In the case of Nagorno-Karabakh, instead of protecting the interests of Karabakh, the Armenian leadership preferred to retreat and recognize without reservations the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within the borders of the former Azerbaijan SSR. Konstantin Zatulin, First Deputy Chairman of the Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots of the Russian State Duma, told this to Rusarminfo.
"It was emphasized during the meetings held in the West last year and confirmed there, in the West and during the recent meetings in Moscow," he emphasized.
In this connection, Zatulin recalled that the issue of self-determination of the Armenian people of Nagorno-Karabakh and the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh have been the subject of talks for many years. The leadership of Armenia argues about other issues, but not about the issue of status, the Russian lawmaker noted.
He recalled the statements by Armenia's leadership before the Moscow meeting, particularly about being a member in the CSTO.
"It all paints a very worrying picture for Russia as it struggles to maintain its presence [in Nagorno-Karabakh]. Certainly, one of the most important issues—moreover, not only for Russia, but primarily for the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh—is the issue of the future presence of Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh," Zatulin added.
"I believe you don't have to be far-sighted to imagine that despite all the bows and compliments, the Azerbaijani side will seek to push the Russian peacekeepers out from Nagorno-Karabakh as soon as the agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan is signed, in order to finally resolve for itself the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict issue related to it, stop calling it ‘Nagorno-Karabakh,’ as they are already doing. They implement their political line [towards Karabakh Armenians]: ‘get Azerbaijani citizenship or leave!’ What makes this line different from the Armenian Genocide of the beginning of the 20th century is that it does not imply direct physical annihilation," he said.
"But as we recall, the Armenian Genocide was accompanied by the mass displacement of Armenians from the places of historical residence in the Armenian provinces of Turkey. Azerbaijan is now striving for it, and they don't need witnesses; they don't need Russia and its peacekeeping forces," Zatulin said.
"The hopes that someone is perhaps artificially creating that the West has joined the process, they do not take into account the fact that the main interest of the West is to cause damage in the region; first of all, to Russia, and secondly to Iran. Both are being implemented," he added.
"Russia's influence in Armenia is under question. And as for Iran, the West will turn a blind eye to many things, including the deportation of [Karabakh] Armenians if Azerbaijan enters into a more active confrontation with Iran. Azerbaijan follows this path as it realizes what the issue is. Every week, another batch of Iranian spies is exposed in Iran. Anti-Iranian hysteria is being sown there. Who is interested in aggravation of relations? First of all, the US, Israel," said Zatulin.