Last year, the Azerbaijan-Armenia war turned out a disaster for Armenia. About 4,000 of its troops got killed, and it lost the region of Nagorno-Karabakh to Azeri forces. The defeat brewed a political storm for Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. The opposition called for a referendum on his government, and Armenia went for national polls. However, despite the defeat, Armenians once again posed their faith in PM Pashinyan.
Defeat at war mainly due to Russia staying neutral over the growing Armenian closeness with the United States and the perpetual threat posed by Azerbaijan has dawned a renewed understanding of reality for Armenia. It is forcing Pashinyan to make several corrections to his foreign policy, which appear necessary for the survival of this nation given the geopolitical alliance that it faces.
At the start of his new term, Nikol Pashinyan has promised to deepen ties with Russia and the regional blocs led by it. Accordingly, Armenia will widen its engagement with Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). In fact, Pashinyan had understood the necessity of Russia before the elections, which is evident from his seeking additional Russian military support as tensions once again spiralled in May 2021.
In the meantime, it appears that even after winning the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Azerbaijan won’t remain quiet. Azerbaijan has filed a criminal case against Armenia alleging ecological terrorism during their 30-year rule here. Also, Azerbaijan signed eleven deals with Zorlu Holding, a multinational conglomerate from Turkey. Accordingly, the Turkish company will invest in multiple projects in Azerbaijan. Moreover, Azerbaijan hosted the Pakistani Army chief, the de facto ruler of Pakistan. The two leaderships discussed the expansion of military ties between the two nations. It is evident that Azerbaijan has welcomed Armenian Prime Pashinyan into his new term by flexing muscles.
Azerbaijan strengthening its alliance with Turkey and Pakistan makes it a part of the dream of Turkish President Erdogan to reestablish the Ottoman Empire. It thus means that the Nagorno-Karabakh war of September 2020 won’t be the last set of hostilities that the region sees, and that role of Russia will be pivotal.