“If Armenia does not make a choice, the choice will be made for it.” Opinion
Armenia in a hybrid war
One reason for the escalation of September 13-14, according to Kochinyan, was the repeated demand of Azerbaijan to provide the “Zangezur corridor”. Moreover, he believes that “corridor logic” is being promoted not only by Azerbaijan, but also by Russia.
The corridor in question would be a road through the territory of Armenia connecting Azerbaijan with its exclave Nakhichevan. The Armenian authorities have repeatedly said that they are ready to provide a road, in accordance with obligations assumed by the tripartite statement on the cessation of hostilities in Karabakh. However, Armenia is categorically against the word “corridor”, which is not in the document and which, to them, implies a loss of sovereignty over this territory.
According to the Kochinyan, Armenia should decide on its priorities as soon as possible, or it will lose the opportunity to make an independent choice. If the country does not choose anything, this may lead to even greater losses – up to a loss of statehood.
The main points of the interview with political scientist Areg Kochinyan.
- “Everything depends on Moscow and Baku” – the opinion of an Armenian political scientist on the future of Nagorno-Karabakh
“Hybrid War with Hot Phases”
According to Kochinyan, the unfinished war against Armenia periodically enters “hot phases”.
“Armenia is at war not with two, but with three states: Azerbaijan, Turkey and Russia. All the problems that Armenia faces today, and all various demands, come from these three states,” he believes.
According to previously released official figures, at least 135 soldiers defending Armenia’s borders were killed in the recent hostilities. According to the latest data published by the Security Council of Armenia on September 19, the total number of injured and missing is 207 people. Three civilians were killed, the whereabouts of two civilians are unknown, 293 soldiers were injured, and 20 were captured.
What does Russia demand?
In the opinion of many Armenian analysts, the reason for the escalation is that Baku is unable to obtain the Zangezur Corridor through diplomacy, hence the military expedient.
But according to Areg Kochinyan, “corridor logic” is also in the interest of Russia.
He says that with the creation of the corridor, Russia would have the opportunity to control not only the Azerbaijan-Nakhichevan and Turkey-Azerbaijan connections, but also the border of Armenia.
“And if in the future, for example, Iran opens up to the West, then this is a very serious argument for controlling the Armenian-Iranian border and preventing the fulfillment of any economic, energy or infrastructure projects. In other words this is a latent hub, and if it is opened, the Russians want to be there and have control over it,” Kochinyan believes.
“Russia does not support Baku on Karabakh”
Areg Kochinyan believes that, unlike the Zangezur corridor, the Russia does not support Azerbaijan on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. The reason is obvious: the Russian peacekeeping forces are an instrument of pressure on Azerbaijan, and Moscow does not want to lose this leverage.
“The peace agreement and resolution of the conflict are unfavorable to Russia. It needs the status quo, the endless war between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the peace process – for the sake of the process, not a solution.”
In Kochinyan’s view, the possibility of establishing peace with Moscow is self-deception, since the signing of a peace agreement is not included in Russia’s plans.
"Baku is torpedoing the peace agenda" – Pashinyan on reasons for the escalation
There are reports of 49 Armenian casualties in the renewed hostilities on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan said in a speech in parliament. He said also that this is not a final number.
Why does the West want peace in the South Caucasus?
Kochinyan maintain’s that the West wants peace in the region for two reasons:
- to weaken the influence of Russia,
- to weaken possible Turkish expansion.
“The peace code itself, that is, the plan for its implementation, is not particularly interesting to the West. Who has Artsakh, Nagorno-Karabakh’s status, who will pay for it and how? In general, they are only interested in the region being architecturally calm,” Kochinyan said.
“If you don’t choose anything, you can lose everything”
Kochinyan maintains that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia is the top priority. If there is a choice between priorities, then Yerevan should be able to make this choice, or it will be made for him․
“And it is possible that they [the government] will not choose anything, so we will lose everything at the same time: statehood, having entered the Union State [with Russia], territorial integrity, giving up the corridor,” Kochinyan stressed.
Kochinyan believes there are no good options – only which one will worsen the situation the least.
Finally, he warns that time is against Armenia, and “any concession that was possible yesterday is no longer possible today.”
Armenia in a hybrid war