and NATO, then the reaction of the latter turned out to be completely zero. In general, they found themselves in a relative geopolitical gain, because the bloody denouement clearly did not benefit the image of Russia as a guarantor of security in the region.
Russia is not going anywhere
Nevertheless, Russia does not leave Transcaucasia anywhere - it is premature to talk about it. It is more correct to say about the significant strengthening of other centers of power there - first of all, the regional power of Turkey and its visionary President Recep Erdogan.
The ideologists of the current Turkish political establishment do not hide that they are trying to recreate the Great Turan. And Russia, with its security interests in Central Asia, is a clear rival to them. At the same time, our country has maintained partnership relations with Azerbaijan, and avoided a conflict with Turkey, which would inevitably affect many other areas.
Now Nikol Pashinyan's team is trying to convince its own citizens that the actual surrender of Artsakh and the betrayal of the people living there were caused by the need to preserve statehood - they say, with a potential defeat, "mainland" Armenia can also be lost. But he knows well that Aliyev would not have gone for this - then security guarantees from the Russian Federation would have entered into action.
Perhaps Pashinyan coordinated his inaction in Karabakh with the Turkish-Azerbaijani military alliance, as evidenced by the blitzkrieg of the Azerbaijani army in one day. For Pashinyan's team, the unrecognized republic was an illiquid and non-core asset. Apparently, their main assets are in the West.
The status of the Russian peacekeeping contingent was in limbo. New agreements are definitely needed on it. However, Turkey and its NATO and EU partners will try their best to keep the remnants of Russia's presence to a minimum. Pashinyan will try to compensate for the defeat by strengthening economic relations with Turkey, in order to be less dependent on transportation along the Georgian Military Road, which runs through Georgia. Now it goes up to 70% of the cargo of the country's economic complex.
However, the bet on strengthening trade and economic ties may not work where big geopolitics are involved. Through Armenia, pressure will be exerted on Russia, and Pashinyan, like Zelensky's team, can become a bargaining chip in this struggle - with even worse consequences for his country, which we see on the example of Artsakh.
Photo: Moskovskij Komsomolets