Political expert: OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs want to lobby the meeting between Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan

Shmuel Meirom: Israel is willing to contribute of its experience in the field of economy, but it cannot force Israeli business to invest in Armenia

OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs express their serious concern about the increase in tensions and violence in Karabakh conflict zone

Heritage Party considers Volodya Avetisyan to be a political prisoner

Rostelecom expands its sales and customer service network

Arthur Grigoryan appointed commercial manager of mobile communication division at Beeline Armenia

Edward Nalbandian: Armenia wants to start a dialogue on abolishment of visa regime with EU

Edward Nalbandian: Unlike Azerbaijan, Armenia has been consistently proving its adherence to the principles of international law

No third tailing dump in Tukhmanuk

Edward Nalbandian: Turkey, which is striving to the EU, has shut down the border to the neighboring state, whereas a principle of free movement at the EU territory is one of the basic norms

Ali Hasanov: If international organizations can not resolve the conflict, let them step aside and the two neighboring states solve the problem themselves

Vladimir Dorokhin: None of the Azerbaijanis detained at the territory of Armenia are Russian citizens

"Mika cement" to replace owner

Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan: The Azerbaijani people do not believe the OSCE Minsk Group

OSCE representative concerned about Armenia court decision forcing media outlets to disclose sources

The NKR Minister of Foreign Affairs received the Head of the ICRC Mission in Nagorno-Karabakh

Members of Karabakh parliament made a statement to protect Levon Hayrapetyan

"Vallex" Group celebrates Miner's Day

Commandos: Levon Hayrapetyan's arrest is a result of hard work of Azerbaijani and Russian secret services

Ivan Kukhta: The government of Ukraine owns irrefutable evidence of separatists' blame for the crash of the Malaysian Boeing

According to the results of the first half of 2014, growth rates of Ameriabank's indices exceed average market level

ACBA-CREDIT ACRICOLE BANK and American Express have announced the launch of new card "The ACBA-CREDIT AGRICOLE BANK American Express® Cash Back Card"

No visa regime between Georgia and Armenia

Vahagn Hovnanyan: It is necessary to hold a protest action in front Russia's Embassy in Armenia to support Levon Hayrapetyan

Political expert: Growth of tension at the border is a regular ill-fated expression of complexes by Azerbaijan

James Warlick: The number of incidents and resulting deaths and injuries is also a setback in our efforts to work with parties to find a lasting peace

Lake Sevan is on the verge of environmental disaster

Life of the three persons injured in Kashatagh as a result of a landmine explosion is out of danger

EU welcomes ruling of Turkish Constitutional Court regarding investigation into the 2007 murder of Turkish- Armenian journalist Hrant Dink

Armavir mayor's car explodes in mine-studded territory of Kashatagh

Newspaper: Armenian oligarch's company worked in the shadow

Nagorno-Karabakh Police publish details of the case of Azeri saboteurs

Eastern Partnership countries cannot join European Union within the next 5 years

Expert: Decision to increase water release from Lake Sevan to 270 mln cu m is a shady transaction

RESO Insurance Company compensates for damage under hull insurance in 90.9% of cases

VTB Bank (Armenia) and Visa announce the launch of Summer with VTB campaign

Orange Foundation opens a Youth center in Chinari and a computer center in Zorakan in Tavush region

ICRC Yerevan Office holds negotiations to organize a meeting with Azeris detained in Armenian territory

Hakob Sanasaryan: Armenia has chosen the path of destroying its water resources

ICRC Yerevan Office maintains regular contacts with residents of borderline villages

Areximbank-Gazprombank Group's profit increases by 56.1% and capital grows to 21.9 bln AMD

Levon Ter-Petrosyan: the authorities of Armenia are going to replace the "carrot" of the PAP by the "stick"

Ankara has put forward a plan to form a free trade zone with the Customs Union

Ankara's wish to create free trade zone with Customs Union has a dim prospect for Armenia

Levon Ter-Petrosyan: The delay of Armenia's joining Eurasian Economic Union is conditioned by the demand of the EAEU to set a check point at the border to Nagornyy Karabakh

Levon Ter-Petrosyan: The reaction of the Armenian party at the Azerbaijani invasions is quite guarded and inadequate

Sharmazanov to Ter-Petrosyan: It is unacceptable to speculate the Karabakh issue for the political goals

