Pashinyan in Moscow: Background and Expectations.


Pashinyan in Moscow: Background and Expectations.

Armenian Prime Minster Nikol Pashinyan’s visit comes after intense diplomatic overtures by the West. Official reports on those provide some insights into what can be expected from the talks.  

Nikol Pashinyan has started his official visit in Moscow, Armenian and Russian media sources report. The visit’s agenda is rather comprehensive, including the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as the prime minister and the speakers of the both houses of the parliament.

“During the Pashinyan-Putin meeting the implementation of the provisions of the trilateral declaration by the Armenian, Russian and Azerbaijani leaders, as well as the matters concerning further enhancement of Armenian-Russian strategic partnership will be tackled,” the Armenian official report says.  
Russian president’s spokesman Dmitri Peskov also said that a number of documents on bilateral cooperation are to be signed during the meeting with Prime Minister. 



When looking at the possible outcomes of the visit it is interesting to consider a number of previous meetings and discussions held on the eve of the visit. 
Thus, US co-chair of the OSCE Minsk group Andrew Schofer visited Armenia on 18 April, discussing matters of humanitarian relevance and the border delimitation and demarcation. Earlier his French colleague, Brice Roquefeuil visited Yerevan as well. It is interesting to note that both officials visited Armenia at a time when the OSCE Minsk group co-chairs are fundamentally divided over the war in Ukraine and reject any contact. 

President of the European Council Charles Michel discussed with Pashinyan on the phone the implementation of earlier agreements with Baku on border issues as well as the details of the EU’s 2.6-billion-euro support project in Armenia. 


Preliminary conclusions before meeting 

Judging from the above said information available on open sources, we can conclude that the West does not discuss the status of Nagorno-Karabakh any more, not even the OSCE Minsk group co-chairs from US and France. Yet this might be a matter of discussion with Moscow; even if not officially announced. This makes sense because Nagorno-Karabakh is de-facto controlled by Russia and the West does not have any leverage to decide anything on the ground. 

On the other hand, EU and US can try to influence the Armenian-Azerbaijani talks and the projected peace deal and they obviously do so. 

All this said, it is unlikely that Moscow would be eager to give any assurances as to the status of Karabakh to Yerevan, at least for the reason to avoid antagonizing Azerbaijan and Turkey in a quite volatile period. Armenia can only hope that the prolonged Russian control over the region provides some security and stability, which are essential to keep the local population there. Yerevan can also hope to find new opportunities to minimize any adverse effects of the sanctions imposed on Moscow.