Staunton, April 19 – Aleksandr Dugin, the Eurasianist leader who enjoys enormous influence in the Kremlin, says that countries adjoining the Russian Federation “can preserve their territorial integrity only by maintaining good relations with Russia” and that those who cross Moscow can have no such expectations.
In an interview published in “Yerkramas,” a newspaper directed at the Armenian community in the Russian Federation, Dugin reiterated and then extended comments he made after Azerbaijan voted at the United Nations in the support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity (yerkramas.org/2014/04/17/segodnya-karabax-armyanskij-potomu-chto-armyane-dogovorilis-s-rossiej-dugin/comment-page-1/).
Dugin recalled to the Armenian publication that he had said that “Russia is the guarantor of the territorial integrity of each post-Soviet country. Russia is also the guarantor of the territorial integrity of Armenia and Azerbaijan, and it is also the guarantor of Karabakh as well.”
Were Russia to give up these functions, something it is not about to do, Dugin continued, “then the territorial integrity of Armenia and Karabakh will not be guaranteed to the extent that Russia is a proportional power and naturally countries in the one adjoining Russia can preserve their territorial integrity exclusively by maintaining good relations with Russia.”
That means that these states “must be either neutral or have close ties,” he said. If they adopt “an anti-Russian policy,” then doubts will arise about the maintenance of their current borders.
Dugin said this is “what he had in mind. I have told this to the Azerbaijanis, the Armenians, the Gerogians, the Moldovans, and the Ukrainians. I have been saying this for more than 15 years. This fact is shown by South Osetia, Abkhazia, Transdniestria, Crimea and also by Karabakh because Karabakh at present is Armenian because the Armenians have agreed with Russia.”
By voting against Moscow at the UN, he continued, Azerbaijan has “challenged” Moscow just as Saakashvili and the Kyiv junta did, and we already know how that policy ends. [Moreover,] in Azerbaijan, there exists the Talysh factor and the Lezgin factor,” and many others, “the seriousness of which Azerbaijan does not imagine.”
According to Dugin, “Russia has many levers when it speaks in a friendly language and in the language of dialogue and it has others when it uses hostile language.” The Eurasianist and sometime Kremlin advisor adds that he “is not threatening anyone” with these remarks.
As far as Karabakh is concerned, Dugin said, Moscow “even in extreme circumstances” won’t recognize the independence of that region because “the current situation suits Russia.” Moscow will use other measures first although Karabakh remains “a weapon [for it] which has so far not been fired.”
Armenia has shown its support for Moscow by its vote at the UN, while “Azerbaijan unexpectedly betrayed us,” Dugin says. Moscow will approach the future of its ties with the two taking their very different positions into account. But there are continuing reasons for its current approach to the Karabakh dispute.
“By not recognizing the independence of Karabakh,” Dugin says, “Russia retains the opportunity for the development of diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan,” “a serious regional country with which Russia has numerous historical, economic and geopolitical ties.” Moscow thereby “accepts the fact that Karabakh belongs to Armenia but de jure is part of Azerbaijan.”
In short, the Eurasian leader says, “Russia de facto supports Armenia but de jure agrees with Azerbaijan. Russia could recognize the independence [of Karabakh] but there would have to be arguments for this. For example, if the Azerbaijanis sought to completely break their ties with us, then we would move in that direction.”