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The myth of “non-aligned” Armenia

November 13 2023, 22:30

In the future, the time will surely come for a detailed discussion of the events that took place in Armenia in 2018, but today we would like to note only one aspect of the events that took place more than five years ago: geopolitical rhetoric was completely absent from the speeches of the “revolutionary leaders”.

All revolutions in post-Soviet countries took place within the framework of “Are you on the side of Russia or the West?”. Those who were behind this process correctly calculated that if such a question were posed, then the balance of forces on Republic Square would be different, and the attitude of official Moscow would also be different.

This helped create the myth that the Armenian revolution is “different”. In Armenia, it was about fighting corruption and embezzlement rather than changing the geopolitical vector.

A number of experts, politicians and activists even then said that the absence of geopolitical rhetoric was just a smokescreen, and the goal of the process was not only the surrender of Artsakh but also the withdrawal of Russia from the South Caucasus, as well as the establishment of full control over the border with Iran by the West.

Judging by the statements of high-ranking Armenian officials (“Armenia is discussing the possibility of becoming a non-aligned state,” Security Council Secretary Armen Grigoryan said the other day), we understand that they intend to carry out the same trick with Armenia’s withdrawal from the military-political unions and alliances created by Russia, such as the CSTO and CIS.

The country is being withdrawn from these structures; the dome of military-political security is being destroyed, which, for good or bad, helps to ensure the security and territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia, which, in turn, “opens the door” for Turkish-Azerbaijani aggression against Armenia. So that Moscow or the Armenian public do not oppose this, the authorities are promoting a political myth about “non-aligned Armenia”.

The myth is needed to mitigate the reaction of Moscow and Tehran to the actions of the Armenian authorities, as well as to ensure that the Armenian public does not understand that the actions of the authorities lead to a new military aggression by Baku and Ankara. Thanks to the media and experts, the public says that Nikol Pashinyan is leading the country to a “bright European and NATO future.”

It should be noted that, of course, there may be a certain number of people in Armenia who are sincerely convinced that the country should change its foreign policy. Moreover, Russia’s uncertain policy in the South Caucasus, especially in Artsakh, only stimulates such conviction and multiplies the number of those who are inclined toward the need for a geopolitical U-turn.

However, the whole problem is that no one has promised to admit Armenia to the EU or to make it at least a candidate for EU membership. Not to mention membership in NATO. Moreover, the collective West even refused to evaluate Azerbaijan’s actions in Artsakh and avoided using the term “ethnic cleansing”. Given these conditions, who can seriously say that the West is ready to “embrace Armenia”?

We are talking about serious acceptance, not the format that we saw last week, when a group of “experts” was brought from Armenia to a small, half-empty Brussels hall, where they attended a forum on the topic “Strategic Future of Armenia”. One of the main arguments in their speeches was that “Armenia has already suffered enough losses (in the 2020 war, the loss of Karabakh in 2023); therefore, the path to the EU and NATO is open for Yerevan.” Give the same argument to the Ukrainians and listen to their story.

Once again, it must be said that Armenia in its current situation cannot be guided by the concepts of “pro-Russian”, “pro-Western” or “pro-Turkish”, since politics is a rational phenomenon and it is always necessary to evaluate the existing realities and design a policy based on them.

Actors who fail to do this always suffer irreparable damage. This is a political axiom. Any figure who refuses complementary policy and does not take into account the geopolitical and geographical realities falls into the zone of “political turbulence, which in the case of Armenia is fraught with the loss of statehood.

P.S. By the way, over the weekend in Paris, Nikol Pashinyan also complained that at the moment when he was talking about peace with Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan “quite unexpectedly” began to call Armenia “Western Azerbaijan”. Why does Pashinyan complain? After all, he shares the opinion of the adviser to the first president of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Zhirayr Liparityan, who previously stated that Aliyev’s statements about “Western Azerbaijan” are “a response to the 25-year occupation and humiliation carried out by Armenia,” and this idea was voiced by Pashinyan himself in one of his interviews.

So, changing the foreign policy will not prevent Azerbaijan from making territorial claims against Armenia.
What a “surprise”. But wasn’t it the policy of destroying Armenia’s security that led to the emergence of “Western Azerbaijan”?