What will follow the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia?
The successes of the Azerbaijani army in Nagorno-Karabakh forced the Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan to turn to Moscow for military assistance. However, the Kremlin made it very clear that they would stand up for Armenia only if she herself was in danger. Russian troops will not fight on the territory of the unrecognized republic. How then can Yerevan drag an ally into its civil strife with Azerbaijan?
With all due respect to the Armenian leadership, it is behaving in an inappropriate manner, demanding from Russia to protect Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). The problem is that this Armenian republic is not recognized as independent even by Armenia itself. The Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region (NKAO) had no legal right to secede from the Azerbaijan SSR in accordance with the Constitution of the USSR. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the administrative boundaries of sovereign Azerbaijan were recognized, including by Yerevan and Moscow itself.
There is also another view of this problem. Supporters of Artsakh's independence refer to the fact that the republic was created in accordance with the "right to protection" of the Armenian people within the framework of the so-called remedial secession. On the same grounds, the Republic of Kosovo was created in due time, it is also possible to draw some parallels with the formation of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics. However, Russia did not recognize either Kosovo or the DPR and LPR. If the Kremlin suddenly changes its position in relation to the legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh, this means that Baku will immediately become its enemy and finally "lie" under Ankara.
Questions will arise as to why Moscow ignores the requests of the proclaimed republics of Donbass, and their desire to join the Russian Federation. If the Kremlin nevertheless recognizes the independence of the DPR and LPR, one will have to ask why it did not do this before, if it recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and even included Crimea in the state. Where does this selectivity come from?
The issue with all these republics is the most delicate for Russia, and therefore the Armenian leadership can put pressure on it. If the Azerbaijani army, with the support of Turkey, gains the upper hand, Yerevan will have a choice: to capitulate, "drain" Artsakh, or make a "knight's move" with its recognition. Loss of Nagorno-Karabakh will be the end political Nikol Pashinyan's career, because the second option will be the least of all evils for him personally. But this will automatically transfer the situation in the region to a fundamentally different level of tension.
First, the Azerbaijan is likely to declare war on Armenia and transfer hostilities to its territory. This will force the Russian Federation to enter the war. Then Ankara will be even more actively involved in the matter from Baku. The appearance of Turkish military bases in Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea can be considered a settled matter.
Secondly, Yerevan can go even further by announcing the annexation of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. Considering that Armenia is a member of the CSTO, NATO will raise questions as to why the pro-Russian military bloc includes states with problem territories. In response, the North Atlantic Alliance will accept Georgia and Ukraine.
With just one step, Yerevan can overwhelm Russia and radically change the entire geopolitical alignment in the region. And before this step there is nothing left.
- Author: Sergey Marzhetsky