Anush Levonyan: Karabakh conflict and Russia: is there a choice between a "friend" and an "ally"?
Now, however, it turns out that in reality, official Yerevan looks at things from a completely different point of view. The head of the Armenian delegation at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly session held in Baku, an experienced politician, MP from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) Artashes Geghamyan gave an interview to the Azerbaijani portal haggin.az, which was so unexpected in content that it has not even caused comments. Probably, it takes time for Armenian political scientists to "digest" the conceptual attitudes contained in Geghamyan's statements, which at first glance are radically different from the long-established ideas.
The main postulates of the interview are: Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh will live in peace and harmony, for which it is necessary to create a situation in which the common, and first of all, economic interests of these countries and Nagorno-Karabakh intertwine; need peaceful coexistence, rapid economic development of the entire region, the re-emergence of friendly relations between the two peoples-neighbors, so that the Azerbaijanis feel at home in Armenia, and the Armenians feel comfortable in Baku. After all, "we are doomed to live together, and smart neighbors trade together, spend holidays," but they do not shoot each other at all. The apotheosis was the statement that Armenia "really wants" Azerbaijan’s entry into the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). According to Geghamyan, this would greatly help in resolving the existing problems. "Who remembers today - who owns Alsace? (Historically controversial province on the border of France and Germany - REGNUM comment). Already, Alsace is French or German. It is the capital of a united Europe. And there is no such thing as a border ", said Artashes Geghamyan.
It should be recalled that on May 29 at a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Moscow, when, among others, the question of Yerevan joining the EEU was considered, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan introduced the presidential colleagues with a letter from Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev, which, in particular, said that "Armenia should become a member of the EAEU within the framework of the borders in which it joined the WTO." Yerevan took it surprisingly calmly, President Serzh Sargsyan noted that Armenia has never claimed to join the Eurasian integration associations together with Karabakh (as we will note, many observers believed without good reason). And in dozens of other international organizations, including the UN, Armenia is within the framework of officially recognized borders.
Thus, even if Ilham Aliyev (and, which is not excluded, Nursultan Nazarbayev) tried to put Armenia in a sensitive situation, it did not succeed. On the contrary, this demarche, as it turns out, served, apparently, as a kind of starting point for the subsequent unexpected statements of Artashes Geghamyan. The main question, however, is whether these statements are sensational in their essence and whether they are not a forced move from the Armenian side. It seems no. Just look at the long history for the time being, a fruitless Karabakh settlement, "sensationalism" of what happened in Baku will fade.
In the middle of 90's. last century, almost immediately after the end of the war in Karabakh, international mediators in the face of the newly formed OSCE Minsk Group proposed a peacekeeping plan, the essence of which was to start solving a difficult problem with the restoration of economic cooperation between the opposing sides, the opening of borders, the resumption of transport -energy infrastructures, etc., and leave a political decision for the future. This plan was called "phased" and was fully supported by the then Armenian leadership in the person of the first President Levon Ter-Petrosyan. However, he had many opponents, the opposition insisted on a “package” solution, in which economic and political steps had to follow not one after the other, but in parallel.
It is known that the proposals of the intermediaries failed to be implemented. Today, as we can see, the Armenian side, supporting (and even welcoming) the possible accession of Azerbaijan to the EAEU, in fact, seeks to return to the settlement plans for precisely this “phased” character. After all, if the warring parties become members of the same integration association, it will mean that the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh will cease to be a purely bilateral problem, during its resolution, the EEU and, first of all, Russia will have to play a significant role. And in this regard, it should be recalled that just recently the Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Alexei Pushkov, said: "The Karabakh conflict is a very complex conflict, I would even say, one of the most difficult in the post-Soviet space. There is no simple solution. Russia , for its part, can only call on the parties to find a mutually acceptable solution. Understand that Armenia is our ally and Azerbaijan is our friend and neighbor, therefore Russia cannot support any of the parties to this conflict. " At the same time, “we will do everything in our power to resolve this conflict peacefully, which would satisfy both parties,” Pushkov said. On the background of what is happening, this can only mean that even if Baku joins the EEU, Moscow will focus on restoring economic cooperation in the region (which in itself minimizes the risk of a new war), but will not pedal the political decision. If a common regional market emerges (and this also implies the inclusion of Georgia in it), then the new situation will dictate new solutions that correspond to the situation - in full accordance with the approaches voiced by Artashes Geghamyan in Baku.
For all that, when (and if) "Azerbaijanis will feel at home in Yerevan, and Armenians feel comfortable in Baku," this will not adversely affect the situation of Nagorno-Karabakh. Indeed, as REGNUM experts have already noted, "the problem for Azerbaijan lies in the fact of the full independence of Nagorno-Karabakh from Baku" ... This independence, we recall, for more than 20 years. And Baku cannot change anything in this situation, and Moscow, as we see, will not. Of course, it cannot be ruled out that Azerbaijan, in the light of this perspective, will refuse to integrate into the EAEU and the CU (and we recognize that Nursultan Nazarbayev’s efforts were in vain), continue the confrontational policy and the arms race, hoping to ultimately resolve the issue in its favor . But this will come into complete contradiction with the policy of Russia, which, as REGNUM experts have already noted, undertook a cardinal “reformatting” of the Transcaucasian realities, because the situation in the Middle East simply leaves no other choice. Then, of course, Moscow will still have to make a choice between a "friend" and an "ally", and there is no doubt what kind of choice it will be.
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