In 1991, a representative of the Armenian nationalists of Nagorno-Karabakh expressed their dissatisfaction with the fact that Russia did not interfere in the conflict on the side of the Armenians. Now they blame Moscow for their own failures and claim that “Russia has always betrayed us.” “The dubious rulers of Armenia always depend on strong neighboring monarchies and always systematically betray them,” noted Russian public figure Vasily Velichko back in 1904.
Russia; 1991; Kazakhstan; Armenians; Vasily Velichko; Second Karabakh war (2020)
In September 1991, modern Russia made its first attempt to act as a moderator in the Karabakh conflict. On September 21st, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev arrived in Baku, from there went to Stepanakert, and on the 22nd they were in Yerevan. The next day negotiations with the participation of Azerbaijan, Armenia (including representatives of the Armenian nationalists of Nagorno-Karabakh), Russia and Kazakhstan continued in the Russian southern city of Zheleznovodsk. The final joint communique was announced late in the evening of September 23rd.
But the leaders of the Armenian nationalists were dissatisfied with the agreements and the beginning of the negotiation process. They were not pleased that the delegation of Armenian nationalists did not receive an independent status at the meetings on September 22-23, and the presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan did not speak out for the separation of Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan. The nationalists also did not like the statements of the mediators about “disarming and disbanding all paramilitary groups”, as well as “about the return of all residents, who were deported this year.” After all, Yeltsin and Nazarbayev really tried to put an end to the armed conflict, but did not set themselves the goal of satisfying the whims of Armenian nationalists, who themselves completely ignored not only the interests and opinions of Baku, but also the existence of more than 40,000 Azerbaijanis who lived in Nagorno-Karabakh back in 1989 (before their mass expulsion).
On October 18, 1991, the backlashes of the Armenian nationalists of Nagorno-Karabakh to the agreements were described in detail on the pages of the “Izvestia” newspaper by the Russian publicist Andrei Nuikin, who was a member of the unrecognized “Karabakh delegation” at the negotiations on September 22-23 (in the same 1991 he ended up being a defendant in a criminal case in Moscow court for “inciting ethnic hatred” due to articles in support of Armenian nationalism).
“Hopes for a peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict, brought up by Yeltsin’s arrival, were quickly replaced by disappointment,” Nuikin noted. He stressed that allegedly due to the unsuccessful mission of Yeltsin, “the last hope of the people to get Russia’s protection was threatened.” At the same time, the word “disappointment” occurs three times in this publication, and Nuikin even noted that it is “spreading.” And further, from the neutral position taken by the President of Russia, a conclusion was drawn about the “fault of the Russian people” who failed the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh. “And the Russian people, misled by the false propaganda, remained, alas, an observer. This guilt must be atoned for. Protection of the rights and freedoms of the inhabitants of the long-suffering region must be ensured by the entire diplomatic, economic, intellectual and in the event of new large-scale attempts at genocide – by the military power of Russia”. Thus an idea that Russia is obliged to actively intervene in the conflict on the side of the Armenians was propagated.
29 years later, in the fall of 2020, the Armenians were striving to do the same. In addition, they were terribly disappointed that Russia remained neutral. This is evidenced by numerous videos and publications, for example:
- 11.20: “Russia betrayed us and gave us up to be torn apart,” said a participant in a protest in Yerevan (2:29 minutes), and other demonstrators expressed themselves in a similar vein.
- 11.20 – MGIMO professor Andranik Migranyan: “The first reaction of a significant part of Armenians is that Russia is their limit“.
- 11.20 – political scientist Sergei Zhuravsky (Bloknot.ru): “It cannot be ruled out that the opposition forces in Armenia will take hostile actions against the Russian contingent. Many people there perceive Russians as enemies who helped Turkey to consolidate its position“.
- 11.20 – David Stepanyan (ArmInfo): “Artsakh was” taken and divided”, literally. Our strategic enemies took it and shared it with a strategic ally … The 44 days of war that ended in the “night agreement” in practice confirmed the actual status of Armenia and the Armenian people as Russia’s strategic hostages. Namely hostages, not allies“.
- 11.20 – Topcor.ru: “Armenians qualify the results of the military conflict as surrender and loss of Karabakh, and many in Yerevan blame the Armenian authorities, as well as Moscow, for this… Another widespread opinion among the Armenian population is the betrayal of Armenia by Russia“. As one of the demonstrators in Yerevan, quoted by the newspaper, said: “Vladimir Vladimirovich, you are personally to blame for the situation in which the Armenian people find themselves now.” Another added: “Russia has always betrayed us – it was so in 1915 during our massacre, the same is happening now.” Another said: “Putin has betrayed the Armenians …”.
- 11.20 – One of the leaders of the opposition in Armenia, Andrias Ghukasyan, in an interview with Novaya Gazeta, accused Russia of “trading Armenian interests with Turkey.” “Azerbaijan now owes Russia, because Shushi was handed over to it,” the Yerevani politician said.
- 11.20 – “Versia” newspaper: “… Half of Armenia accuses Moscow that Russia did not win Artsakh for Yerevan…” You have lost Armenia! ” – Armenian nationalists severely blame Moscow.
Russian publicist and public figure Vasily Velichko, who lived in the Caucasus in the 1890s, wrote in 1904: “If, apart from the word “fabrication” it was necessary to inscribe on the tablets of Armenian history a word that would accurately characterize plausible facts, then it would be impossible to avoid the word “treason”. The dubious rulers of Armenia, a country with constantly fluctuating borders, always depend on strong neighboring monarchies and always systematically betray them” [Works of V.L. Velichko. Volume one. Caucasus. St. Petersburg, 1904. Pp. 68-69].
Velichko was sure that this is exactly what the Armenians would do with the Russian monarchy, which during the 19th century created the most favorable conditions for them for mass resettlement from Iran and Turkey, as well as for the best settlement in the Caucasus, in particular in Karabakh.
Velichko believed that the goal of the Armenians “is to incite a mutiny among the diverse population of the region and, in case of convenient circumstances” (for example, Russia’s involvement in an unsuccessful war) – the revival of the mythical Armenian kingdom on the ruins of Russian rule in the Caucasus “[Ibid, p. 125]. These words turned out to be a prophecy – with the weakening of the empire during the First World War, Armenian radical organizations, primarily Dashnaktsutyun, played a significant role in overthrowing the Russian monarchy in the region. The betrayal happened again. And now they claim that “Russia has always betrayed us”.