The Golden Apricot Yerevan 11th International Film Festival has come to its end, the official website reports

Rostelecom services available in the center of Yerevan


Georgian Parliament Speaker to Visit Israel

Jury to Pass Verdict on Accomplices to Georgian General's Murderer in Moscow

Municipal Transport Drivers to Hold Protest Rally Throughout Georgia

The National Press Day

Saakashvili's Party States it is Important to Conduct the Second Round of Elections till July 19

Historical Changes Have Occurred in Georgia - President

Israeli Minister of Agriculture is Paying Official Visit to Georgia

Power Restrictions Imposed in Tbilisi since June 23, 2014

Ramadan begins on June 29

Azerbaijan's democratic forces calling for the Association with the EU

Georgian MFA Responds to U.S. Embassy's Statement, Connected with Incidents during Election Campaign

Georgian Ambassador Demands Explanations from Turkish MFA

Georgian Citizens Abroad not to Participate in Local Elections

Georgian President Delegates Prime Minister to Sign Associated Agreement

Georgian Leadership Welcomes Presidential Elections in Ukraine

We do not Need Saakashvili's Type Mediators in our Relations with Ukraine - Lavrov

Caucasian Muslims Department (CMD) opens an office in Iran, next will be Saudi Arabia

Poroshenko States he Has not Offered Georgian Ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili Adviser's Post

Russia not to Punish Georgia for Signing Associated Agreement with EU-Kosachev

James Appathurai Writes about Georgia in his Page in Facebook

Blogger Abdul Abilov sentenced to five and a half years

Vugar Aliyev committed to strengthening the responsibility of Internet resources

Civil society urges Aliyev to defend democracy

Andrey Yepivantsev: Only time may show if we have opened Pandora's box in the Crimea or not

ArmInfo’s interview with Andrey Yepifantsev, Russian political expert, head of the analytical bureau Alte et Certe

  • by David Stepanyan

  • Tuesday, March 18, 19:37

 The situation in Ukraine has led to a collision between two international principles: peoples’ right to self-determination and territorial integrity. Will the Crimea become another Kosovo and are there any differences between them?    


Many parallels may be drawn between the situations in the Crimea and Kosovo, but there is also a great difference between them: if the West recognized Kosovo but did not attach it to anywhere, it is very much possible that Russia will involve the Crimea within itself. Such a difference will change much if not everything. There was nothing of the kind in post-war Europe. Earlier, the inhibiting factor for some countries was the fact that they will not be able to take the disputed territory within themselves. It means that such a territory is doomed to semi-isolation and vegetation. However, now we have got a precedent for settlement of this issue, and sooner or later it will start playing a core role for somebody. One should not lessen the significance of this precedent. However, at present one must not say for sure if the event is positive or negative. Only time may show if we have opened Pandora's box in the Crimea or not.


Some experts in Armenia have already started speaking of the Crimea’s precedent for Nagorno-Karabakh. In the meantime, Yerevan is mostly convinced that the Crimean scenario is unacceptable for Karabakh. How would you comment on this?     


The solution to the Crimea issue: referendum and joining the Russian Federation, if it happens, will become a very serious precedent for Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. It will be a great opportunity to settle the most complicated problem. At the same time, there are some differences that impede repetition of the Crimean scenario. Here are the main three differences. The first is the factor of refugees. The referendum in Crimea involved all the residents of the peninsula and claims true expression of will. Meanwhile, dozens of thousands of refugee-Azerbaijanis left Karabakh and the refusal to involve them in the referendum will become a very vulnerable point in the issue of Karabakh's self-determination. Secondly, it will be very hard for Armenia to repeat the Crimean scenario due to its complementary policy. Russia does not fully depend on the countries opposing it. They are mutually dependent. Moscow has been independent in its policy for many years. It can afford making challenges to the countries that oppose such a solution to the territorial dispute. As for Armenia, it wants to favor everyone at once, which makes it dependent on many countries. It will hardly manage to combine the challenge to the West with the desire to favor the West and get money from it. So, the price of the policy of complementarism is the unresolved Karabakh conflict. Maybe, Russia and Armenia have different weight categories and Yerevan cannot blindly copy Moscow's decisions. However, Armenia could neutralize part of that through closer cooperation with Russia. Anyway, it does not cancel the abovementioned disadvantages of complementary policy. Thirdly, Ukraine cannot declare war on Russia for a range of reasons, meanwhile in the case of Nagorno Karabakh, Armenia must be sure that Baku will unleash military actions with quite different consequences as soon as it makes sure that Yerevan and Stepanakert have chosen the way "referendum-unification with Armenia".


