Armenia will today handover the Lachin district to Azerbaijan. Following Armenia’s military defeat to Azerbaijan after two months of heavy
Armenia will today handover the Lachin district to Azerbaijan.
Following Armenia’s military defeat to Azerbaijan after two months of heavy clashes concerning Nagorno-Karabakh—a disputed border region internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but held by Armenia since 1994—the return of Lachin will complete Yerevan’s withdrawal from the occupied territories, agreed to in a Russia-brokered ceasefire initiative.
Yerevan’s drubbing will have considerable consequences for Armenia. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will likely be forced to resign while anti-democratic right-wing factions could seek to seize power and undermine fledgling democratic rule. The absence of an overarching peace deal could lead to another round of fighting in the long run.
Despite Azerbaijani and Turkish gains from Armenia’s defeat, it is Russia who stands to benefit most from the ceasefire. Russian neutrality during the war won President Vladimir Putin approval in Azerbaijan while significantly weakening the standing of the anti-Russia Pashinyan. Despite analysis that Turkey’s robust support for Azerbaijan led to a reduction in Russia’s regional sphere of influence, the arrival of 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to monitor the ceasefire allowed the Kremlin to achieve a long-term objective of inserting Russian soldiers into Nagorno-Karabakh, a goal that eluded Moscow after the first Nagorno-Karabakh War. Expect the Russian presence to persist into the distant future as Moscow attempts to turn Nagorno-Karabakh into yet another frozen conflict.