The Nagorno-Karabakh crisis between Armenia and Azerbaijan has put a spotlight on the deteriorating relationship between Armenia and its longtime ally, Russia. For decades, Russia has been seen as a patron and protector of the small nation of Armenia. But as the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis drags on, it has become increasingly evident that Russia is unwilling to fully back Armenia in its battle.
Russia’s relationship with Armenia has been complicated for some time. During the Soviet era, Armenia was an important region of the Soviet Union, and Yerevan was strategically located, with access to both the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia continued to support Armenia, and the two countries went into a formal alliance shortly after Armenia declared its independence in 1991.
However, even before the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis began, Armenia had been drifting away from Russia. Despite the ongoing alliance, Armenia had better economic ties to other countries, such as the United States. Armenia also accused Russia of supplying weapons to Azerbaijan during the clashes, a charge which Russia denied.
The crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh has exacerbated the rift between the two countries. Russia has been accused of taking a neutral stance in the conflict, refusing to outwardly back or condemn either side. Russia’s lack of action has been seen as a betrayal by many Armenians, and a sign that Moscow’s support for Yerevan is waning.
The Nagorno-Karabakh crisis has revealed the underlying fragility of Armenia’s relationship with Russia. Armenia must now seriously consider its relationship with other countries in order to ensure its own security, particularly in light of Russia’s waning support.