Things around the unblocking of the Zangezur corridor and other communications in the South Caucasus, as well as progress towards the conclusion of a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan, have begun to improve dramatically. And, by all indications, it is the Armenian side that is beginning to take steps towards a meeting, having recently slowed down the process of unblocking communications in every way possible.
At the meeting of the Armenian government on Thursday February 17, 2022, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said he hoped to sign a legal document with Azerbaijan in the near future which would enable to begin construction of the Arazdeyen-Julfa-Ordubad-Meghri-Goradiz railway. Pashinyan also noted that Armenia is now carrying out concrete work on the construction of the Armenian section of the railway. Earlier the same Pashinyan said that Armenia was ready to sign a peace treaty with Azerbaijan.
To be sure, in Karabakh, under the cover of the peacekeepers, the underhanded 'Artsakh' separatists still continue their outrages and provocative actions. But, by and large, the first signs have emerged that it is the Armenian side that wants to establish transit through the Zangezur corridor as soon as possible, to make peace with its neighbours and to fix the internationally recognised border. What happened?
Let's remind, that a month and half ago, during aggravation of the situation in Kazakhstan, Armenia did not want to hear about quick launch of Zangezur corridor. Moreover, at that moment Nikol Pashinyan unexpectedly showed himself as almost "the master of Eurasia's fate". Exactly he announced the rapid deployment of the CSTO troops in Kazakhstan. Moreover, along with the Russian military, the Armenian ones arrived there, although they were of little use. It is clear that such behaviour of Pashinyan and Armenia was coordinated with global geopolitical players.
However, for a time the Armenian nationalists had the illusion of their own importance and that it would be possible to use the same Russia wherever it could go against the interests of Turkey and Azerbaijan. This meant that Armenia still hoped to be sought after by those who saw it precisely as a "geopolitical counterweight" to Turkey.
It was not long before the situation began to change dramatically. And, apparently, at the instigation or according to the plans of the same geopolitical players. First, Russia and CSTO were "thanked for services" and asked to leave Kazakhstan as soon as possible, and it happened unexpectedly.
According to some reports, the request was also backed by the position of China, which, in principle, is not very keen on bringing Central Asia back into Russia's full orbit. Despite the cooperation and supposed "alliance" between Russia and China.
The second is that the situation around Ukraine has begun to sharply escalate. We are already talking about Russia's planned full-scale invasion of Ukrainian territory. Moreover, everyone is well aware that the conflict began 8 years ago with the annexation of Crimea and separatism in Donbass. That is, the very separatism that the Armenian lobby in the post-Soviet space was initially supporting in every possible way.
No matter how the situation around Ukraine develops, one thing is clear: the West has taken a concerted anti-Russian stance and will push Russia out of its spheres of influence as far as possible. No matter how the Ukrainian crisis is resolved.
If Russia backs down and withdraws its troops from the Ukrainian border after issuing ultimatums and "rattling weapons", it will be clearly perceived as weakness and retreat. And that pressure on Russia can and should be increased. The direction in which this pressure will be applied is obvious: the accelerated admission of Ukraine and Georgia into NATO and the elimination of the separatist pseudo-formations on their territories. This includes the project of separatist Abkhazia, so carefully nurtured by the Armenian lobby, which is turning into a "maritime Armenia". Naturally, in this case, there can be no talk of any "Artsakhs" or border changes in favour of Greater Armenia in the South Caucasus.
If Russia invades Ukraine, the consequences will be even more catastrophic for it. The war would deplete its resources, cause irreparable damage to internal stability, and most likely, in one form or another, is guaranteed to end in defeat for Russia. Because both NATO and the entire Western world will unite against Russia and sooner or later will be forced to retreat, having depleted its resources. This is not to mention the blow to the Russian economy with the promise of harsh Western sanctions.
If Russia is in economic trouble because of sanctions, it will not have time to support Armenia yet. In addition, a "stuck" Russia in Ukraine will weaken its presence in other parts of the post-Soviet space. The Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh may be withdrawn not in four years, but much earlier.
Russia will definitely become an aggressor in the eyes of the world community. And Armenia, an ally of the aggressor country on CSTO, will find itself in a very delicate situation. And it can hardly rely on help from its traditional Western patrons, such as France. After all, France is thereby "destroying Western unity" and helping the ally of the aggressor country.
Anyway, if the Ukrainian crisis escalates, the uncertainty over Armenia's borders could call its existence into question. In the event of an aggravation of the situation, no one will really stand up for Armenia (Russia will obviously not care about the South Caucasus). After all, in this case, Azerbaijan, in response to the slightest provocation by Armenian nationalists, can easily occupy its historical lands, on which the current Republic of Armenia is located precisely for reasons of global security.
Moreover, it will do so with the full approval of the world community, if the conflict in Ukraine will threaten the Ukrainian nuclear power plants, and in Armenia, as we know, the world's most dangerous Metsamor nuclear power plant is still in operation. Then Azerbaijan and Turkey can simply introduce troops into Metsamor, to take control of the NPP and the world community will perceive it with full understanding and approval. All the more the world mass-media has recently stirred up the news that the Russian troops in Belarus built a pontoon bridge across the Pripyat river in 6 kilometres from the Belarus-Ukraine border, not far from the location of the notorious Chernobyl NPP, which in general, unlike Metsamor NPP, was taken out of operation, but is still perceived as a threat to global security.
It was precisely in order to have agreements with neighbours and fixed borders in Yerevan in the event of an escalation of the Ukrainian crisis that they began to move quickly towards peace and the unblocking of the same Zangezur corridor. In other words, they did not even want to talk about it.
Regarding Turkey and Azerbaijan, they have always declared their readiness to make peace and establish peaceful coexistence and good-neighbourly relations with Armenia. However, on the prerequisite of territorial integrity and inviolability of borders.