The participation of the Armenian delegation in the summer session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) opens up various interpretations of the possible development of relations between Yerevan and the Old Continent. According to the Armenian newspaper Graparak, the main purpose of the presence was to find support for the release of the many Armenian prisoners, who remained in the hands of the Azeris after the 44-day war in 2020 in Nagorno Karabakh, which Armenians call Artsakh.
According to representatives of the majority Armenian party ‘Civil Contract’, the Apce parliamentarians examined the text proposed by Yerevan, warning that there will be no support or agreement until Armenia decides which side it is on, with Russia or Europe. Indeed, it is not clear on what basis the Armenians are asking for support against the Azeris, without conceding anything in return, bearing in mind that Azerbaijan will certainly not be willing to meet its opponents’ demands for free.
The question also concerns the ways in which Europe could effectively influence to distance Yerevan from Moscow, also taking into account the favour this hypothesis arouses in a large part of the Armenian population and also its political class. The main problem is Armenia’s economic dependence on Russia, its main trading partner and historical protector from the enemies of the surrounding Islamic countries. The country’s borders are guarded by Russian soldiers, who have stationed their own military base in the city of Gyumri, the 102nd ever to guard Armenia.
Azerbaijani political scientist Rovšan Ibragimov, a professor at the Khankuk International University in Korea, commented in Azatutyun that ‘this information is rather contradictory, and rather reflects Armenia’s internal political competition, rather than the possibilities for agreement in the international arena. Moreover, the Aceh and the European Union are not the same thing, and the parliamentary assembly does not play a decisive role in these matters’.
Indeed, the documents of the Aceh in recent years on Nagorno Karabakh are rather ambiguous, condemning to varying degrees both Yerevan and Baku’s actions, and are in any case only in the nature of recommendations. MPs do not vote on behalf of states, but of the parties they belong to, and Armenia is represented by only two MPs, as it is not a very populated country, and they too are from two opposing parties.
Armenia also, beyond its limited participation in European institutions, remains a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (Russian-driven) and Csto, the post-Soviet NATO controlled by Russia.
Yerevan appears far from the prospects of any form of European integration. The Caucasian country’s historical and cultural ties with Europe and the Mediterranean, which date back centuries, and the solidarity of Westerners for the memory of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century remain, but today’s history imposes quite different priorities.