President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev’s scathing remarks regarding the Russian peacekeeping forces were followed by the foreign ministers’ meeting in Tbilisi, and Armenia’s decision to withdraw its armed forces from Karabakh was voiced. Azerbaijan had addressed its expectations to the Russians, but the decision was made by the Armenian government. The pro-Russian parliamentary opposition did not make a sound; it did not accuse Pashinyan of betrayal. The pro-Western extra-parliamentary opposition holds a similar stance.
That is, there is a consensus between the West and Russia on this issue, which allows Pashinyan to take such actions. Not his legitimacy, mind you, but the aligned positions of the country’s main sponsors.
I must admit, I was sure that it was Armenia’s increased actorship and Pashinyan’s increased legitimacy that should create the conditions for progress in normalization. And yet, practice has shown that to get decisions made, we have to use pressure and agreements with Armenia’s sponsors, rather than with Armenia itself. This is an indicator of the country’s lack of actorship. As before, the countries that want to influence Azerbaijan do it through Armenia.
However, the internal consolidation of the Azerbaijani society, President Ilham Aliyev’s legitimacy, and the ability to focus the interests of the main external actors in the region on our country allow Azerbaijan to promote its own agenda in the process of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations.
Even Iran is taking advantage of Armenia’s interests for its own purposes today. Iran demonstrates that it is defending Armenia (its interests) without Armenia… Pashinyan and his entourage are not making statements in support of Iran, which means that the Armenian leadership realizes that they have little say in this process. As a result, decisions in the region are made by weakening Armenia’s negotiating position.
It seems that this trend will continue… and progress in Armenian-Azerbaijani relations will be achieved through negotiations with Armenia’s sponsors.