Two different responses from Armenia to Putin's statement. What's happening?
Putin’s statement and two responses from Armenia
Russia supports the signing of a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan, “but is not going to impose anything on Yerevan, the choice of a solution is the business of the Armenian people and leadership.” On the evening of October 27, Putin made this a statement at a meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club. He actually opposes two options for resolving issues – the Russian and the “Washington one”, which “provides for the recognition of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Karabakh as a whole.”
There are already two responses from Armenia. The official response from the Prime Minister of Armenia appeared in the morning. Nikol Pashinyan wrote onTwitter: “In early September Armenia agreed to work on the basis of the basic principles and parameters for establishing interstate relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, presented by the Russian Federation, and is ready to confirm this in Sochi. We hope Russia will support our proposals.”
But the night before, immediately after Putin’s speech, the Haykakan Zhamanak (Armenian Times) newspaper which belongs to the prime minister’s family published an article responding to the Russian president — a list of questions to Russia and facts from which one can conclude that
- Armenia does not have to rely on Russia’s support on any issues
- even on the implementation of decisions already made with its mediation.
Details of Putin’s speech and answers from Yerevan, as well as a commentary on the situation as a whole.
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Putin: “We will support any choice”
“The so-called Washington option, as far as I understand, provides for the recognition of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Karabakh as a whole. If Armenia thinks so, then please, we will support any choice of the Armenian people.
If the Armenian people and the Armenian leadership believe that Karabakh has some peculiarities of its own and these peculiarities should be taken into account in a future peace treaty, this is also possible.
But, of course, we need to negotiate with Azerbaijan. It is necessary that these agreements be acceptable to Azerbaijan as well. This is a difficult, difficult question. Armenia is our strategic partner, ally, and we, of course, to a large extent, bearing in mind the interests of Azerbaijan, will be guided by the proposals of Armenia itself,” the President of Russia said.
Putin then stated that Russia has “for many years” offered to retain control over two of the seven regions for communication with Nagorno-Karabakh, and concede five:
“Why keep them, there is no point. And for communication with Karabakh, two huge regions are quite enough, and we thought that it would be fair to return the refugees and so on. This would be a good step towards normalizing the situation in the region. But the Armenian leadership went its own way. This led to the situation that has developed today.”
Answer in the form of questions in the Armenian Prime Minister‘s newspaper
“At least two questions arise after Putin’s speech:
1) And what is Russia offering?
If Putin speaks openly about Washington’s proposal, why doesn’t he present the Russian proposal, if it really is much more successful than the US proposal?
2) And what will happen if Armenia signs a peace treaty with Azerbaijan at the suggestion of Russia?
After the 44-day war, Armenia followed the option proposed by Russia, resulting in the adoption of a tripartite statement on November 9. But after the tripartite statement with the mediation of Russia, Azerbaijan did not follow the points of the statement signed by Aliyev and Vladimir Putin:
1) Azerbaijan has not yet returned the Armenian prisoners of war.
2) After November 9, the Azerbaijani army attacked the Armenian positions in Parukh, Khtzaberd and Khin Tager and moved forward. By the way, all this happened in the zone of control of Russian peacekeepers. However, according to the November 9 joint statement, the parties needed to stay where they were at the time.
3) A few months after the joint statement of November 9, the armed forces of Azerbaijan invaded the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia in the Black Lake region, and on September 13 of this year. as a result of the military escalation, they again occupied the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia in Jermuk.
4) Azerbaijan constantly raises the issue of some kind of corridor, about which there is not a word in the tripartite statement of November 9. Moreover, Aliyev’s speech about the “corridor” is repeated by Konstantin Zatulin, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots. In addition to all this, we emphasize that the CSTO has not yet proposed a solution for the liberation of the occupied territory of the Republic of Armenia, and Russia considers what happened to be a purely border problem.
Will the same fate await Armenia if it makes peace with Azerbaijan through Russia’s mediation? What are the guarantees that after the signing of a peace treaty with Azerbaijan at the suggestion of Russia, Azerbaijan will not resort to provocations or escalation even in the presence of the Russian military contingent?”
Commentary by political scientist Armen Baghdasaryan
On Putin’s statement
“I think that Putin has not said anything new. And the position of the Russian Federation is almost the same as the Western position, that is, it is not the case that in the Russian version Artsakh is not recognized as part of Azerbaijan.
The problem is that Armenia is very transparently offered the option of completely abandoning Western mediation, alienating the West from our region, in return for which Russia promises some kind of delayed discussion of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh and a promise in this interval to enable the Armenians of Artsakh to live on their land. That’s all.
Moreover, Russia not only does not give any guarantees, but also very clearly announces that it will be very difficult to convince Azerbaijan. That is, not everything depends on the consent of Armenia.
Russia is showing the bait, in exchange for which Armenia will have to completely abandon the mediating mission of the West and agree to settle the problem in the Armenia-Azerbaijan-Russia triangle, or rather in the quadrangle. Turkey is indirectly involved in this process.”
Two conflicting answers – from Pashinyan and his newspaper
“I think Nikol Pashinyan wants to say that he agrees, but he expects more significant guarantees. It should not be forgotten that he says: Armenia agreed to Russia’s proposal in early September, but on the thirteenth, Azerbaijan launched a new aggression, as a result of which we have more than two hundred victims and territorial losses.
Pashinyan’s text ends with the words “we hope Russia will support our proposals.” This is a hint that promises alone are not enough, and Russia must provide much more specific, more effective guarantees, otherwise the Russian mediation mission becomes meaningless, like the proposals presented, because they are not guaranteed by anything on earth.
On the upcoming meeting with Putin and Aliyev in Sochi
“The main tool of the Russian Federation is to increase border tension, which, according to the Russian side, will be carried out through Azerbaijan and will become an additional lever of pressure on Armenia so the country once and for all refuses Western participation.
The meeting in Sochi will be very important. It will become clear whether we will have a new increase in tension or an intensification of the negotiation process. The meeting in Sochi will be a key moment where the main conversation will take place between Russia and Azerbaijan.
Russia will try to convince Azerbaijan that in order to prevent the West from penetrating the region, Azerbaijan needs to be a little more compliant. I don’t know if it will work. In any case, Russia only has this chance — to convince Azerbaijan, because it basically has no other real levers of influence.”
Putin’s statement and two responses from Armenia