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Armenian PM expected to meet with Russian President Putin


Armenian PM expected to meet with Russian President Putin

Screen Shot 2021 01 10 at 10 13 35 AM
Photo: Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/Kremlin via Reuters

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan may meet today in Moscow. Though Armenian and Russian sources have reported on meeting preparations, no official has confirmed its occurrence.

Last year’s conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region concluded after Russian mediation resulted in a ceasefire. Yet implementation has proven contentious. Azerbaijani state media claims the Russian peacekeeping force has privileged Armenian interests while Pashinyan faces opposition from within his own government for making territorial cessions.

Expect Pashinyan to avoid explicit territorial forfeit in Meghri and pursue regional transport connections from Armenia through Azerbaijan. Still, both Pashinyan’s faltering domestic position and rancor with Azerbaijan threaten the ceasefire in the short-term. Aliyev will likely raise Russian peacekeepers’ perceived bias and also face Moscow’s ire regarding Azerbaijan’s wartime downing of a Russian plane.

Russia has historically maintained solid ties to both countries. Nevertheless, Azerbaijan’s deepening connections with Turkey provide Aliyev with leverage, with Turkey assuming a ceasefire observer role in Azerbaijani territory despite Russian resistance. Expect Turkey’s growing role to undermine a durable settlement by fueling Armenian resentment, increasing pressure on Pashinyan and promoting division of Nagorno-Karabakh into Russian/Turkish spheres of influence.

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