Although recent history is constantly being appealed to, the reality shows that history is very poorly studied in Moscow. Otherwise they would not repeat the mistakes that have cost Russia humiliation defeats and geopolitical failures.
The current Russian war in Ukraine is increasingly being compared to the Crimean War. At that time the Russian authorities underestimated the enemy, and then Russia found itself without allies, and in the same way it provoked the war itself, acting as aggressor (in 1853 illegally occupied the Danubian principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, which were part of the Ottoman Empire, and in 2022 organized the invasion of the Ukraine). But the most interesting thing is that both then and now, it seems, the main geopolitical opponent, which is outplayed by Russia, may be France.
One more point. For some reason, serious analysts underestimate the factor of the Vatican, the Pope, and religion in general when studying the history of the Crimean War and the current war in Ukraine (and by and large the conflicts in the South Caucasus).
In the 19th century, the Crimean War was triggered by a dispute between the Russian Empire and France over the rights to Christian shrines in Palestine. France's claims to these shrines were not so much due to the interests of politicians in Paris, but rather to the interests of the popes. At the time, the popes controlled the so-called Papal Region, Rome and its environs. A total of 41,000 square kilometres. This, by the way, is more than the area of the Republic of Armenia in its internationally recognized borders, and the Papal Region, unlike today's Armenia, was located on the shore of the sea. In this state the popes were absolute monarchs, but at that time this theocracy was held entirely by the French.
It was then that a kind of symbiosis developed between the popes and France, which for some reason was not fully realised and even underestimated by prominent statesmen. One might even recall Joseph Stalin, who, on hearing the Vatican object to something, ironically interrogated: "The Pope of Rome? How many divisions does he have?".
Well, in fact the "divisions" were given to the Pope then, and many times in history, by France. And in fact it was not the only one. Following the Crimean War Russia lost its "exclusive" rights as the defender of Christians in the Ottoman Empire, and of course this right was "taken away" by France and the Popes. It was then that the Roman throne began to engage very closely in the "Armenian project" and in fact completely subjugated the Armenian communities to its influence, while Russia naively continued to think that "the Armenians are grateful to the Russians".
However, Paris and Rome could not quickly realise all their plans for the "Eastern Christians", including the Armenians, at that time (and they were then supposed to be used to divide the Ottoman Empire). As we know, the Franco-Prussian War broke out in 1870, which not only resulted in the defeat of France and the final defeat of Germany, but also in the withdrawal of the French contingent from Rome. Rome was quickly occupied by the troops of a united Italy. The secular power of the popes in Rome and the Papal States was abolished and the pope moved to his residence at the Vatican, which did not gain the status of a microscopic sovereign state until 1929.
But as we know, no structure in the world is more enduring and "survivable" than the religious ones. And now, in 1979, a new phase of history begins. And this stage began where no one expected a "theocratic renaissance.
The fact is that in 1979, in addition to the Vatican (which became the Papal Region of Rome, "shrunken" to one block), there was, unexpectedly, a new theocratic state in the world: the Islamic Republic of Iran. In it, as in the Papal States, all power, absolute and unrestricted, belonged to the supreme clergy. True, it is not Catholic but Shiite, but it is also unheritable, also "separated" from the people, also relies on the clergy's traditional authority with the common people and also abuses power terribly, but is not shy about making alliances with "non-Christians and godless people".
Basically the features of clerical domination there and here are remarkably identical. Only in Rome during the Papacy, the pope and cardinals had power, and in Tehran the ayatollahs, but they also exercised total dictate over all spheres of society.
The leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, flew to Tehran in 1979, where he was enthusiastically welcomed by the revolutionary crowd, not from anywhere, but from Paris. That said, the Tehran regime's anti-Western rhetoric almost never concerned France or the Vatican. Also, "by a strange coincidence", both Iranian ayatollahs, popes and French presidents have the same "favourites" in the region - Armenia and Armenians.
What the authorities in Iran and the Vatican have in common today is the uttermost hypocrisy. Just as Pope Francis, under the guise of pseudo-Christian rhetoric, almost openly tramples Christian values and "overlooks" the actual persecution of conservative Christians in Western countries under the pretext of their "intolerance", the Iranian Ayatollahs have closed their eyes to the fact that for nearly 3 decades their "allies" in the face of the Yerevan regime have not only organized ethnic cleansing, expelling all Muslims from Armenia, but also seized internationally recognized lands of Azerbaijan, resulting in over 1 million Muslims becoming refugees. Muslims became refugees.
When Azerbaijan liberated its territories and began unblocking communications, Paris and Tehran were most outraged. Tehran is actively " brandishing weapons" and demonstratively moving troops to the northern border, when Armenian nationalists and " unscathed" Artsakh separatists in the zone of responsibility of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh start screaming about the alleged " Azerbaijani aggression". At the same time, Tehran's bellicose actions usually "by a strange coincidence" go in unison with the "outrages" of Paris, which diplomatically fully supports Armenia, but does not yet have its armed forces in the region.
It appears that both Paris (explicitly) and Tehran (implicitly) are beginning to perceive Russia as " wasted material" and a " drawn-out force". And Russia, which has played a huge role in supporting Armenian nationalism and has received nothing but trouble in return, is simply being pushed out of the region.
