By Eduard Abrahamyan
Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 16 Issue: 83
The article was published on Jamestown.org
Moscow’s mistrust of the Armenian government headed by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan dates all the way back to his rise to power last year in the so-called “Velvet Revolution.” And that mistrust has persisted despite Pashinyan’s various foreign policy gambits designed to win Russia’s confidence (see EDM, March 21). At the same time, Pashinyan’s domestic agenda—specifically, his determination to dismantle the previous regime’s oligarchic/kleptocratic order, including by prosecuting former president Robert Kocharyan for abuses of power—seems to be increasingly irking Moscow as well. For years, Russia has fostered numerous collaborationist “deep state” assets in various levels of the decision-making apparatuses in both Yerevan and Armenian-backed Stepanakert, the capital of the province of Karabakh, which broke away from Azerbaijan in 1991. As a result, Moscow is able to benefit politically from the current deepening rift between certain segments of the Armenian political elite. Karabakh (or “Artsakh” as it is known in the Armenian historical designation), the political status of which has long been disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan, to date is the only ethno-political conflict in the post-Soviet space where Russia possesses neither boots on the ground nor explicit direct control. Nevertheless, for years, Moscow has periodically sought to use the local authorities in Karabakh as a proxy tool of coercive diplomacy against both Baku and Yerevan.
Continue reading “Is Russia Cultivating ‘Symmetric Separatism’ in Karabakh?”
By Eduard Abrahamyan
Even as Armenia and Azerbaijan have intensified their diplomatic contacts over the future status of the latter’s breakaway Karabakh region (see EDM, February 13, March 4, April 1), both rivals concurrently continue to consolidate their military capabilities, considering an escalation in tensions almost inevitable. Both sides have been reevaluating their military strategies and hardening their rhetoric. In this context, Armenia’s Defense Minister David Tonoyan, a reformist long-serving member of Nikol Pashinyan’s government, represents the hawkish faction of the current Armenian political elite. And in late March, during a visit to the United States, Tonoyan openly rebuked the Azerbaijani side’s zero-sum “land for peace” formula for conflict resolution, in which a bilateral settlement would require that the Armenian side first make territorial concessions to Azerbaijan. Instead, he called on Armenia to prepare to pursue “new war for new territories” (Aravot.am, March 30).
Continue reading “Rationalizing the Tonoyan Doctrine: Armenia’s Active Deterrence Strategy”
By Grigor Hakobyan
On the eve of the third-year anniversary of Four Day War commemorations, it is necessary once again to look back at it in retrospect to analyze a number of significant mistakes that were made by the previous Armenian leadership in a number of critical areas of statecraft; among them military preparedness and foreign policy which led to the resumption of war in Artsakh after twenty-two years of hiatus. It is imperative to learn from the mistakes of the past to avoid making them again in the present and future. The Armenian people must learn to be self-reliant and self-sufficient. To accomplish these goals a number of adjustments in various areas of statecraft is necessary, among them foreign policy and defense planning.
Continue reading “Four Day War of 2016: Lessons Learned “
By Eduard Abrahamyan
March 21, 2019
The past two months saw Armenia engaged in an extraordinary flurry of diplomatic activity. Shortly after the parliament approved the post–Velvet Revolution government’s draft foreign policy program in early February, an Armenian delegation led by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan paid an official visit to Iran (Armenpress.am, February 27). Afterwards, on March 3, Pashinyan headed to Brussels to hold talks with high-level officials from the European Union regarding stepping up cooperation within the frameworks of the Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, adopted in 2018 (Azatutyun.am, March 4, 2019; Europa.eu, June 19, 2018).
Continue reading “Pashinyan’s Unclear Vision for Armenian Foreign Policy”