Moscow thinks that this time both Yerevan and Baku are interested in implementing the agreements reached. The Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said so on April 17, commenting on the agreements reached during the Mnatsakanyan-Mammedyarov meeting in Moscow two days ago attended by him.
The three co-chairs of the Minsk Group were attending this meeting. They issued a statement after the meeting in which they spoke about an agreement on steps towards peace, namely on stopping the shooting during the agricultural season and enabling visits of relatives to people held in custody, as well as mutual visits of the mass media.
It is interesting what the Russian foreign minister means by saying “this time”. Which time were the agreements ignored? Perhaps it is not difficult to guess which side was to blame for this. Azerbaijan has declined agreements on peaceful coexistence which believes in the military blackmail, military diplomacy.
After the velvet revolution in Armenia Baku’s policy which failed against the resistance of the Armenian army in the April war appeared in a more complicated situation. The point is not only the huge leap in the image of Armenia thanks to the velvet revolution. The new government of Armenia immediately directed the capital of the velvet revolution at leading change in the approach to the Artsakh issue, evidence to which was the visit of Nikol Pashinyan to Stepanakert on May 9 and the statements he made there, as well as a series of other important statements by Pashinyan and other high-ranking government officials that culminated on March 12 in the speech made in Stepanakert.
Armenia has started talking about the rights of Armenia and Artsakh as subjects, which has aroused a necessity for answers. Baku does not have answers and therefore all it can do is military blackmail or attempts to avoid them by meeting the conversation on peace without preconditions. In the first months of the velvet revolution Azerbaijan tried the possibility of military blackmail, especially that it got subtle “support” from certain circles of the former ruling system in Armenia, including the campaign for generation of such military blackmail in Armenia and ensuring its “effect”.
However, Yerevan did not step back, realizing that the problem is not the Artsakh issue only but the issue of the Armenian state which has got a historical chance thanks to the velvet revolution and if this chance is missed, destiny will be much crueler with any next government.
For its part, Moscow is also in a new situation. Lavrov’s statement is evidence to this. Russia which has not forgotten about the Kazan or Lavrov plans is aware that if the four-day war did not make it possible, it is practically impossible after the velvet revolution.
Moreover, afterwards the head of state of Armenia stated publicly that Russia will be responsible for the war. In this situation, Moscow has no alternative to the role of moderator of peaceful co-existence in the sense that the alternative should be the defeat of Armenia or Azerbaijan. Defeating Armenia will indicate its own defeat, and for the case of Azerbaijan Russia will do it for Armenia, not for its own sake. And it does not need this.
In addition to this, Russia loses a vibrant and dynamic geopolitical resource in the result of the international situation and tries to maintain the situation in the Caucasus, the status quo and its role by spending less resources.
Hence, currently Moscow is interested in possibly continuing the conversation about peace and tactically freezing the conflict to ensure that Baku uses the agreements that were in Moscow.
However, the question occurs what if Baku does not remain faithful to them. Here too, the situation is equivocal. After all, a too dynamic development of the peace “discourse” may lead to a deadlock. Hence, tactical observations may suggest a situation when it will be necessary to agree “several times” without moving on to full implementation. Hurrying is no good for any of the sides, not only in Yerevan, Baku or Moscow but also in the other close and far centers of power anyhow interested in the situation: Washington, Paris, Berlin, Tehran.