This is how French President Emmanuel Macron's recent scandalous accusations against Russia of "inflaming the situation" on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in order to "destabilise the situation" in the Caucasus region and beyond should be perceived. The French leader claims that Moscow was "playing in favour" of Baku. The Elysée Palace host made his comments about Russia in the "L'Événement" at France 2 TV channel.
Host Caroline Roux read out an extract from an address to the French president by the famous traveller and author Sylvain Tesson, who recently returned from Armenia. In this address, Tesson states in particular:
"For us, Armenia is not just a territory like others. Its destiny, its history, its memory, its culture, its pain, its land, its dead... it is a European frontline. Mr. President, the Armenians are addressing you. Will France take the risk of consolidating its allies to protect Armenia?"
The presenter also rebuked Macron for saying that France had "abandoned Armenia to its fate".
Macron responded by saying that there is a "unique bond" between France and Armenia and rejected reproaches of indifference to Armenia's fate, mentioning France's recognition of the mythical "Armenian genocide" in the Ottoman Empire.
The French president also referred to the 44-day war stating "Two years ago there was a war in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is internationally unrecognised and disputed territory, but Armenia was in Karabakh because Karabakh is in the heart of that country. Azerbaijan started a terrible war with many casualties and violent scenes and occupied the territory."
President Emanuel Macron used a unique term "internationally unrecognized territory". Although, in general, France has always officially supported the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and in international legal practice the concept of "internationally unrecognized territory" is absent. At that, assuming a self-appointed role of "mediator" Emanuel Macron criticized Russia's mediating role as not being "pro-Armenian" enough" according to his logic:
"What has been happening on this border for two years now? There are 5,000 Russian soldiers there. Russia took advantage of this conflict, intervened and clearly played the game of Azerbaijan with the complicity of Turkey. It went back there to weaken Armenia. And what is happening here is a destabilizing maneuver by Russia, which is trying to create unrest in the Caucasus to weaken and divide us all," Macron went on to elaborate.
According to Macron: "France is here, present and mediating. And we will not abandon the Armenians.
Generally speaking, a mediator in international law is a neutral, impartial entity with no interest in the conflict - a mediator who helps the parties to work out a certain agreement on the dispute. But Macron stated unequivocally that "Armenia is a country with which we have a special bond", making it clear whose side France was originally on.
And when asked if the EU has any particular tolerance towards Azerbaijan because of the recent agreement on gas deliveries, the French President noted that his country does not buy fuel from Baku: "France does not buy Azerbaijani gas, there is no agreement. Of course, several European countries have gas contracts. As for France and the voice of Europe, looking straight in your eyes and in front of all our compatriots, I must say that our values and our principles cannot be bought with either gas or oil," Macron said.
Azerbaijan and Russia reacted sharply to Macron's statement. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that the current French leadership has crossed over the history of Paris' friendly and balanced relationship with Baku. In turn, speaking at the expanded meeting of the CIS Heads of State Council in Astana on October 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin called incorrect and unacceptable the statements of his French colleague Emmanuel Macron on Russia's role in the resolution of the Karabakh conflict and Armenian-Azerbaijani relations. The Russian leader admitted that he was surprised to read some of the statements made by French President after the quadrilateral meetings in Prague.
The Russian President believes that in the words of the French President there is no understanding of the very course of the conflict and there is no information about the positions of the sides. The Russian leader suggested that Macron was simply uninformed about the positions of the sides in the Karabakh conflict.
However, in reality, Macron knows and understands the positions of Azerbaijan and Armenia very well. Moreover, he is largely shaping Yerevan's position. France now feels that Russia is weakening in the South Caucasus region. And it is trying to take its place, again as the "saviour of poor Armenians".
As on the eve of the Crimean war more than a century and a half ago, the factor of "Christians East", supposedly "oppressed", becomes a trump card in the hands of global forces. The "Armenian project" plays a key role in destabilising the situation not only in the Near and Middle East, but also in Eurasia in general, given the influence of the Armenian lobby in Russia. Russia will be deliberately weakened in the fratricidal war in Ukraine and "given over to destruction". Especially since the diplomacy led by the representative of the Armenian lobby in Russia, Lavrov-Kalantaryan, has performed its tasks "brilliantly" - Russia is completely devoid of allies, as it was on the eve of the Crimean war.
But in the Paris-Vatican nexus the roles are reversed today. It was on the eve of the Crimean War that the popes owed everything to France. Today, France is more of an instrument in the Roman See's plans. This could not be otherwise, because Paris, as a "secular" centre, plans for decades at the most, while the Vatican, as a religious "supranational" organization, plans for centuries.
The Vatican is clearly working to establish a global theocracy in which the pope is seen as a kind of "supra-confessional Roman ayatollah", modeled on the ayatollahs of the Tehran regime. The experiment has to be acknowledged as a success. No "secular" power could so brutally suppress the national aspirations of the multi-ethnic Iranian peoples, including the Turks, and force many of them to serve projects aimed at genocide and oppression of their own people (and the military leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran is largely composed of Azerbaijanians).
However, to establish such a "global theocracy", its architects need to create global chaos. Then any "conciliator", especially one propagated by the world media, will be perceived by suffering countries and peoples as a "saviour". This is precisely the purpose for which borders are melted down, conflicts are organised, separatist hotbeds and "perpetual" wars are supported. Some peoples have long been turned into hostages of these wars and "external" puppeteers, who are constantly pitting them against their neighbours, giving hope of "victory", for which there is by definition no realistic chance. The Armenian people have become exactly such a hostage.