By Paul Goble
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s statement that he is prepared to use force to ensure that a transit corridor opens between Azerbaijan proper and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan opens as called for in the November 2020 declaration ending the 44-day war has sparked outrage in Armenia.
It has led Yerevan to appeal to numerous countries and international organizations in the hopes of finding allies for Armenia to resist this Azerbaijani “ultimatum,” but it has also led, Moscow’s Nezavisimaya gazeta says, to a recognition that neither the West nor the CSTO is prepared to block Azerbaijani assertiveness (ng.ru/cis/2021-12-08/5_8321_armenia.html).
What that means, Yury Roks, a specialist on the former Soviet space at that newspaper, says is that both the Armenian government and the Armenian opposition feel that the only hope they have to prevent Azerbaijan from moving in the direction Aliyev has indicated rests with the personal intervention of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
What that almost certainly means is that Armenia officially and unofficially will defer to the Kremlin on a variety of issues in the hope that doing so will prevent Yerevan from losing the Syunik region to Azerbaijan, something that would further isolate Armenia and allow for a further linking up of Turkey and Azerbaijan, Armenia’s worst nightmare.
The fact that both government and opposition in Yerevan have concluded that they cannot get effective assistance from elsewhere likely means that Nikol Pashinyan and other Armenian officials will defer to Putin in what would otherwise be unexpected ways, Roks’ article suggests.