Russia Reiterates All-Out Diplomatic Backing For Yerevan Amid Unresolved Karabakh

Fuad Muxtarlı Analysis 12 February 2020
Russia Reiterates All-Out Diplomatic Backing For Yerevan Amid Unresolved Karabakh

A top Russian diplomat in Armenia has underscored the Kremlin determination and intention to retain governments in Yerevan under strict control irrespective of who is power.

The statement comes amid the ongoing overt and covert moves of the Pashinyan government to distance from the Kremlin’s sphere of influence or at least bring the relations with Russia at least to a partnership level.

Reminding that this tiny outpost – ARMENIA - established on native Azerbaijani lands – has not at all final saying on any issues, Sergey Kopyrkin told the local media that diplomats of Russia and Armenia act jointly and on a common front on many key issues.

The Russian diplomat assured that “we are allies and strategic partners, and the relations of the peoples are fraternal. All these are fully reflected in diplomatic relations, which are of an intensive nature in the form of a close partnership between the diplomatic services of our countries”.

It is commonly observed practice that ambassadors are to speak in general terms and utter positive statements that are pleasant to local ears. However, Sergei Kopyrkin’s remarks that Russian and Armenian diplomats act as a single team need explanations since Armenia is not a big state with global influence to come to the Kremlin rescue.

Actually, by making such remarks, the Russian ambassador knowingly or unknowingly wanted to let Azerbaijan and Turkey know that at all levels the Russian diplomacy is in Armenia’s service and that the statements about strategic partnership are wide of the mark and should not be pinned much hopes on it.

In fact, Armenian diplomats at the UN and at many other venues, as Vladimir Putin put it, back Russia and vote against the territorial integrity of Ukraine and Georgia. And Mr. Kopyrkin, according to his post and status, is supposed to talk about the position of his country. And he not only thanked the Armenian colleagues for supporting his country, but spoke about the “united front” of the diplomats of Russia and Armenia. That is, about the "two-way street."

The major question is against whom this “united front” is launched. Armenia has occupied 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory, refuses to withdraw its troops, and torpedoes the peace process. In addition, official Yerevan does not refuse territorial claims against Turkey. And the Russian diplomacy along with potentials of other institutions has never suspended backing Armenia’s groundless claims against Azerbaijan or Turkey accompanied by suicides, back-stabbings and many similar treachery methods.

Now when the Kremlin is constantly damned by Armenian nationalists on Yerevan’s streets, Moscow is displaying incredible tranquility vis-à-vis governments that allegedly govern this gifted land under Russia’s diktat.

Everything occurs with Russia’s current status as an intermediary in the Karabakh conflict. It plays own games and is insincere in everything involved. The Russian mediation in Karabakh is based on the principle “there is no need to change anything in the region, the main thing is to prevent clashes to let three or four generations to emerge and we’ll see what to do; but for now let's agree on small humanitarian steps”. This is a manifestation of the Kremlin “united front” with Yerevan against Azerbaijan coupled with billions-dollar worth Russian weapons delivered to Armenia as gifts.

One cannot but rely on what the Russian ambassador told to the media in Yerevan and his remarks are also designed to publicly inform Azerbaijan of the Kremlin intention to back Yerevan against any possible and impossible attempts Baku can make to have the occupied lands freed. He is a diplomat in the rank of ambassador and diplomacy is the sphere where the nuances are made known when they are intended for others – in this case for Azerbaijan.

Second, Armenia is not one of the countries that are very active internationally and lacks an extensive agenda in international diplomacy and the only sphere of activity of the “united front” is and should be joint sabotage against Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and derailing Baku’s diplomatic activities to rally international support for the liberation of Karabakh and seven occupied districts around and be instrumental in claims and pressure on Turkey.

If Russian diplomats talk about such an alliance openly and officially, and even against the backdrop of a clear "cooling" with Turkey, then it is time for the Azerbaijani authorities to draw very serious conclusions from the revelations of Kopyrkin.

Was Kopyrkin misunderstood? And his words do not concern Karabakh? But in this case, Russian diplomacy must exactly the same way, officially and “on camera”, declare that the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict is beyond the framework of the Russian-Armenian partnership in general and that the guarantees of the military alliance between Russia and Armenia, both within the framework of the CSTO, and “bilateral”, do not apply to the occupied lands of Azerbaijan, in particular. This, incidentally, would greatly contribute to the achievement of peace in the negotiations. But Russia is in no hurry to make such statements.

The main factor in the radicalization of Armenia’s position is Moscow’s pro-Armenian policies and the “security umbrella” of the Kremlin pledged to Yerevan and this enables Armenian politicians to fearlessly say everything that comes to their mind.

If there were a real threat of resumption of hostilities, they would not have spoken so, and the same Pashinyan would be forced to look back at the possible consequences of his statements.

All this nationalist rhetoric is explained very simply. This is a “security umbrella”, which is unclear where it came from over Armenia, and which, according to the Armenians, continues to be above them. Of course, they periodically have doubts about this issue - they want to check how effective this “umbrella” is. And these doubts appeared after April 2016.

Yes, indeed this “umbrella” is not the same as it was before, because there was an increase in relations between Azerbaijan and Russia, the development of relations between the two countries in many directions, and there was an understanding that certain third forces, which became easier to identify, prevent the development of relations.

These are pro-Armenian forces in the Russian Foreign Ministry, and coordinated, first of all, by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. This conclusion can be made on the basis of a number of facts: his participation at the birthdays of active representatives of the Armenian diaspora, his stay in Yerevan, where he became a guest of certain informal circles, a former foreign minister of Azerbaijan believes.

All these facts give us the right to assume that this person is the coordinator of these actions. These "third forces" impede the development of Azerbaijani-Russian relations.

In addition, apparently, during the meeting of the Valdai club in Sochi, a return to this issue again took place during the contacts between the heads of Azerbaijan and Russia. And Lavrov’s latest attempt, when he made visits to Baku and Yerevan, again trying to advance the Armenian line to change the format of negotiations, after Pashinyan’s statement, ended in complete fiasco.

And now there are pathetic attempts by some individuals, including analysts, to pretend that nothing happened, and they say, the negotiation process continues, everything is in order.

But the negotiation process should have, first of all, a logical basis. And after Pashinyan’s statement, there is simply no logical basis for negotiations aimed at the liberation of the occupied territories.

To recap, the former foreign minister advised that after the elections, in addition to the traditional factions, the ruling party, the opposition and neutrals to create a Karabakh faction in parliament to actively focus exclusively on this issue.