Relations between the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Russia are reserved, but Russia is forced to accept the internal political situation in Armenia following the “Velvet Revolution” of 2018, according to the annual report by the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service’s annual report.
Tens of thousands of Armenians took to the streets in April–May 2018 to demand the resignation of the then authorities and the formation of a new government and parliament. The then Prime Minister, Serzh Sargsyan, who had been at the helm of the country for 10 year, resigned, while Pashinyan who led the movement was ultimately elected the country’s new PM.
Titled “International Security and Estonia”, the survey says Russia is intervening forcefully in the political processes and the internal affairs of Armenia.
“The Nagorno Karabakh conflict continues to play a key role in the bilateral relations of Armenia and Azerbaijan, with both Yerevan and Baku seeing Moscow as holding the keys to resolving the conflict. It is vital for Armenia to maintain Russia’s political and military support, without which it would be difficult to provide military protection to ethnic Armenians in Karabakh,” the report says.
Behind this facade, the Foreign Intelligence Service argues, relations between Pashinyan and Russia are reserved, but since the Pashinyan government has not collapsed, Russia is forced, for the time being, to accept the internal political situation in Armenia following the “Velvet Revolution” of 2018.
“While tensions between the former elite and the new government remain, popular support for Pashinyan also persists. No serious political rivals have emerged for Pashinyan. The Armenian economy has not collapsed either. Instead, it is showing good growth momentum and government revenue has in fact increased,” says the report.
“While passing off as a constructive and solution-oriented mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Russia is not actually interested in solving that conflict; neither is it interested in the outbreak of a full-scale war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The first scenario would deprive Moscow of its main lever of influence in South Caucasus, since neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan would have to work hard for its favour. The risks involved in a full-scale war, however, would be too great and unpredictable.”