What Does the Putin-Aliyev Embrace Mean for Artsakh?

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin embrace in Baku on Monday (TASS photo)
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin embrace in Baku on Monday (TASS photo)

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin embrace in Baku on Monday (TASS photo)

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

The news out of Baku on Monday, as Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived for talks with his Azerbaijani and Iranian counterparts, signaled Moscow’s heavy hand in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution process.

Putin told reporters that Russia was continuing to assist Armenia and Azerbaijan to come up with compromises to end the Karabakh conflict, saying “there should be no winners and losers” in the process.

At the same time, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev sounded upbeat following his meeting with Putin, thanking the Russian leader for his role in the conflict resolution process.

So where do all the niceties emanating from Baku leave Armenia and more important, Artsakh?

It’s no secret that the four-day war in April has resulted in increased scrutiny on the Karabakh conflict with the leaders of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries becoming directly involved in the process. Russia, however, seems to have been given a carte blanche to advance the negotiations with the thorny issue of concessions taking center stage.

It is also no secret that Armenia is coming under increasing pressure from the mediators to take a step in unknotting the status quo, which Azerbaijan unilaterally challenged with its violent attack in early April that mainly targeted the Martakert region, with Talish and Madaghis being the epicenter.

While the international community–including the Minsk Group co-chairing countries, the US, Russia and France–has yet to condemn Azerbaijan for its vicious attack on civilian and military targets, Baku aggressive behavior has prompted the three countries to stand at attention and come up with a resolution to the conflict that is sure to benefit Azerbaijan more than any other party to the conflict.

To begin with, the basis for the conflict resolution process, the so-called Madrid Principles, is skewed heavily in favor of Azerbaijan and the implementation of the said principles would force Armenia and Artsakh to cede territory in return for a nebulous provision mandating a referendum to determine Artsakh’s status.

“Reaching a compromise means finding an optimal balance between the principles of territorial integrity and the right of peoples to self-determination. We are fully aware of the responsibility that rests on the shoulders of the Armenian and Azerbaijani leadership. We welcome the constructive approach that prevailed during the latest summit on the conflict settlement held on June 20, 2016, in St. Petersburg,” Putin said on Monday in an interview with the Azerbaijani press.

On June 16, one day before an armed group calling itself the “Daredevils of Sasoun” seized a police compound in Yerevan sparking a two-week standoff that is certain to change Armenia’s political landscape for the foreseeable future, President Serzh Sarkisian was in Artsakh where he asked key stakeholders there about the possibility of ceding territory for peace. Reportedly, the answer was an almost unanimous rejection of such an approach.

Sarkisian also mentioned Artsakh last week when he broke his two-week silence after the standoff with the “Daredevils of Sasoun” came to an end.

“There will be no unilateral concessions in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Never! Nagorno Karabakh will never be part of Azerbaijan. Never. I repeat, once again: it is out of question,” said Sarkisian, who elevated Armenia’s recent diplomatic vernacular, which places the emphasis on Artsakh’s independence without addressing territorial concessions.

Sarkisian is scheduled to meet Putin in Moscow on Wednesday and both sides have confirmed that the Artsakh issue will be high on the agenda of topics the two leaders will discuss.

With Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declaring last month that a final solution to the Karabakh conflict was imminent and Aliyev sounding uncharacteristically enthusiastic after his meeting with Putin on Monday, signal that Sarkisian may be cornered into a situation whereby territorial concessions would not be out of the question.

That scenario would be unacceptable since not one inch of territory must be ceded to Azerbaijan, which the mediators are eager to appease. NOT ONE INCH.

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16 Comments

  1. Tavit said:

    Again, the Russians will backstab Armenians. This is not the first time and wouldn’t be the last time. I suspect the one day war was planned between Russia, Azerbaijan and may be Sarkisyan to intimidate the Armenians in Armenian, Artsakh and diaspora so that Armenians unilaterally make Artsakh land concessions.

  2. Vache said:

    Azerbaijan wants to use the negotiations to arrive at a situation where it can attack Artsakh from the outside and/or inside and eventually conquer it.

    I believe that Armenians would give back SOME land, but not all.

    What Azerbaijan wants, however, is to get enough land to surround Artsahk and launch a successful attack.

    Azerbaijan has no intention to agree with Artsakh independence or even autonomy in the long run.

    Ask yourself: why would Azerbaijan want to rule over an Armenian region except to push the Armenians out?

