Since December 12, 2022, around 500 Azerbaijanis in civilian clothes claiming to be eco-activists, have blocked the Lachin Corridor, the “Road of Life” linking Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) with Armenia and the world. It has resulted in the full isolation, deprivation of the freedom of movement and other basic human rights of 120,000 Armenians, including 30,000 children, and the separation of families – 1,100 Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians, including 270 children, stranded in Armenia, are unable to reunify with their families. Nagorno-Karabakh is running out of critical medical supplies, food and fuel, while schools are closed because of the lack of heating. Moreover, Azerbaijan also turned off the gas supplied from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh for three days in the same manner it did in March 2022, thus “weaponizing winter”.
There is overwhelming evidence that the protest is not a genuine grassroot movement but rather consists mainly of members of Azerbaijani special services, military officers, beneficiaries of Aliyev’s foundation and other supporters of the state authorities. They are evidently state-sponsored, well-supplied and well-protected by Azerbaijani special forces deployed in Shushi. They use and broadcast intimidation tactics, such as loud music, speeches praising the armed forces of Azerbaijan, and displaying symbols of the “gray wolves” – a far right ultranationalist paramilitary organization in Turkey prohibited in some European countries. It is worth recalling that Azerbaijan has one of the lowest democracy rankings in Eurasia and has a track record of repressing all domestic protests.
The original demand by the protesters was the monitoring of the quarrying of mines located in Nagorno-Karabakh proper, followed by increasingly political demands, such as the resignation of the political leadership of the authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh, and the establishment of Azerbaijani control over the Lachin corridor and Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijani public figures are circulating their usual demand on social media that Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh should accept Azerbaijani citizenship, and then Azerbaijan will provide them with all vital public services. Azerbaijani officials began showing their support for the protesters, demanding Russian peacekeepers to respect the civil society of Azerbaijan, even if no action was taken against them. When major international actors, such as the EU, U.S., France, Canada and EU member countries made statements demanding Azerbaijan to unblock the corridor and to prevent a humanitarian crisis, the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan reacted strongly and critically, calling the criticism biased, and started claiming that it is not Azerbaijani protesters who are blocking the road but the Russian peacekeepers. Moreover, they started presenting allegations that Armenia is transporting landmines and military equipment through the Lachin corridor, an unfounded claim since the corridor is under the control of the Russian military, and there are no longer Armenian military units or servicemen in Nagorno-Karabakh. Those allegations were made back in November, and in response to them Armenia’s Ambassador-at-Large Edmon Marukyan stated that Azerbaijani Armed Forces had gotten access to landmines in September 2022 during their invasion of the sovereign territory of Armenia and transferred them to the previous route of the Lachin corridor over which they established control in August to blame Armenians for having planted them there. Several days after the blockade of the corridor, some Azerbaijani ambassadors began claiming that Armenia has been blocking Nakhijevan for three decades, thus justifying the humanitarian crisis created by them to recirculate their old false narratives with new elements.
By utilizing pseudo eco-protesters instead of military movements by Azerbaijani forces, as was the previous strategy, and causing a humanitarian crisis accompanied with false narratives and disinformation, Azerbaijan is employing hybrid warfare tactics against the Armenians. This operation is pursuing short-, mid- and long-term objectives.
Short-term Objectives of Azerbaijan
The Exploitation of Mines Without the Consent of Local Armenians
In July 2022, Azerbaijan reportedly sold two mines in the Martakert region of Nagorno-Karabakh to a British company called Anglo-Asian Mining PLC, which claims to be the leading gold and copper producer in Azerbaijan. Therefore, the short-term tactical objective of the closure of the corridor is to establish control over the mines and to deprive local Armenians from their main source of revenue, hence livelihood. It is important to note that they have been deprived of most other natural resources and sources of livelihood since the 2020 Artsakh War, such as water resources and agricultural lands captured by Azerbaijan and conceded in line with the November 9, 2020 ceasefire statement. The examination of the website of the company doesn’t indicate anything British about it, except its name and registration. It doesn’t have any operations outside Azerbaijan, and most of its shareholders are Azerbaijani, except for former American Governor John Sununu who also served as George W. Bush’s Chief of Staff and his son.
International law doesn’t does not permit states to make deals on the extraction of the natural resources of a disputed territory with an unresolved conflict and self-determination claims without the consent of the local population. In 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union revoked the EU-Morocco agreements ratified by the European Parliament concerning agricultural trade and fisheries, which allowed Morocco to export goods from the territory of the disputed Western Sahara and the waters adjacent to it.
Escalating the Controversy in Relation to the Russian Peacekeepers
One of the main public discourses in Armenia these days is why the Russian peacekeeping contingent hasn’t prevented the Azerbaijani pseudo-protesters from blocking the road. In their daily briefings, the Ministry of Defense of Russia does not assess the closure of the corridor as a provocation or a violation of the ceasefire regime that they are mandated to ensure in line with the 2020 November statement but rather as a side-development that they are trying to manage based on negotiations with both sides. Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry, has expressed concern about the blockade of the corridor for creating problems for the life of the civilian population and has referred to the disagreements of the sides around the operation of mines. She has also stated that the Russian side is actively working to reduce the escalation of the situation and has called the accusations addressed to the Russian peacekeepers by both sides as counterproductive and impermissible.