Won’t the Crimea’s separation from Ukraine on the basis of the principle of people’s self-determination plant a bomb under the Russian Federation given the separatist sentiments in some entities of the Russian Federation?     


I think, it will plant no bomb but it will raise some issues. The national regions decide to separate not because they have such a right or precedents to do that. They do it when they can no longer exist within some state. This has happened to Ukraine. The key reasons of the Crimea's separation were the disputed boundaries after the collapse of the USSR, the lack of an accomplished ethnos, the hard economic situation amid the collapse of the state machine, large-scale corruption, etc. In case of such prerequisites one should expect something very serious. I’d like to stress one again that it is the domestic problems, not the precedents or incitement that matters. I offer those who disagree with me to try to separate the national regions from Switzerland, for instance. I am sure that if the Russian authorities make the situation as desperate as the Ukrainians did, it will be possible to speak of a bomb, but it will hardly be directly related to the Crimea's separation. In the meantime, I think that the social strata and groups inside Russia, which do not fully agree with the Government, will try to hold a referendum and settle their problems in the Crimean way. To justify the legitimacy of the referendum in the Crimea, Moscow pointed at the principle "People must have an opportunity to decide their fate themselves". Now the residents of Stavropol region, for instance, who are eager to withdraw their region from the North-Caucasus Federal District, may demand a similar referendum. So, Stavropol also has many parallels with the situation in the Crimea. It is also necessary to defend the Russians there. The Kremlin did not ask their opinion either when giving their region to another entity of the Russian Federation. They are also eager "to return to Russia”. There are a lot of such examples, and the refusal to hold a referendum will improve neither the attitude towards the Russian authorities nor the interethnic situation.


Ukraine, which assumed CIS chairmanship in Jan 2014, has already announced its withdrawal from the CIS. How will it affect the prospects of the CIS in general?   


Ukraine is likely to leave the CIS just the same way as Georgia in 2009. However, this will not change the general situation at the post-Soviet area just the same way as it did not change when Georgia left. I should confess that at present several CIS countries have several formal reasons, which were used for conditioning of the Russian stance on the Crimea. A part of their present territory was transferred to them during the Soviet time. For instance, Belarus, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Some of them have a big Russian diaspora that has turned into people of the B class who need protection, for instance, in Turkmenistan, etc. For this reason, elites of these countries will fear in a certain sense. On the other hand, I am confident that any integration processes contain an economic and political interest for these countries, which will not be able to get rid of them or find an alternative to them. So, these processes will go on developing. In this context, I do not put stress directly at the CIS, as this project is more turned to the past. And establishment of the Customs Union and Eurasian Union is on the agenda at present. In this context, Ukraine's leaving the CIS will hardly affect anything.


Since the termination of the Warsaw Pact, the appearance of the dividing lines between the countries that have chosen the European vector of development and the countries considered authoritarian by the West has always been accompanied by NATO’s expansion into the East. Russia has always been concerned with it. Don’t you think that having received the Crimea today, Russia may see NATO’s bases and anti-missile defense systems near its borders tomorrow?       


First of all, one must not watch the situation in Ukraine only like losing of the Crimea. The disintegration processes go on developing and nothing has ended yet. The fact that the authorities of Kyiv do not recognize the referendum and the Crimea's joining Russia in future, is evidence of the fact that Ukraine will not be able to join NATO as this organization does not receive the countries which have territorial claims. But if to imagine that something has changed and NATO has suddenly changed its basic principles, nothing fundamental will change for Russia. Being NATO's neighbor is unpleasant but not catastrophic. It is already for many years that Russia has been NATO's neighbor and they have already learned how to live next to each other. Anyway, for Russia, Ukraine's split and joining some of its part NATO is better than absolute control of the whole territory of Ukraine by the anti-Russian tuned ethnic Western Ukrainians. Sooner or later the whole territory of Ukraine would turn into the anti-Russian foothold if Moscow did not tamper with the situation.

Send to a friend

To (e-mail)

Your name



View comments (0)

Be first to comment on this article

* Indicates required fields