On the other hand, Washington begins to conduct “trainings” for Pashinyan’s team. The topic of those trainings is obvious.
There is a quiet tug-of-war going on for Armenia.
Moscow’s unannounced but evident goal is to overthrow Nikol Pashinyan and derail the peace treaty efforts. With the year 2025 approaching, some do not need the normalization of relations between Baku and Yerevan. The end of the conflict means peace in the region and with it the end of almost two centuries of the Russian presence! The only thing that keeps Russia in the region is the “threat of a new genocide”, “dismemberment”, “Turkification”—that is, the full complement of bullshit, which certain Russian spin doctors continue to cultivate in Armenian society. Peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan (and between Armenia and Turkey) means the crash of all these horror stories and defeats the very need for Russia’s presence in the South Caucasus.
On the other hand (and not many are talking about it yet), the peace treaty will de jure replace the trilateral statement of November 10, 2020, together with the paragraph on the Russian peacekeeping forces. The five principles that will form the basis of the peace treaty include all the elements from the trilateral agreement that Azerbaijan needs (in particular, delimitation and communications) and, most importantly, leave out all the things it would not want to have enshrined in any new document, such as issues pertaining to Karabakh and Russian peacekeepers.
Thus, with the signing of a peace treaty between Yerevan and Baku, the Russian peacekeeping forces will lose their relevance, and in 2025 the peacekeepers will be shown the door.
The negotiations in Brussels on the last day of August were very difficult for Pashinyan, as he himself admitted. Not only did he fail to revive the Karabakh issue, but he was also unable to convince Charles Michel to mention Karabakh and the Minsk Group in his statement, even in passing. These issues have disappeared from the Armenian-Azerbaijani agenda, they are no longer there. Apart from that, Pashinyan failed to drag out the negotiation process, similar to what happened under the OSCE Minsk Group. From now on, there will be a deadline and a tight schedule for everything.
Moscow sees all this, and it can also see that it is completely losing its monopoly on mediation. In November, there will be another, fifth trilateral meeting in the Aliyev-Michel-Pashinyan format in Brussels again, as well as, to Moscow’s dismay, a meeting of the delimitation commission, almost the last issue in which it felt like the principal mediator. Now that, too, is slipping through its fingers.
Baku has been able to expertly pit the two states against each other in the tough competition on the issue of the corridors along the banks of the Araz River, and now the Third Rome will also have to fight Brussels for control over the mediation platform.
All this explains why Ruben Vardanyan’s video statement, quite possibly recorded in advance and saved for the right moment, was released on the day after the August meeting in Brussels.
Pashinyan’s team also knows and sees all this and is beginning to play into Moscow’s hands a little. This is evidenced by today’s statement by Ararat Mirzoyan that Yerevan’s response is addressed [for some reason not to Charles Michel, but] to the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, and it still raises the issue of the rights and security of the Armenian population of the region, which has nothing to do with Armenia. Why rehash the forever closed issues—to the dead and buried OSCE Minsk Group and the topic of Karabakh?!
There is no alternative to a peace treaty, and there is no going back to the past. Miatsum is history. Armenians can live on Karabakh land either as citizens of Azerbaijan or not live here at all and find a better country for themselves. This is the only choice they have. And this concerns only them, it does not concern Armenia, unless, of course, the latter is willing to provide these people with housing—for example, in the former Azerbaijani villages of Armenia, of which there are hundreds!
Armenia is powerless to undo this inevitability and change the course of history. Its benefit lies in realizing this as soon as possible. It will not only help bring the long-awaited peace to the region and rid that country of its contrived and inflated phobias, but also give its declining independence a second chance. Otherwise, without understanding this inevitability and, consequently, without peace with Turkey and Azerbaijan, it has no chance of preserving its independence and not being swallowed up.
And to Ruben we say this: your stay in Karabakh is even more temporary than that of the Russian peacekeeping forces. Just so you know.
Translated from Minval.Az