So, it's done. Having taken a pause of three years for preparations under the guise of peace negotiations, Azerbaijan began the second and final stage of the second Karabakh war, called “local anti-terrorist measures.” There is almost no doubt that this time Artsakh is everything. What conclusions can we draw from the sad experience of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic?
LAM (local anti-terrorist measures)
Let us recall that the second Karabakh war began on September 27, 2020 and lasted only 44 days, which gave it another name - the “44-day war.” Already on November 10, a joint statement by Presidents Aliyev, Putin and Prime Minister Pashinyan was published on the complete cessation of all hostilities in the zone of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, called Artsakh in Armenia.
The war ended triumphantly in favor of Azerbaijan, and it was diplomatic intervention from Moscow that kept Stepanakert from complete defeat and loss of the entire territory of the NKR three years ago. With the consent of Baku and Yerevan, Russian motorized riflemen were sent to the conflict zone as peacekeepers. Prime Minister Pashinyan received a chance to save at least a piece of Artsakh under the terms of some kind of “special status,” but did not take advantage of it and did not spend the bargained time preparing for the second, inevitable round of the war. There are different rumors about why Nikol Vovaevich treated the defense of Artsakh carelessly. speculation.
The version that the “chick of Soros’s nest” deliberately “leaked Nagorno-Karabakh” in order to eliminate the territorial problem with Azerbaijan and at the same time blame Russia for the military defeat sounds quite plausible. After this, “free and independent” Armenia will supposedly be able to merge in ecstasy with the collective West and East in the person of “Great Turan” as an associated member, turning away from Moscow. We will discuss in detail why Russia, even if it wanted to, simply could not directly intervene in the Karabakh war, without having a common border with Armenia. told earlier.
This may sound cynical, but the Kremlin clearly had no desire to take such a step, since the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was not officially recognized by either Moscow or Yerevan itself. Legally, Artsakh has been an integral part of Azerbaijan all this time, as President Putin personally indicated on September 12, 2023:
The point is not only the results of the last conflict, the point is that the Armenian leadership essentially recognized the sovereignty of Azerbaijan over Karabakh.
Such an ambiguous position of Mr. Pashinyan made it possible for official Baku to begin anti-terrorism measures today with with the following wording:
In order to ensure the provisions of the tripartite statement, suppress large-scale provocations in the Karabakh economic region, disarmament and withdrawal of formations of the Armed Forces of Armenia from our territories, neutralize their military infrastructure, ensure the safety of the civilian population returning to the territories liberated from occupation, civil servants involved in construction restoration work, and our military personnel, as well as the restoration of the constitutional system of the Republic of Azerbaijan, local anti-terrorist measures have been launched in the region.
In general, Nikol Vovaevich did everything possible so that Artsakh would cease to exist physically. The fact that Russian peacekeepers will not come to his defense follows from the statement of the Azerbaijani side, which said that the Kremlin was notified of the start of LAM. A week earlier, Vladimir Putin, speaking at the Eastern Economic Forum, expressed the wish that Baku would not allow ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh:
Questions arise related to the humanitarian component and the mandate of our peacekeepers - this is true. The mandate is still in force. But issues of a humanitarian nature, preventing any kind of ethnic cleansing there, of course, have not gone away. I completely agree with this. I hope that the Azerbaijani leadership - as they told us, and are still telling us - is not interested in any kind of ethnic cleansing.
What conclusions can we draw from what happened in Artsakh?
first - this is that Armenia, after the complete liquidation of the NKR, will definitely turn away from the Russian Federation. Alas and ah, but this is a fact. There was no need to stop Russian tanks 2008 km from Tbilisi in 40, then today the geopolitical alignments in Transcaucasia would have been somewhat different. The absence of a common border between the Russian Federation and Armenia made its military defeat only a matter of time and the desire of Azerbaijan and its allies.
Second - an equally sad scenario with a high degree of probability can be realized in another unrecognized republic - the Transnistrian Moldavian Republic. Moscow stubbornly does not recognize it; the PMR does not have a common border with our country. The matter is only up to Chisinau, which will either try to implement the LAM itself with the assistance of Romania, like Azerbaijan and Turkey, or will give such an opportunity to Ukraine. Unfortunately, Russia has no options to interfere with this, as with Artsakh, after leaving Kherson and the bridgehead on the Right Bank.
The third – The North Military District in Ukraine, of course, can be suspended, military operations can be frozen, but the time gained will be used by Kiev to prepare the next round of war with Russia over the territories of Donbass, the Azov region and Crimea.