    • jOE said:

      THE ONLY SOLUTION TO THAT SCENARIO IS PEACE KEEPERS. ARMENIA DOESN’T WANT PEACE KEEPERS. NEITHER DOES IRAN.

  3. GB said:

    ….It mean he will get safe haven comfort in Moscow as long as follow Putin’s dictatorial rules over Axerbaijan!

  4. vartan said:

    picture speaks for itself, treason , betrayal , why even we have to rely on any foreign leader ?????? what is wrong with us ,

    • jOE said:

      Where is the 200 million worth of Russian arms? Whens it going to be delivered?

  5. Arn.Sweden. said:

    Typical Turkish policy,
    They always want to dominate other Peoples !

    Armenias ties with Iran next – against Turkish Politic ?

    Arn.Sweden.

  6. Vindicated Man said:

    It does’t matter what ‘others’ decide – Artsakh decided to become idependent. And fom the USSR, by the way, as technically it has not been part of Azerbaijan. It will fight and win again, if it has to.

  7. Harutik said:

    Being that Armenians are emotional and politically ignorant, Armenians do not realize that even almighty Israel was forced by its greatest ally – the US – to return the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and the Gaza Strip to Palestinians. Even almighty Israel cannot outright annex the Western Bank because its American allies don’t want it to. Armenians in the Diaspora have absolutely NOT RIGHT to demand ANYTHING. It is Armenians of Artsakh and to a lesser extent Armenians of Armenia that have the right to make a decision about land concessions. In the end, I believe Artsakhtsis have the foresight to agree to land concessions IF doing so will lead to genuine peace between the two nations. Armenia’s red line have to be Artsakh proper and the region between Armenia and Artsakh. The “five territories” can be returned if Baku recognizes Artsakh’s independence. Another 25 years of the geopolitical climate we have had during the previous 25 years will sink Armenia hopelessly deeper into a third world existence. The south Caucasus region desperately needs peace and stability for it to develop economically. If the powers that be (primarily Russia) can guarantee that land concessions will bring lasting peace, then so be it.

    PS: Almost exactly one hundred years ago our “nationalists” not only lost all of Western Armenia but also parts of Eastern Armenia because they were stubborn, Russophobic, shortsighted and maximalistic in their demands and also because they trusted Western powers. We can’t afford repeating the same mistake.

    • jOE said:

      Same person that blames Armenia’s plight today for not following the Bolsheviks”? Ridiculous. Sorry to say but those are losing ides of yours. The ONLY armenian that survived were the ones that fought and didn’t go along. All else were butchered once they were disarmed by the state.. Lets be clear: The REAL ISSUE is the lack of ARMENIAN UNITY. THATS THE REAL REASON WHY WE ARE WERE WE ARE TODAY. Because Armenians like you value others more then you do your own. That’s why you call other Armenians “politically ignorant”. Armenia’s leaders today are caught between maintaining their own wealth and power and doing the work of the people. Not an easy task to do well for a corrupt system. So I disagree with you wholly on concession as a way of peace. Tell me one time Turks honored anything good with Armenian? There isn’t any. Turks want us gone. Do you understand that? The only guarantee Armenia has is it army. Also The Diaspora has EVERY RIGHT to demand what happens to Karabakh. The Diaspora is the MAJOR contributor to both Armenia and Karabkh and basically the real reason the Armenians are on any political footing. In fact I have said for years let the Diaspora serve in the Armenian military. Im convinced the current leadership doesn’t want that as that might lead to sustainable threats to their oligarch rule from the outside. UNITY is the answer. ONE ARMENIA is the answer.

  8. Armen said:

    NOT ONE INCH! So what’s the other option? “Democracy” is going to make the country suddenly have a GDP of 500 billion dollars? If you want peace you have to make compromises, otherwise this war will never end and everyone in Armenia will continue to suffer. Unless you feel like picking up a rifle SHUT THE F UP!

  9. Albertino said:

    Means nothing good. And concur with the first comment – typical Russian politics. From Tsarist Russia (let’s invade the Southern Caucasus but not really), Soviet (let’s appease Ataturk, he’ll surely be on our side) to current Russia (let’s openly sell arms to both sides in the name of balance)- it’s in the nature of the political game they play and the same reason why they are at best respected/feared (e.g. Turkey) but typically despised (e.g. Lithuania, Poland, Estonia, Ukraine, Romania…) – funny how those that had to deal with the most , “like” them least. A lesson could have been learned for Armenia, but instead we decided that we that shit again (admittedly, not having a million other options)?

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