The Nagorno-Karabakh crisis has exposed stark divisions between Armenia and its key ally, Russia. Both countries have a long history of cooperation and Russia has been a firm supporter of Armenia in the new post-Soviet context. This is why the crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh has seen bitterness between the two countries yet the Kremlin remains supportive of its smaller neighbor.
The latest flare-up of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan has highlighted the increasingly fragile relationship between Russia and Armenia. Armenia heavily depends on Russia for defense and is heavily reliant on Russia’s economic and political pathways. However, this has caused tensions between the two countries as the Russian leadership has insisted on a ceasefire being agreed between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Despite this, Armenian PM Pashinyan has been vocal in his opposition to Russian influence in the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis and has accused the Kremlin of seeking to occupy the contested region.
The crisis has laid bare the fact that the relationship between Russia and Armenia is much more complicated than most had previously thought. This is exemplified by the fact that President Putin has refused to commit his support to Armenia and has urged both governments to enter negotiations. This has been a source of great disappointment to Armenia and has come as a shock to many in the country who had expected Russia to come to their aid in this conflict.
The Nagorno-Karabakh crisis has highlighted the fact that Armenia is no longer able to rely on Russia to bail them out in times of crisis. This has been particularly highlighted by the fact that the Kremlin has chosen to sit on the sidelines in this conflict in order to ensure that an amicable solution can be reached as opposed to backing one side or the other.
This has laid bare Armenia’s deteriorating relationship with Russia and the effect this is having on its ability to protect its own interests in the region. It is clear that this crisis has highlighted the urgent need for Armenia to develop its own independent foreign policy going forward. This will ensure that if the situation arises again then Armenia will be able to make its own decisions.