War never brings gains to any side

Ambivalent and cautious: Armenia fears a resurgence of violence in Nagorny Karabakh following the war in Ukraine

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By Ani Tovmasyan

March 25th, 2022

There is a huge Armenian diaspora living in both Ukraine and Russia. Many Armenians have relatives directly affected by the conflict. Around here, it is almost impossible to find anyone who would speak in favour of solving problems with the use of force, as we have seen the devastating human suffering caused by the armed conflict in the region Nagorny Karabakh, which is disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The 44-day war in Nagorny Karabakh in 2020 has left the Armenian authorities very vulnerable. It is against this backdrop that public perspectives should be judged.

Economically, Armenia is heavily reliant on Russia. An additional factor are the remittances sent home from Armenians working in Russia. Moreover, it is only Russia’s peacekeeping force that provides security for the Armenians who live in Nagorny Karabakh. Armenians fear that whatever the outcome will be in Ukraine, it will have negative consequences and lead to a possible escalation in Nagorny Karabakh. This leaves the Armenian authorities with no room to publicly condemn the use of force in Ukraine.

 

The constant escalation of the war and reports about war atrocities are changing the public opinion

 

One part of society has turned to criticising the West’s democratic countries for their ignorance and inaction during the Nagorny Karabakh war, which could have been stopped earlier. Careless statements from Ukrainian officials expressing support for Azerbaijan in 2020 went down very badly in Armenia. However, there have been voices who actively opposed Russia’s actions, and supported the Ukrainian people’s aspirations for an independent country, free to choose its geopolitical and cultural partners. The constant escalation of the war and reports about war atrocities are changing the public opinion from day to day, making these critical voices more vocal.

The prevailing attitude in Armenia though, borne of grim experience, is that war never brings glory or gains to any side – it only brings destruction, the loss of innocent lives, and an intense pain that even long years will not cure.

 


This text was produced in collaboration with the  CrossCulture Programm of ifa


Ani Tovmasyan from Yerevan is currently a graduate student at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt, specialising in conflict studies and global public policy. 


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