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Did Pashinyan surrender Artsakh for the Turkish gas pipeline through the territory of Armenia?

March 27 2024, 16:23


If you remember, after the 44-day war, Nikol Pashinyan repeatedly said that unblocking communications should concern not only Armenia but also the whole region. He said that Armenia would gain access to Russia and Iran through the territory of Azerbaijan.

Moreover, in January 2021, when there was only a Russian negotiating platform (Armenia-Russia-Azerbaijan), the Moscow newspaper Kommersant published an article from which it became clear that there was a draft document concerning the unblocking of communications under which Armenia would receive a railway branch through the territory of Azerbaijan to connect with Russia, as well as the highway to the Russian city of Derbent.

It would be logical to assume that the matter of communications connecting Armenia with both Russia and Iran through the territory of Azerbaijan should have been the subject of discussions within the framework of trilateral talks and reflected in a final agreement, almost equal to the peace treaty.

It is obvious that the security of communications (both through Armenia and through Azerbaijan), at least at a certain stage, could be assumed by the Russian side. This generally fits into the concept framed by the Russian authorities, who said that economic cooperation between the parties would reduce the degree of tension and distrust and that Russia was ready to provide the necessary assistance in this matter.

However, what happened later? What happened is that the so-called Western negotiating platform appeared, which became especially active with the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. Apparently, Pashinyan thought that “Russia is about to collapse” and decided to use the historical window of opportunity to completely shift the negotiation process to the West.
As a result, in October 2022 in Prague, Artsakh was recognized as part of Azerbaijan, which allowed Baku to begin a terrible blockade in December 2022 and to organize ethnic cleansing in Artsakh in September 2023.

In parallel, the process of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the “peace treaty” was underway, and by mid-spring 2024, we can observe that as soon as the Armenian Artsakh disappeared, the topic of Armenia’s communication with Russia and Iran through the territory of Azerbaijan immediately disappeared from the information agenda as well. This suggests that this issue has even dropped out of the Armenian-Azerbaijani talks, and now only the issue of communications through Armenia is being discussed. Armenia is no longer talking about any connection with Russia or Iran.

At the same time, Pashinyan, in his interview with the Greek Kathimerini, said that “there is the east-west wing, which can connect the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the Turkish Black Sea ports through the territory of Armenia. For this, highways, railways, pipelines, power transmission lines, and cables must enter Turkey from Azerbaijan through Armenia. And we are ready to provide such solutions”. What does this mean?

It means that Pashinyan’s Armenia is ready to become one big transit zone for Baku and Ankara, a zone through which all kinds of Turkish communications will pass.
Many supporters of the current government can say that this is a good scenario, especially considering that in the same interview, Pashinyan stated that the entire infrastructure should be under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the countries through which it passes.

Moreover, he noted that each country carries out border and customs control through its state institutions on its territory, as well as ensures security.
However, the reality of the past six years should have already taught us that Azerbaijan and Turkey are more honest with Armenians than Pashinyan is. What do they say about all this?

Azerbaijan rejects the idea that Armenia should control communications, demanding the control of a third party (by a third party, it means Turkey). At the same time, according to local press reports, which have not been refuted, Turkey proposes that Armenia grant Syunik special autonomy status to facilitate its expansion (both economically and, possibly, militarily).

In other words, we can note that Artsakh was surrendered for the sake of the Azerbaijani gas pipeline through Armenia and for the opportunity to make money on this gas pipeline. However, Pashinyan’s calculations will fail here too: Azerbaijan and Turkey will not allow Armenia to make money on transit. Azerbaijan and Turkey do not see Pashinyan’s Armenia as an independent entity whose interests should be considered, much less that they would pay for transit.

Let’s be honest: the Pashinyan state is unable to perform its basic functions, which include ensuring the security of its citizens and its territorial integrity. If the state does not perform its basic function, why do its leaders believe that someone (in our case, Armenia’s existential enemies Turkey and Azerbaijan) will allow such a state to have the right to collect taxes, including for transit?

Think about it…