Staunton, August 5 – The Russian government has taken two steps clearly intended not to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict all its claims to the contrary but rather to freeze the situation there in a status quo that will make it impossible to realize the November and January declarations but allow Moscow to continue to play one side against the other.
On the one hand, Moscow has agreed to Yerevan’s request for more Russian border guards and to insert them along the Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire line and around Qarabagh, effectively preventing its return to Azerbaijani control (svpressa.ru/politic/article/306043/ and znak.com/2021-08-05/rossiyskih_pogranichnikov_razmestili_na_granice_armenii_i_azerbaydzhana).
And on the other, Moscow is pressing for the United Nations to dispatch a team from the office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, who would require the return of both Armenian and Azerbaijani refugees and thus legitimize Armenia’s position, according to one prominent expert (pressklub.az/?p=96917).
The United Nations has yet to approve Moscow’s request, but the Russian government has boosted its border guard contingent in Armenia; and despite suggestions by Russian officials that Moscow can do so on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border on the basis of trilateral talks, it appears to be going ahead with inserting more guards without waiting for that.
Armenia and Russia are moving ahead with this because since 1992, Russia’s FSB has been responsible for guarding the borders of Armenia and thus an expansion of the presence of border guards as opposed to peacekeepers whose presence followed from the November and January declarations is easier to defend (svpressa.ru/politic/article/306043/