Russian Peacekeepers Bar Armenian MPs’ Entry to Artsakh: Expected and Unexpected Sides of Armenian Backlash

Russian Peacekeepers Bar Armenian MPs’ Entry to Artsakh: Expected and Unexpected Sides of Armenian Backlash

Russian peacekeepers barred Armenian MPs’ entry to Nagorno-Karabakh as Yerevan’s backlash followed. Opposition MPs criticized      government for this. Read more …  

Text: Tigran Zakaryan

 

Russian peacekeepers stationed in the region since 2020 prevented a delegation of Armenian opposition MPs from entering Nagorno-Karabakh.  Earlier the same day,  members of the delegation raised criticism against the ruling party’s policies on the region and demonstratively displayed small-sized NK flags on their desks, boycotting  the session at the parliament. 

According to reports, the opposition MPs were heading to Nagorno-Karabakh, as they were stopped by the Russian peacekeepers in the Lachin Corridor after crossing the Armenian border. 
This incident sparked a backlash by the Armenian authorities whose statements expressed unconcealed indignation. Armenian Foreign Ministry underlined that “the action does not match the trilateral statement of 9 November 2020, which provides for an unrestricted communication of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia”. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan used even stronger wording, “No party has mandated the authority to check passengers – let alone stop or block the movement of National Assembly MPs – in the [Lachin] Corridor, whose function is namely to ensure the link between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh”.  

Those words are unmistakably addressed to the Russian peacekeepers in the region, while the opposition MPs do not seem to have the same target for criticism. Instead, the parliament’s pro-Kocharyan “Armenia” faction, albeit admitting that the Russian military were those who stopped them, finger-pointed at the Armenian authorities as responsible for it. The statement they made public also claimed that they had “exposed yet another criminal conspiracy between Nikol Pashinyan and Ilham Aliyev” without further elaboration on details. 

A conclusion can be drawn that Moscow, currently being exposed to criticism from both Armenia and Azerbaijan asserts itself as an impartial and disinterested arbiter, which is there for the security of Karabakh. Moreover, if we keep in mind that earlier the Russian authorities ponied at Azerbaijan as responsible for wounding an Armenian soldier in a truce breach in Karabakh, it can be concluded that by such actions display Moscow hints at its potential in keeping the region under its own control.

The second thing worthy of our attention, in this case, is that it is yet another instance of rampant populism, which still remains the dominant “political ideology” currently in Armenia. It is needless to say how much this undermines the national interest, and unfortunately, both the ruling and the main opposition parties are engaged in it.