ArmInfo.The mandate of the EU observers in Armenia is quite limited, and their deployment at the initiative of the Armenian side is connected with the desire to resist the pressure of Azerbaijan and find any allies in the fight against this pressure.
This was stated by the First Deputy Chairman of the Committee of the State Duma of the Russian Federation on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots Konstantin Zatulin during the Moscow-Tehran video bridge on the topic: "South Caucasus: Interests of Russia and Iran", on a request to comment on the dispatch of the EU mission to Armenia for a period of for two years.
In this regard, he urged not to panic and not to make hasty conclusions. "I should say that the behavior of Azerbaijan and Turkey, which stands behind it, give grounds for such fears. This is true. It seems to me that it is more important for us and Iran at this stage that it is necessary to closely monitor the penetration of extra-regional forces into the Caucasus. We must do it. We are able to ensure peace in the South Caucasus, acting in solidarity," the Russian MP said, recalling in this vein that the status quo in the Nagorno- Karabakh conflict zone was destroyed by the 2020 war, and due to the fact that for a long time it was not possible to reach a settlement of the conflict.
At the same time, Zatulin believes that the initiative for not resolving the conflict ultimately belongs to both Armenia and Azerbaijan, especially at the stage when the RA was headed by the government of Nikol Pashinyan, who was poorly oriented in the capabilities of his country. He recalled that the Pashinyan government was extremely unsuccessful both in the military and in the diplomatic field.
The MP also pointed out a number of circumstances in connection with the current situation. "The caution I was talking about does not mean procrastination and cowardice. Yes, it is obvious that Russia is involved in a big confrontation with the West in Ukraine, but this does not mean that we should not pay attention to challenges in other areas of our influence, including in the CIS area," the politician noted, adding that Russia, out of good intentions, offers various kinds of projects instead of confrontation.
In this regard, he also agreed that these good intentions do not always have a positive outcome. "In general, I believe that the second Karabakh war should not have happened. And at some stage we missed the opportunity to influence the initiators of this war - Azerbaijan and Turkey, so that it would not take place. We missed this move," he said, recalling that then, Russia did everything to stop the war quickly.
According to him, even in this situation, there are many questions for the Armenian side, which did not correctly assess the situation and delayed it. However, according to him, Russia took responsibility by sending 2,000 of its soldiers to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Zatalin is also convinced that today's actions of Azerbaijan in the Lachin corridor are a challenge to this mission. The politician is convinced that today Azerbaijan uses the unsettled mandate of the Russian peacekeepers to demonstrate their inefficiency and ability to solve the problem, which the Armenian side also insists on.
"I am certainly against this blockade. Urgent measures must be taken to end it. And the joint action of Russia and Iran for these purposes, it seems to me, would be very positive - more active, more energetic," the Russian State Duma deputy said, adding, that the behavior of Azerbaijan is constantly a topic of discussion in expert circles. He recalled that some people believe that Azerbaijan has already chosen the principle of one nation, two states, and there are those who believe that Azerbaijan is trying to steer on a more independent path, including through cooperation with Russia or Iran.
"But the desire to use Azerbaijan to the detriment of Iran is certainly present," he said, recalling the latest statements made both from Baku and from the West.
In this regard, Zatulin is convinced that Azerbaijan needs to decide whether it will be a mere toy in the hands of extra-regional forces, a mere appendage of Turkey in the establishmentof the Great Turan in the Caspian and Central Asia, or whether it will play a more independent role.
At the same time, Zatulin believes that Russia should also understand that much more activity is required of it today, and it can no longer expect that the parties to the conflict will create comfortable conditions for mediation.
"Here we want, for example, to resolve the matter peacefully, and we do not declare our principled position - Azerbaijan did the right thing or wrong in September 2022, when it attacked the Armenian forces. We postponed it, which gave the West powers a reason to claim that we are unscrupulous allies and gave rise to doubts about the need for Armenia to join the CSTO. This is growing in Armenia every day, and we must see it," he said, adding that any provocation by Azerbaijan leads to a surge of anti-Russian sentiment in Armenia. In this regard, he expressed his conviction that Russian diplomacy should be more active.
According to him, this also applies to the North-South corridor. However, he believes that under the current conditions, Russia should develop maritime communications with Iran. He also believes that Russia in the 1990s hastened to divide the Caspian.
Returning to the topic of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Zatulin noted that it is difficult to accuse him of being biased, since he has been declared an "unwelcomed" person both in Armenia and Azerbaijan. "Declaring me an 'unwelcomed" person in Armenia indicates the intention of the current Armenian authorities to change their foreign policy. But, in this regard, they create problems for Armenia itself and the Armenian people. For all the years of the existence of the Armenian problem for centuries, except for declarations, the Western powers have done nothing for Armenians. There were many declarations, promises, but very few actions, and the result is a tragedy for the Armenian people," he said.
Zatulin reminded that Russia officially has one ally in the South Caucasus, Armenia, neither Azerbaijan nor Georgia are considered as such.
The MP is convinced that today it is necessary to objectively understand from whom the real danger for Russia comes, instead of managing this or that personal connection in this or that country. " The objective situation today is that the certain behavior of Azerbaijan, which has lost its head after the victory in the Karabakh war, which is actually not its victory, but the Turkish victory, this victory seems to give it a basis to dictate conditions. But this creates problems for it in the future," he said, advising Azerbaijan to be satisfied with the results obtained and stop creating a threat to regional peace and tranquility, no matter who comes from support.
In conclusion, he noted that if today the EU intends to objectively assess the behavior of Azerbaijan in the region and, on this basis, demand something from it, then what's wrong with that? "There is nothing bad in this. If, on this basis, they try to change the internal and external vector of Armenia, then we will naturally fight it. And as for the fact that Russia has weakened, you know that for more than a thousand stories of Russia, there were many episodes when it was weakened by something. But those who, on this basis, thought that its role could be disregarded, have been in the grave for a long time, and it continues to exist, albe