Presidents of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus signed an agreement on establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union in Astana on May 29 this year. The Presidents must have decided on the Armenia`s Customs Union membership. However, a letter of the President of Azerbaijan to the participants proved to be a cold shower for official Yerevan. Armenians got hurt that Nursultan Nazarbayev read out this letter. Official Yerevan was told about the seriousness of the issue. There are serious geopolitical reasons behind such developments, as a matter of fact. Armenia must pay off for the unconstructive position it has taken for the past years. Thoughts of experts on this matter are interesting.
Truths of one letter
The Armenian press says Yerevan fell into the Astana lull on May 29. That day, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan had to ink an agreement on establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). This deal was clinched. However, official Yerevan was given a “political slap in the face”.
President of Kazakhstan read out President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev`s letter to the forum participants. It set forth conditions for admitting Armenia to the EEU within the framework of Armenia`s borders recognized by the UN (see: Aram Amatuni. По ком звонят колокола Астаны? / ”1in.am”, 30 May 2014). This news shocked the Armenian delegation. The members of the delegation had nothing to respond to the letter of the head of Azerbaijan. The Minister of Education of Armenia only said that there will not be customs control at the borders with Karabakh. But journalists did not believe it since there are no arguments but emotions. President Ilham Aliyev`s letter reflects fair demands based on real arguments.
First of all, we have to note that the Head of Azerbaijan wrote a letter sticking to international legal and diplomatic rules. It touches upon the borders of Azerbaijan and Armenia recognized by the UN. If Armenia seeks to join any organization, this condition must be necessarily taken into consideration. Otherwise, the organization willing to admit this country must be recognized as illegal. Grave violation of international legal norms by this organization must be highlighted. This all may give rise to new rifts in the post-soviet area.
No doubt, Putin, Nazarbayev and Lukashenko are all well aware of it. For this reason, because of Yerevan they would have not wanted to shake foundation of the Union they want to create. Nazarbayev`s smooth reading of the letter at the forum was a must. Seeking any personal relationships or bias in this is not in line with any political and diplomatic etiquette.
In this context, the Armenian President`s words on the situation once more prove how much insincere and undemocratic he is as the head of state. During the meeting with the representatives of young members of his party on May 31, Sargsyan said, “What Nazarbayev voiced was unpleasant” (see: То, что озвучил Назарбаев, ”было неприятно”: Серж Саргсян / ”1in.am”, 1 June 2014).
But, the Armenian leader had to confess that Ilham Aliyev`s letter contains truth. For this reason, he underlined at the meeting with youth, ”Who said we will join the Customs Union together with Karabakh (this term belongs to Sargsyan – Newtimes.az)?” This is out of question since Karabakh, at least, according to our legislation and perception, is not part of Armenia today (see: previous source).
We can continue to speak about the unsound reaction of the Armenian side. But the critical point is associated with more large-scale processes. We would like to underline that Armenians did not get rid of the unhealthy state of mind. Their masterminds trained them to caprices so much that they cannot acknowledge even simple truths. Armenians are very much nervous because of fair demands and arguments of the Azerbaijani side. It is impossible to deny reality this way.
Another failure: lull in Yerevan
The problem lies in failure of the foreign policy of official Yerevan pursued over many years. At the same time, there is a complex situation in the geopolitical milieu. Because of this, the Armenian leadership hesitates on the choice of any position. Analysts and experts feel it. Many issues, problems emerge and they need to be explained.
For example, the West believes that the Eurasian Economic Union is a bad deal (see, for example: Carol Matlack. Putin’s Eurasian Union Looks Like a Bad Deal, Even for Russia / ”Bloomberg Businessweek”, 29 May 2014). Russia`s economic potential is not enough to transform this organization into the effective structure. For this reason, Moscow pressures some countries into joining this organization.
As a matter of fact, Russia does not deny its plans to unite former USSR countries. First Deputy Premier of Russia Igor Shuvalov overtly stated that ”integration in the post-soviet area is a strategic goal of the Russian Federation” (see: Шувалов: Интеграция на постсоветском пространстве – стратегическая цель РФ / ” Deutsche Welle”, 23 мая 2014). The Russian official also notes that those who oppose this idea “are not our partners, they are destroyers of foundations of our economic system” (see: the previous source).
Under such circumstances, Yerevan must provide rationale for choosing the Customs Union. But this rationale does not exist. On the other hand, the leadership of Armenia tries to manipulate the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. To settle the dispute in its favour, it demands something from Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Yerevan also has many claims against Moscow. Some experts from Armenia highlight this issue. At the same time, they seek to draw the attention to the other aspect of the issue.
Thus, Armenian experts say that Russia blackmails Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue (see: Акоп Бадалян. Что обеспокоило Азербайджан / ”Lragir.am”, 30 мая 2014). Some time later, Moscow may blackmail Baku in this manner as well. But this thought of Armenians is not well grounded. Indeed, the Kremlin can do whatever it wants with its outpost. But it may not do the same with respect to Azerbaijan since Baku proved with its independent position that nobody can speak the language of blackmail and pressure with the country. Armenians just want to conceal their helplessness.
It means that Armenians` shock in Astana is a hallmark of its geopolitical defeat. Now it is not clear when this country will join the Customs Union. Official reports claim it is going to be July. But Armenia can hardly fulfill the condition made by Azerbaijan. Therefore, Yerevan must wait longer. We have to confess that there is some risk in terms of geopolitics.
The fact that the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute is not yet solved causes problems in the global geopolitics. If Armenia becomes a member of the Customs Union, there must be a checkpoint and customs station between Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. It can be done by Azerbaijani and Armenian parties only. More specifically, the conflict must be solved before it takes place.
There is a risk that external forces can make use of the uncertain situation. Great powers can use this factor for their own interests. Armenia is to blame for this because of it uncertain foreign policy. This is the main reason of the Astana event.
One more thing may be inferred from the above-mentioned. Geopolitical processes on the regional and global scales increase the need for resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Armenia is concerned since it is not interested in it. It can be expected that Yerevan`s patrons will demand that Armenia solve the conflict. It is evident that the problem may be settled only within the framework of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Armenia loses all its arguments. Reading out the Azerbaijani President’s letter in Astana seems to be one of the first manifestations of the above-mentioned. Yerevan, which was usually loud-voiced at such forums, preferred to keep quite this time. Justice will prevail sooner or later.