Armenia has to move to a "diversification strategy"

6 m.   |  2024-05-29

T he article was published as part of the cooperation between "Orbeli" Center and Iran Daily.

The article was published as part of the cooperation between "Orbeli" Center and Iran Daily.
The 44-day war in 2020 and the subsequent post-war realities, which evolved into a qualitatively new dimension following the Ukrainian crisis that began in February 2022, significantly altered the geopolitical, security and economic landscape of the region. The somewhat strengthened influence of Russia in the region due to the 44-day war very quickly began to be revised and shaken by the Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance, which without pausing continued to develop the success achieved with the military-political tools. On the way to achieving their strategic goal, the primary target of the Ankara-Baku alliance was, of course, the scope of Russia's influence and obligations, the geographical area of which included the sovereign territory of Armenia, as well as the part of Nagorno-Karabakh, which according to the trilateral statement of November 9, 2020, was assigned to the Russian peacekeeping troops for an initial period of 5 years.  

Shortly after the ceasefire on December 12, 2020, the Azerbaijani armed forces attacked the villages of Hin Tagher and Khtsaberd of the Hadrut region of Nagorno-Karabakh, seizing them and taking 62 people hostage. Azerbaijan's aggressive and revisionist tactics in the political and military spheres in the zone of activity of Russian peacekeepers continued until September-October 2023, when Baku completely occupied and depopulated the historically Armenian Artsakh. Throughout the various developments in Nagorno-Karabakh after the ceasefire: military aggression, crisis in the humanitarian sector in the face of the illegal blockade of the Lachin Corridor, political pressures, etc., Russia did not activate the entire toolkit of the peacekeeping mission, not being able to adequately ensure the right of the people of Artsakh to live safely and prosperously in the historical homeland. 

Besides Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan with Turkey's support created serious problems for the security of Armenia from May 2021 to April 2023 occupying around 140 square kilometers of the territory of the Republic of Armenia through various scale military provocations and aggression. One of the derivative consequences of the implementation of Azerbaijan's aggressive policy against Armenia was the failure to fulfill the obligations of Russia and its security structure, the CSTO towards Armenia. Instead of recording the occupation carried out against Armenia, and carrying out targeted actions aimed at its elimination, which is the key logic of the obligations of any alliance format, Russia and other CSTO allies only came up with proposals for mediation and the implementation of an observation mission, justifying such a format of response by the fact that the Armenia-Azerbaijan border is not demarcated.   

The above-mentioned realities, also Moscow's strategic choice in favor of Russia-Azerbaijan-Turkey relations due to the Ukrainian crisis, which was also proceeding with the periodic increase of geopolitical confrontation in the region, in parallel with the even-deepening crisis in Russia-Armenia relations, made Yerevan to undergo a comprehensive review of its security and therefore its foreign policy.

The point is that since independence, for decades, Yerevan had built a single-center security system based on multi-layered cooperation with Moscow and various structures formed by it (CIS, EAEU, CSTO). Meanwhile, that system as already mentioned is currently not working sufficiently for many objective reasons, as a result of which Armenia and the Armenian people suffered and may suffer strategic losses.

Therefore, in such conditions, the main principle of the substantive change of Armenia's foreign and security policy was not the formation of mechanisms that are maximally harmonized with one center, as before, but the "diversification strategy" based on multi-factor logic, formed on the combination of interests in different directions and with different actors. It should be emphasized that many actors from various regions responded to the declaration of such a policy by Yerevan, for example, India, Iran, the EU, France, Greece, the U.S., many Arab countries, even Russia itself, which is trying to save the format of allied relations with Armenia at any cost.

Accordingly, among the different important but essential separate components of the emerging system of new relations are, for example: 

  1. Continued multi-vector cooperation with Russia, but in a more realistic, clearly measurable, feasible dimension of bilateral interests, rights and responsibilities.
  2. New opportunities for deepening relations with the EU in the political and economic spheres, as well as the launch of the EU civil observation mission at the security level, are quite important directions.
  3. The prospect of deepening the multi-vector, including military and security policy with France and Greece, based especially on the circumstance of historical, cultural and political, economic "privileged" relations with these nations.
  4. In the context of regionalization policy, the following factors are extremely important:
  5. New formats and programs of interaction with Iran in the political, economic, infrastructural and security spheres.
  6. The full realization of a new "strategic partnership" level of relations with Georgia.
  7. The resolution of problems with other neighboring countries, which implies the signing of the bilateral agreement "On the establishment of peace and interstate relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan" being negotiated with Azerbaijan, and the regulation of relations with Turkey.
  8. Deepening of cooperation with India in the political and military-industrial sphere.
  9. New opportunities for the development of political and economic cooperation with the U.S. and many Arab countries.

Generally, the political guidelines for the moment listed above, which against the background of the propaganda confrontation typical of today's world, are very often deliberately presented by Armenia's non-friends as Yerevan's policy to change the geopolitical vector, are naturally a provocation, a lie and nothing more. The "diversification strategy" is only a roadmap aimed at ensuring Yerevan's own sovereignty, territorial integrity, inviolability of borders, as well as necessary alternatives in the food, energy and other vital sectors, in the face of new and predicted security, political and economic challenges, nothing more. It is within the primary functions of every independent, sovereign state. As for Yerevan's new cooperations, which have caused misperceptions among some friends, especially in the security, military, and military-industrial fields, they are only aimed at restoring the disturbed military balance in the region, which is an extremely important prerequisite for creating an environment of peace, stability and universal development in the region. Those cooperations cannot be directed against any neighboring country in any way, because Armenia officially recognizes the territorial integrity and strategic interests of all its neighbors without any dispute.

As mentioned above, the key idea of Armenia's security policy is the resolution of all problematic relations and the formation of a cooperative environment in the region, and      the "Crossroads of Peace" project proposed by Armenia is one of the important infrastructure projects aimed at its realization.