What should not Armenia do
On March 11, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs visited Baku and met with Azerbaijani President I. Aliyev. The meeting was followed by remarkable statements by all three. Russian co-chair Igor Popov announced that the agreements reached in Vienna and St. Petersburg should be exercised. Apropos, he said it without “if” and “but”. The US Co-Chair Richard Hoagland noted that it is necessary to return to the negotiating table with the “highest” level. The French co-chair Stéphane Visconti stated that the process has “coming out of the dead point.” In addition, the Co-Chairs have announced that soon they will visit Armenia and Artsakh.
Incidentally, the visit took place after the official statement of the Baku representation in OSCE, with which Azerbaijan was “substantiating” why it should not exercise the agreements reached in Vienna, saying that it strengthens the current status quo and “Armenia is taking the advantage” by evading the “substantive” negotiations. One day before the co-chairs’ visit to Azerbaijan, the Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova came up with a statements assuring that Russia will continue its mediation mission in cooperation with the Minsk Group co-chair countries and based on the five joint statements by the presidents of the US, France and Russia, and separately emphasized that the documents spell out the inadmissibility of solving the issue by military force.
In addition, Ms. Zakharova “by the way” also noted that Russia in “parallel” to approaches accepted in the framework of the trio and given the “close relationship” with Yerevan and Baku, will make its “own moves”, which will allow to “honestly exchange views on the key matter.” And now, after all of this, as mentioned by the French co-chair Stéphane Visconti, the process came out of the dead point. Note also that the Russian side accepted Erdogan’s proposal in Moscow regarding the Ankara-Moscow-Baku “trio alliance” (as reported by the Azerbaijani media) and the “trilateral mechanism” (according to Turkish translator of the Kremlin video) very cold.
Armenia’s pre-election political leadership will undergo a serious examination of diplomatic maturity and the result will predetermine our country’s future and vital importance events. It is contradicted for the Armenian diplomacy to simply repeat the mistakes made after the four-day war and give a chance to Moscow, first, to save Aliyev and then to “free” his hands again, to put a new batch of weapons in these hands and one beautiful day again to “drive” on us. That is exactly what happened until April 2016, this is what happened after the April war until now, and we have reached the final round: to “drive” on us.
In other words, the situation which led to April war is being repeated. But … today, Russia “all of a sudden” began to play “constructiveness” and behave in the co-chairmanship format when on the one hand, Yerevan, in fact, refused the Armenia-Russia-Azerbaijan tripartite meetings in Munich and Moscow which Baku was dreaming about and the Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu was talking about Moscow’s “special role” in it. On the other hand, Moscow has a problem to ease the inevitable toughening of US policy. Putin’s “TrampNash” (Trump is Ours) operation had a disgraceful end to a great extent, whose “aftershocks” consequences continue to remain unpredictable.
Moreover, the US is not only going to dismantle the North Atlantic Alliance but is also increasing its military presence in the direction of the NATO eastern border and the Black Sea basin, while Russia’s economic prospects against the background of a new wave of the decline of oil prices are alarming. And this “constructiveness” for Putin’s regime striving for one more reproduction obtains a vital importance if we look at the matter from the rational point of view. Along with it, Russia’s fundamental interests in the region remain unchanged, rather say, the Moscow perceptions of these interests, in other words, two things are contradicted to Moscow: final peace and a large-scale “uncontrollable” war.
In addition, the generation during which the first round of the collapse of Russian Soviet empire took place is still alive in Moscow, and they clearly remember that it began when the split of Azerbaijan began as a result of the Russian-Turkish deal in the beginning of the century. And by no means, to put it mildly, it is a fact that the process is over … Are we moving towards a real settlement? Of course, not. It is at least naïve to think so. However, the Armenian diplomacy has gained a new opportunity not only to avoid war but also to stabilize the line of confrontation with the OSCE mechanisms, the situation in the conflict zone until the day when Azerbaijan will be ready to understand that the Baku authorities are excluded in Artsakh, and Armenians will not allow another solution of the issue after what happened after 1988, and it makes no sense to demand from Armenians what you have lost in your own unleashes war, and it makes no sense to try to do it with a new war. Anyway, Armenians will not allow it, as well as they will not allow the recurrence of the events in the past 100 years and in 1921-1923. In the future, Armenia, first, should stay far away from any formats that are beyond the Minsk Group co-chairmanship, and above all, those “tripartite” meetings with Baku by Moscow’s offer and patronage. In addition, Yerevan should not consider the sale of offensive and other weapons to Baku by Russia “painful” but to suspended its relationship with Moscow regarding this issue. Eventually, Russia must have to play by American rules as it was in the Iran-“sextuple” negotiation process which ended in historical success in 2014. We are too far from the final outcome but moving the process of the conflict to a positive channel generates not only from our but also regional and European security interests.
P.S. We are holding elections, we realize it. Only, for God’s sake, stop explaining to people that peace is better than war. Yes, we want peace and only the maniac can argue the opposite. But … Instead, explain to people and suggest why and how the four-day war began and what to do to avoid having a new war. And do not try to fool people and blame only and exclusively Baku, by leaving out our and more precisely, your “age-old friend.” The rest is already an axiom which the best is worded by Winston Churchill: “In war – resolution, in defeat – defiance, in victory – magnanimity; in peace – good will.”