Armenia's use of the language of ultimatums in dealings with Russia

07.09.23 14:20

In recent days, Russia's relations with its supposedly "only ally" in the South Caucasus, Armenia, have become very strained. There is no chance of improving these relations. And if this is true, it means that France may have already promised a lot to Armenia. The Armenian authorities have resorted to eloquent hostile gestures and the language of ultimatums when talking to Russia, wherever they can. At the same time, public opinion in the Republic of Armenia itself has become extremely anti-Russian and Russophobic, and Russia is referred to only as an "enemy" and an "occupier".


Whatever happens from now on to the separatists of so-called "Artsakh" or to Armenia itself, the majority of Armenian nationalists will blame Russia and Russia alone. This is the implication of yesterday's ultimatum by the speaker of the Armenian parliament, Alen Simonyan:


"The questions are: is Russia preparing to fulfil its commitments, which have the Russian president's signature on them, or not?


We are talking about the unhindered operation of the Lachin corridor. 120,000 of our compatriots are hostages there, and according to the declaration of 9 November 2020, the five-kilometre-wide Lachin corridor should be under the control of Russian troops. The question is, is that the case today? No, it is not"...


Russia, which is supposed to protect the Karabakh people, today keeps them in a blockade. By its inaction, Russia keeps Nagorno-Karabakh in a blockade. Let them be honest, let them say that they don't have that much power to solve the problem. So it is not Armenia that is worsening its relations with Russia. Russia today is simply withdrawing from our region, trying to turn our region into a subject of speculation with Turkey in order to promote its own economic interests...


We have at least two very serious documents with Russia - the Armenian-Russian treaty and the CSTO agreement. Please fulfil your obligations. No place is empty. We will fill it, no matter by whom. The main thing is to protect our borders. – Alen Simonyan stated.


This is an ultimatum to Russia - either you do what we tell you to do, violate the sovereignty of another state (in this case Azerbaijan) and fulfil our wishes on its territory, or you are our enemies and we will throw you out of the region and replace you with others. Today, no one speaks to Russia with such commanding ultimatums, not even its geopolitical adversaries. Armenian nationalists allow themselves to command Russia as if it were their "guilty villeins".


In addition, Speaker Alen Simonyan declared that the Armenian parliament intends to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which obliges the Armenian authorities to arrest and hand over Russian leader Vladimir Putin to the ICC if he appears on Armenian territory:


"In all likelihood, the Rome Statute will be ratified. The document is at the stage of discussion. We will discuss, we will understand the benefits, and there are many, because war crimes have been and are being committed against our country. We need it, our country needs it.


Alen Simonyan's ultimatums are not the only anti-Russian gesture by the Armenian authorities. During the visit of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to Kiev (the purpose of which was to negotiate new US aid to Ukraine in its war with Russia), Nikol Pashinyan "sent" his wife Anna Hakobyan to Kiev. To make it clear to everyone that in the war between Russia and Ukraine, Yerevan is on the side of the latter.


Although Armenia is still helping to circumvent Western sanctions against Russia, notably by supplying microchips and other components for the weapons the Kremlin needs in its war against Ukraine. It is quite possible that Yerevan will also begin to "cover up" this loophole in sanctions evasion, which would be a very painful blow for Russia indeed.


In Russia itself, Armenian nationalists and propagandists have completely switched over to the war with Ukraine and Russia's alleged "successes" in it, which are no longer expressed in Russian seizures of Ukrainian lands, but in the "stalling of the Ukrainian counter-offensive" and "reduction of Western aid to Ukraine". None of them really knows what to do with Armenia, which is turning into Russia's enemy before their eyes. Nor do they know how to "save Artsakh".


The "pro-Russian" forces in Armenia itself look completely crushed and demoralised. They no longer even dare to organise rallies or actions "in favour of friendship with Russia". Those who were hoping for a "pro-Russian" coup in Armenia that would bring the revanchists to power can be reassured. The chances of such a coup are nil. Russia can only change power in Armenia through military aggression, similar to what happened in Ukraine, but the forces of the 102nd military base in Gyumri will by definition not be enough.


In this context, however, there is a growing possibility of a "desperate move", suicidal for Russia and disastrous for the South Caucasus region, which the Kremlin leadership can encourage the pro-Russian Armenian lobby to take. We are talking about a military invasion of Georgia in order to create a "military corridor" to Armenia, to change the authorities there and to start "saving Artsakh" - in other words, to organise a "great war" in the region.  This is certainly a crazy adventure, but it is not without risk. After all, the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine in 2022 was no less a crazy adventure.



George Kvinitadze

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