For several tangible reasons, the political pendulum in Moscow is swinging back in favor of Armenia. There are many signals and political statements which need to be analyzed to chart a pattern that indicates a movement in the right direction.
Armenians who have favored and believed in Russia’s friendship for the last two centuries were beginning to get frustrated in view of Russia’s inaction in the face of existential threats in the past year.
No matter how authoritarian Russia may be, it could not fail to understand Armenia’s democratic election’s message this spring. Former President Robert Kocharyan’s sound defeat during the last election cycle was a rebuke to Russia by the Armenian populace. Kocharyan unabashedly symbolized the pro-Russian policy, and there was even talk that after an eventual Kocharyan victory, the road would be paved toward the formation of a state bringing into a federative structure Russia, Armenia and Belarus.
President Vladimir Putin, in the aftermath of the disastrous Azerbaijani victory over Armenia, had declared that any party failing to fulfill its obligations undertaken in the November 9 tripartite ceasefire declaration would be committing suicide. But as time passed, that suicide pact was relegated only to Armenia, as Azerbaijan refused to release Armenian POWs, began border conflicts with Armenia and above all, did not sign the mandate to allow Russian peacekeeping forces on its soil.
Since the November 9 ceasefire, Armenia has been under intense pressure to acquiesce to Russian demands in allowing Azerbaijan to join the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) structures. But Ankara dampened Moscow’s hopes in ensnaring Azerbaijan within its zone of influence. Instead, Azerbaijan signed an agreement to station Turkish military base on its soil to counter Russian presence in the region and with the Shushi Declaration last month, laid the foundations of a federated state with Turkey.
While Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu was bragging about the Russo-Turkish agreement in the Caucasus, Ankara was stabbing Moscow in the back by arming Ukraine with Bayraktar drones which had defeated the Russian armaments in the recent Karabakh war, while additionally joining Ukraine to help snatch Crimea from Russia’s grip.