Richard Giragosian, Director of the Yerevan-based Regional Studies Center, said that Russia is the only member of the OSCE Minsk Group that can alter its negotiating position regarding the Karabakh conflict.
Giragosian said that the positions of both Armenia and Azerbaijan are clear.
“Azerbaijan’s diplomatic strategy is neither diplomatic nor strategic. They want all or nothing,” the analyst argued.
Giragosian said that the positions of co-chairs France and the USA are also predictable and that their political approaches to the conflict will not change.
He said that Russia’s stance may change this Moscow has improved relations with Azerbaijan during the past two years and has started to display a degree of diplomatic initiative regarding Karabakh.
He noted that there are two factors at play. First, there is the fact of Russia’s strong presence in Armenia, which leaves Yerevan few options to counter Moscow if it adopts a more neutral or pro-Baku stance regarding the conflict.
Giragosian said that it might be in Russia’s interest to take a more neutral position given the number of military transactions Moscow has signed with Baku.
“The problem vis-a-vis Russo-Armenian relations is that Yerevan underestimates its importance to Moscow and overestimates Russia’s importance to Armenia,” Giragosian noted.
He said that the imbalance in relations between the two countries derives from the fact that Russia has gotten a hold of Armenia’s most important economic sectors.
Giragosian said that he wasn’t proposing that Yerevan turn its gaze away from Moscow, but rather that Armenia be guided by its national interests.
“Armenia shouldn’t be so concerned with pleasing Russia. Moscow, just like Ankara, will only come to respect a strong Armenia,” the analyst said.