Dilemmas of 2022 and Challenges Facing Armenia in the Next Year


Dilemmas of 2022 and Challenges Facing Armenia in the Next Year

The year 2022 has been yet another challenging one. Unprecedented pressures, including direct military aggression against Armenia and dramatic shifts in global security architecture make this year’s outcomes something that hardly an observer by the end of the year could have predicted. 

Text: Tigran Zakaryan 

The blockade of Artsakh, which is nominally still under the protection of Russian peacekeepers deployed there as per the 9 November 2020 accord, poses an existential threat to the Armenian statehood. The year clearly demonstrated shakiness of Armenia’s security built for decades on an underlying assumption of Moscow’s support. Its possible alternatives are highly debated with some arguing that the West – already busy in Ukraine and other conflict areas – is not indeed interested in getting involved in this region and antagonizing Turkey and Azerbaijan as a consequence. 

Part of domestic expert community and politicians blame Russia for the erosion of Armenia’s security and the current quagmire in Artsakh on Russia, while a different section points at the Armenian leadership, who are held liable for upsetting relations with the Kremlin and failing to enlist western support. What those positions have in common is that they overestimate the role of one specific party while neglecting the others. 

Instead an Armenian policy maker needs to calculate the consequences of dwindling Russian influence in the region and face the fact of inevitable rapprochement between Moscow and Ankara. Yerevan also needs to formulate clearly its expectations from Tehran in the meantime accomplishing the hard task of finding understanding on both sides of the fault line dividing the West and Iran. 

It is a discomforting prediction, but in all likelihood, Armenia will have to face a major threat to its independence in the coming year. This could be in the form of a possible “syrianization” becoming a battleground for opposing powers. On the other hand, Armenia eventually will have to confront an impossible choice between (mostly perceived, rather than real) security and independence. In fact, Armenia needs to clearly realize – based on the previous experience, that renouncing independence does not give any security guarantee. 

There is a lot to do in 2023, but first and foremost in the agenda is strengthening the nation, its independence, for if there is no Armenian state, there will be neither Artsakh nor the diaspora in the near future. All those suggesting that Armenia’s only salvation is becoming part of a major regional state in fact give up the nation’s future. 

Armenia will need, more than ever, a sound broad dialogue including a broad range of different political factions and individual politicians who care about Armenian sovereignty and can offer solutions for fostering it. A broad, nationwide consensus on this problem will make us stronger and more resilient to all kinds of external threat. 

Armenia is capable of building a better future and it depends on Armenians first and foremost. Let the year 2023 prove it!  

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