Ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabach: a success for the Kremlin?

Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed a ceasefire for Nagorno-Karabakh. The deal reflects the fact that Azerbaijan was heading for a sweeping military victory before Moscow's intervention: it will retain the territories it has conquered so far and will also get back all Armenian-controlled provinces on the border with Nagorno-Karabakh. Europe's press is particularly interested in Russia's role.

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NV (UA) /

Armenia under control once more

The Nagorno-Karabakh war has been a success for Putin in several respects, journalist Arkady Babchenko comments in NV:

“With the help of Azerbaijan he has ousted [Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol] Pashinyan. The latter is now perceived as a traitor from whom everyone is distancing themselves even though neither he nor Armenia had any other choice. ... The democratic revolution has now been rendered absolutely irrelevant. The same applies to the attempts to move closer to Europe. And this will remain so for a very long time. ... Armenia has been brought back into the fold and Putin now has another frozen conflict with his own peacekeeping troops. He has been given his own military contingent on the territory of another sovereign country, because now the Russian military is de facto also in Azerbaijan.”

Snob (RU) /

Russia no longer counts in post-Soviet territories

Snob sees the latest developments as a fiasco for Russian foreign and security policy:

“It is a shame, even if one accepts the neo-imperial Kremlin logic according to which the post-Soviet territory is Russia's 'privileged zone of interests', as former President Medvedev elegantly put it in 2008 after the taking of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Given what is happening, any interested player - above all Turkey and China - must conclude that you can fight and win wars in this zone without Moscow doing a thing to stop it. And that an alliance with Russia does not guarantee protection for anyone. ... The Armenian army, trained by Russians, was defeated by Azerbaijani forces trained by the Turks and Israelis.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

Moscow and Ankara pursuing common goals

Turkey is also gaining more influence in the Caucasus, geopolitics expert Christian Makarian writes in Le Figaro, and explains why Putin is letting Erdoğan get away with this:

“The strategic interests of the two converge, even if both are defending their own interests in Syria and Libya. Their main aim is to profoundly weaken the West and degrade its values. The November 9 ceasefire results in an intolerable dismemberment of the affected populations. It also cements the exclusion of the West from all diplomatic processes in the Caucasus.”

Badische Zeitung (DE) /

Putin as peacemaker this time

The Badische Zeitung considers it fortunate that this time Russia is intervening in a conflict on the territory of the former Soviet Union:

“For without the deployment of Russian peacekeeping troops there would have been the danger of even greater bloodshed in the Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a region the Armenians and Azerbaijanis are fighting over. ... Now Russian soldiers are to ensure that the guns remain silent and that Armenians can continue to live in their traditional settlement areas in a region that belongs to Azerbaijan under international law. For Armenia, the loss of parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and the neighbouring areas occupied in the 1990s is bitter, even though they never had a legitimate claim to them.”

Le Temps (CH) /

Moscow and Ankara dominate global politics

The example of Nagorno-Karabakh shows once again who calls the shots geopolitically, Le Temps writes:

“Russia and Turkey are the winners here and will shape tomorrow's diplomatic landscape to the detriment of the West. ... The two countries have become practically inseparable. Admittedly, they often stand on opposing sides. But their leaders have one thing in common: their increasingly direct rejection of the West. Their approach has been tried and tested and has proven itself. Moscow and Ankara are grabbing areas that have been left empty by the US's withdrawal and Europe's dysfunction. They use whatever means available to put themselves at the centre of the game. Then they sabotage multilateral frameworks and replace them with tailor-made diplomatic structures.”

Daily Sabah (TR) /

A new equilibrium thanks to Ankara

The agreement and the new territorial distribution are a great opportunity for the region, Daily Sabah writes in delight:

“Azerbaijan is the victor, Turkey is the real game-changer and Russia is the dominant geopolitical power. Turkey ... provided strategic and modern weapons to Baku along with support that contributed greatly to Azerbaijan's self-confidence and its fighting power on the ground. The conditions of the agreement may open new windows of opportunity in the region. As long as the coordination and collaboration continue between Russia and Turkey, the management of the crisis will be feasible. All in all, the cease-fire agreement provided the necessary conditions for a long-term and comprehensive solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue on a fair basis and in line with the interests of the people of both countries.”

Ukrajinska Prawda (UA) /

Armenian PM in a precarious position

For as long as he is still prime minister, the increased dependence on Russia after this ceasefire is unlikely to bode well for Pashinyan, comments Yuri Panchenko, editor of Ukrayinska Pravda:

“Whereas in Ukraine the Armenian prime minister is seen as a politician who maintains the country's pro-Russian course (for Armenia continues to support Russia in all international organizations, while abstaining in UN resolutions on Crimea), Moscow takes a different view. From the Kremlin's perspective, Pashinyan has committed at least three 'deadly sins': he came to power through a revolution. He does not restrict the activities of Western NGOs in Armenia. And he had Putin's personal friend, ex-president Robert Kocharyan, arrested.”

newsru.com (RU) /

Pashinyan is sacrificing his post for his people

The Armenian prime minister deserves respect for his decision, writes Russian opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov in newsru.com:

“Pashinyan has taken the only possible decision in this situation: he has capitulated. This decision is now saving lives - and that is all that really matters. ... Therefore it was a simple decision, even if it is painful for the country and destroys Pashinyan's political future. ... Pashinyan was swept into power on an incredible wave of support. Today he has annulled it. He has traded in all his political capital for a single decision that will hardly be forgiven, but which was indispensable. Putin, Lukashenka and other dictators would never do such a thing: they cling to power no matter how many lives it costs.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Armenia a litte more Russian now

Armenia's longstanding protector is extending its influence in the country while the world looks on idly, Rzeczpospolita fumes:

“Another Russian base is being set up in Nagorno-Karabakh, this time as part of a peace mission. This means that Armenia has become the country that is most militarily dependent on Russia after Syria. But this is not just about the presence of the Russian army. Russia has taken over almost all key sectors of the Armenian economy. Russian companies control gas pipelines, they're the only fuel suppliers, they manage the energy networks, and even the railways have been taken over by a Russian business. Can Armenia defend itself against this economic and military colonisation? Apart from Putin and Erdoğan, is anyone (in the West, for example) interested in this part of the world?”