Russian military planes deliver troops & vehicles as peacekeepers enter Nagorno-Karabakh
Russian peacekeepers enter disputed region through Lachin corridor
Russian peacekeepers arrive in Yerevan for Nagorno-Karabakh mission
Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire deal: A victory for Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan
Russia leaves little room for Turkey in Azeri-Armenian truce
In sum, Armenia took a heavy blow, which is likely to have lasting consequences for its already impoverished people and ailing economy and even impact the geopolitics of the region.
The cease-fire deal was, in a sense, Moscow’s kiss of life for Yerevan before the Armenian army faced total collapse. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan described the deal as “incredibly painful,” admitting that military leaders had advised him to accept the truce because “our resources were exhausted.”
A curious aspect of the deal requires one to distinguish between winners and losers both on the battlefield and at the negotiating table. Azerbaijan and Turkey were the winners on the ground, but Russia and Azerbaijan have emerged as the winners at the negotiating table. Turkey’s diplomatic gains appear dubious. Azeri President Ilham Aliyev mentioned a role for Turkey in monitoring the cease-fire, but Moscow was quick to assert that only Russian peacekeepers would be deployed.
For Moscow, the deal realizes a 2018 proposal to deploy Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh, which both sides had rejected at the time. It amounts to Russian control of Nagorno-Karabakh’s most populous and economically developed region and puts an end to the enclave’s status as an Armenian-run territory.
Through the deal, Moscow is effectively freezing the conflict again, but Baku is happy with the gains it has made. Aliyev achieves a short-term solution that pleases the Azeri public and strengthens his hand in domestic politics. He can easily sell the deal as a military victory. Baku’s hand will further strengthen — both at home and internationally — once Azeri refugees who fled their homes when the conflict first erupted in the 1990s begin to return to Nagorno-Karabakh under the deal.
It is important to note, however, that durable peace still requires a lasting political settlement.
Yerevan is headed for tough times, being the loser both on the battlefield and at the table. The sense of wounded national pride could sharpen nationalist feelings among the Armenian people and turn up pressure on Pashinyan’s government. What is certain is that the deal has markedly increased Armenia’s dependence on Russia.
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