In recent days, the positions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in the cities of Kelbajar, Nakhichevan, Shusha and Tovuz have been set on fire by Armenian armed forces. By creating an artificial tension in the region, Armenia wants to provoke the Azerbaijani side and present it as an “aggressor” in the eyes of the international community.
Nikol Pashinyan, who was picked as the prime minister for the second time recently continues to delay the implementation of the “Tripartite Declaration” signed between Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia on November 10, 2020, regarding the end of the Second Karabakh War.
Experts believe that the reason for Armenia’s provocations in an issue that ended with the victory of Azerbaijan and is no longer a problem, is damaging the image of Russia, which has placed peacekeepers in the region.
Associate Professor Intigam Mamedov, Deputy Dean of Faculty of Political Science at Lomonosov Moscow State University, to whom we asked our questions on the subject, said that Armenia’s violation of the ceasefire on the border with Azerbaijan was a negative but expected situation.
Mr. Intigam Mamedov, in your opinion, what are the aims of the Armenian Armed Forces’ attempts to violate the ceasefire against Azerbaijan’s military positions?
Violation of the ceasefire is a bit more complex than it seems and goes beyond the scope of foreign policy understanding. These actions pursue several aims:
First, in the spring of 2021, the Armenian parliament showed its distrust of Nikol Pashinyan. Early parliamentary elections were held in the country at the end of June this year. Pashinyan’s party received 53.92 percent of the votes in the elections with 49.41 percent turnout. This stands for the active support of just over a quarter of the total electorate. However, it is still an indicator below the figures in the 2018 elections. Pashinyan cannot boast of political victories, neither external nor internal. In addition, a significant part of the Armenian population blames him for the consequences and victims of armed conflicts with Azerbaijan. Under these circumstances, the violation of the ceasefire with Azerbaijan on the border is an attempt to blame the enemy by diverting the public’s attention from the internal problems to the “enemy” outside. However, it is clear that these violations are Armenia’s own provocation.
Secondly, the tripartite declaration on the full ceasefire between Azerbaijan and Armenia, signed on November 10, 2020, holds extremely disadvantageous provisions for the Armenian government. First, Armenia is leaving the occupied territories. Also, unlike Western countries with strong Armenian diasporas, the country’s dependence on Russia, which plays a key role in the conflict, is getting stronger. Many may not admit it, but this addiction has always existed. Now neither the experts nor the citizens of Armenia and Azerbaijan should disagree on this issue.
Third, the compromise reached cannot guarantee the stability and security of Armenia 4 years after the withdrawal of the peacekeeping unit was planned. What is more interesting is that it is difficult to predict Russia’s foreign policy in the region and the next 5 years of Russian-Armenian relations. The structuring of Russian foreign policy priorities will depend on how and when the change of power takes place in Russia.
In this sense, given the above conditions, destabilizing the status quo is more beneficial to Armenia than its preservation. It is important for Armenia to show that the mechanism set up to ensure regional security is not effective and to raise the possibility of reconsidering the terms of the tripartite declaration. Armenia has 4 more years for this.
What can you say about Russia’s attitude in this situation?
To evaluate Russia’s position correctly, we need to know whether the Russian side is aware of the planned provocation. If this is an uncoordinated action with Russia, of course, it discredits the peacekeeping troops’ ability to control the situation. However, if the Russian side is aware of these provocations and is aware of the violation of the ceasefire, then this shows that it is part of the “big game”, and we will soon witness new clashes. This possibility is highly unlikely though.
Another crucial point here is that the monitoring centre operating in the region has not made a clear statement about who initiated the ceasefire violation. This may mean that the centre is unable to do the necessary work or to be involved in political games, or both.
What kind of changes do you think these developments can lead to in the geopolitics of the region? What kind of policy can Azerbaijan adopt?
The Armenian state is an unstable political entity. We are facing a country that is experiencing a serious economic and political crisis. There is a division in the country among the general population as well as within the elite. However, all political forces without exception see Armenia’s development as a satellite state under the control of a powerful country rather than its sovereignty. In this context, Azerbaijan’s dialogue with Armenia at any level is not capable of producing beneficial results for both countries. If there are idealists in Azerbaijan who believe in the opposite, I think their number has decreased significantly now. All negotiations should be conducted with the participation of Russia and Turkey, who is the permanent partner of Azerbaijan, should also participate in the dialogue and all problems should be resolved with Moscow.
Moreover, these ceasefire violations cannot seriously change Azerbaijan’s policy in the region. However, it is necessary to be prepared for attempts to destabilize the situation and artificially discredit established mechanisms for ensuring regional security. Improving the transparency of observatory data will help Armenia against spreading disinformation.
By: Ulviye FILIYEVA ERKEC
Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Asia Today.