Armenians had to face severe consequences for the gross incompetence of our leaders during the bloody war in Artsakh. For some, Nikol Pashinyan was perhaps the worst Prime Minister Armenia could’ve had during the war. He was unprepared for Azerbaijan’s onslaught even though he had two years to purchase similar drones that were killing our young soldiers by Azerbaijan’s troops.
Whether this was a preemptive semi-staged war that Pashinyan’s opponents call treachery or just plain luck, Armenia came out of this a winner in many ways. That of course shouldn’t undermine the annihilation of a generation of young Armenian soldiers whose deaths were unparalleled to any loss of land or material.
The biggest winner in this conflict came out to be Russia. Vladimir Putin saw the opportunity to play his chess game, before the anti-Russia president-elect Joe Biden came into office in the United States. Putin also checkmated Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan in such a way that it was unprecedented for both Turkey and Azerbaijan. In the ‘unholy’ agreement between Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan, there were to be 2,000 Russian peacekeepers in and around Artsakh. However to date, some 15,000 Russian soldiers with heavy artillery are headed to the region which evidently makes the humanitarian clause a small fraction of the intrusion.
So how did Armenia win the war? Armenia has the opportunity to play an important role in the Russia-Iran axis if it takes clever and strategic steps. Despite the fact that Azerbaijan will gain access to Nakhichevan though Armenia if the deal ever went through, Armenia will in turn gain access to the Iranian railway running through Nakhichevan and connecting directly to the Russian railway through Azerbaijan. This will have huge economic implications for Armenia, who will no longer need to depend on its poorly managed transportation route through Georgia.
With the new agreement, the future of Armenia could be blockade-free, have a much stronger economy and contain a vital partnership with Russia. Also, the likelihood of a future war will become next to none as a result of trade and partnership agreements between the surrounding parties.
Putin knows that Armenia will always be the most reliable partner, perhaps among all the ex-soviet states. It’s clear that at this point, Putin wants Pashinyan to stay as long as Pashinyan rids his surroundings of pro-Western ‘Soros agents’ and hires an intelligent Russia-enthusiast team.
The greatest losses in this war were of course the young Armenian soldiers, Shushi and some of Hadrut. The buffer zones had to be given back anyway, regardless of whether it was Pashinyan or Serj Sarkisian in power.
However, while it may not seem so right now, Azerbaijan is the bigger loser in this agreement. Azerbaijan is now realizing that it has lost Artsakh for good to the Russians and after 30 years and a large-scale war, it has no chance of ever getting it back. While Armenia has a functioning democracy, Azerbaijan, with a volatile economy dependent on oil, is a dictatorship in all its meaning. When the people of Azerbaijan realize that the Artsakh war waged by the Aliyev regime was utterly meaningless, they will be turning to the streets again to continue a revolt that was started right before the war.
Emotions are running high at the moment — and rightfully so — but there needs to come a time when we Armenians put them aside and turn on our rational brains. Armenians worldwide have a unique opportunity here. We can either divide ourselves for past mistakes or play the chess game that Putin plays so well. Afterall, who better than an Armenian to win at a game of chess.