Amid the recent escalation of hostilities surrounding the contested Nagorno-Karabakh territory, authorities and experts in both Armenia and Azerbaijan are engaging in the old Soviet practice of identifying the outside power that most benefits from conflict. For many in Armenia, the answer is straightforward enough – Russia.
Russia has long exerted a high degree of economic and military influence over Yerevan: that influence is underscored by Armenia’s decision to join Moscow’s Customs Union, which the Kremlin hopes will evolve into an alternative for ex-Soviet republics to the European Union. Many Armenians believe the Kremlin’s sway has reached such heights that Yerevan is now vulnerable to potential pressure from Moscow to settle the 26-year-old Karabakh conflict on terms perceived in Yerevan as unfavorable.
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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am.