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Russian expert: Macron bets on a dead horse in the person of Armenia, as he has no one else to bet on - COMMENTARY

Russian expert: Macron bets on a dead horse in the person of Armenia, as he has no one else to bet on -  COMMENTARY

Baku, February 29, AZERTAC

“It is absolutely vital for French President Emmanuel Macron to restore his reputation both on the domestic and global stage where he is haunted by incessant failures. He views Russia as his main enemy and the cause of his foreign policy failures, hence his desire to drag Armenia under the influence of Paris. This is the reason behind his statement about France’s readiness to send a military contingent to Ukraine to support the Ukrainian army against Russia. And then Azerbaijan with a spy row over the exposure of a network of French intelligence agents did not add positively to Macron's image either, not to mention the fact that Baku has stopped all political contacts with the Elysee Palace – another loud slap on Macron’s face which reverberated in the entire Muslim world, if not Europe. It is customary to respond to such challenges, which Macron is trying to do by betting on a dead horse in the person of Armenia, as he has no one else to bet on. He has been banished from everywhere,” Oleg Kuznetsov, Russian historian, expert on the Caucasus and PhD in History has told AZERTAC.

“The current philandering between Yerevan and Paris look to me more like a light and non-binding flirtation. The talk of military and technical cooperation and the rearmament of the Armenian army have not yet gone beyond preliminary conversations and not reached even the signing of protocols of intent, not to mention any real contracts. The delivery of several dozens of French armored reconnaissance and patrol vehicles to Armenia is not yet evidence of any rearmament of the Armenian army, because they can easily be used for police purposes. As far as I understand from media reports, the deliveries of air defense systems from France to Armenia have been postponed for the time being, as France is unable to fulfill its commitments to NATO to supply such weapons to Ukraine. It seems that Macron is trying to supply Ukraine with arms at the expense of Armenia, which declares its readiness to buy French weapons. And it is completely unclear to me who is fooling who in this situation,” Oleg Kuztensov said.

Recalling that hydrocarbon-rich Azerbaijan had spent a quarter of a century building its army from scratch to fight for Karabakh, Oleg Kuznetsov emphasized that Armenia, which is much poorer in natural resources, will need no less time to build its army from scratch, even with international support and financial assistance of the lobby. “The key thing here is to raise a new generation of young people, who will become soldiers of the new war, and this will take at least 10-15 years. Currently, Armenia is crushed militarily, morally and ideologically, and therefore any armed conflict with Azerbaijan will plunge it into even greater public and political degradation. Yerevan cannot fail to realize this immutable fact, at least if there are sensible and sober-minded people in the government of the country. Therefore, I believe that all of Pashinyan's curtsies and somersaults towards Paris and his embraces of Macron pursue more domestic than foreign policy goals,” the expert said.

According to him, after the election of Robert Kocharyan's son to the Armenian National Assembly, a real anti-Pashinyan opposition began to form in the parliament. “And if we take into account that Armenia is a parliamentary republic, this poses a serious threat to its current political regime, and the curtsies towards the West and personally towards Macron play not the least role in the preservation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's power in the country.”

“By the way, in my opinion, this is also why the head of the Armenian government so easily agreed to carry out a constitutional reform to exclude, on Azerbaijan’s persistence, any references to Armenia's territorial claims to its neighbor, which I started talking about four years ago. If Pashinyan is not lying, a constitutional assembly is to meet in Yerevan on March 1 to draft a new version of the country's Constitution. And it is absolutely unclear now what form of republic Armenia will have in the very near future – whether it will be parliamentary, presidential or parliamentary-presidential. We have to acknowledge: Pashinyan is cunning and crafty, and under the guise of averting Azerbaijan's threats, he can completely reshape the political structure of the country in order to strengthen his power even more as a result of the reform. All the cards are in his hands,” the Russian expert believes.

At the same time, he found it difficult to say whether it is Pashinyan who needs Macron more or the other way round.

“It seems that both are now playing their own game, almost dancing a pasodoble in order to find at least some decent way out of the state of defeat they are both in. It will be interesting to observe for the rest of the year which one of them will be the first to lose interest in the other because there is nothing but personal interest that holds them together anymore,” Kuznetsov concluded.

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