Pro-Western political analysts and public figures in Armenia suggest that this operation was either planned by Azerbaijan and Russia jointly, or at the very least, Azerbaijan received the green light from Russia. Those claims are based on the belief that Russia and Azerbaijan have been exerting pressure on Armenia to seek concessions, in particular, getting Armenia to agree to give an extraterritorial corridor to Azerbaijan controlled by Russian border patrol services without any Armenian checkpoints or customs. On the other side, some Nagorno-Karabakh officials, pro-Russian analysts and public figures in Armenia, and interestingly, some Western experts suggest that Azerbaijan is trying to discredit Russian peacekeepers by such actions. According to Laurence Broers, Azerbaijan thus demonstrates once again that it doesn’t want Russian peacekeepers on its territory and is preparing ground for their withdrawal.
The lack of the international mandate of Russian peacekeepers, transparency of their rules of engagement, its unilateral nature, lack of international monitoring and reporting mechanisms over it, and dependence on national geopolitical interests, reputation and capabilities of Russia, dramatically changing in light of the war in Ukraine, has been analysed in previous articles.
The failure of managing the situation shows the inability of Russian peacekeepers. The authorities, experts and civil society of Armenia, and even some groups in Nagorno-Karabakh, have criticized the lack of action and failures by Russian peacekeepers to prevent violations of the ceasefire, further territorial and human losses and the current blockade of the Lachin corridor by Azerbaijan. However, the current situation differs from the creeping military advances of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in Nagorno Karabakh in December 2020, March 2022 and August 2022. If in case of military operations by Azerbaijan, the failure to use force by military peacekeepers was difficult to understand, in the current situation, it would be problematic for the military peacekeepers to use force against the civilian, even if ingenuine, protesters. It would be perceived as an excessive or disproportionate use of force and could lead to a military escalation involving the Azerbaijani Armed Forces. From the public communication perspective, Azerbaijan is in a win-win situation – if the use of force by peacekeepers would be condemned by the Western audience and could serve as a trigger for Azerbaijan to open a “second front” against Russia in the Southern Caucasus, the failure of preventing the blockade undermines the ability of Russian peacekeepers to manage the situation both in the eyes of the Armenian public and the international community.
This points to a new aspect and a specific gap in the current peacekeeping configuration – the problem with the solely military nature without a police or rule of law component that would be well placed to manage protests. The UN and the European Union both have had police or rule of law missions or components of peacekeeping missions in other conflict zones. It is those components that are well placed to manage protests in conflict zones, whether they are organized against the local authorities or peacekeepers. The obstacles for the presence of either a UN or an EU mission in Nagorno-Karabakh is the stubborn rejection by Azerbaijan of any international military or civilian presence in Nagorno-Karabakh, and the Russian military presence and polarized relations between Russia and the West making it impossible to divide the roles of hard and soft security providers in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Attempt to Impose a Similar Status for Lachin Corridor and the Envisaged Road Between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan
Azerbaijan’s diplomatic service claims that while Azerbaijan is not blocking the Lachin corridor, Armenia has been blocking Nakhichevan for 30 years. This is not only a way by Azerbaijani authorities to defend an illegitimate action contradicting international customary humanitarian law: It also develops the false narrative drawing parallels between the Lachin corridor — ensuring Nagorno-Karabakh’s link with Armenia in line with the November 2020 statement — and the road anticipated to link Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan through Armenia that Azerbaijan has been trying to turn into an extraterritorial “Zangezur corridor”. It is also an attempt to accuse Armenia of blocking the borders while it has been Azerbaijan keeping Armenia in a blockade since the 1990s.
Azerbaijan’s attribution of the same status of the Lachin corridor to the envisaged road between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan through Armenia is unjustified. Nakhichevan is not an enclave but an exclave under the full jurisdiction of Azerbaijan. Nakhichevan hasn’t had any conflict since the depopulation of Armenians from the region during the Soviet period, doesn’t have any security problems, and is not isolated. It has trade not only with Azerbaijan through Iran but also with Iran and Turkey. There is an Azerbaijani military airport in Nakhichevan. Armenia has reiterated its readiness to open communications, and it announced its decision to establish three checkpoints and facilitate the passage of Azerbaijani tracks and vehicles through its territory in August 2022; however, the Azerbaijani side hasn’t taken advantage of that offer and has continued to demand an extraterritorial corridor. At the same time, Azerbaijan seems to be aiming to establish checkpoints on the Lachin corridor, which will inevitably lead to intimidation and pressures on Armenians commuting between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
Meanwhile, Nagorno-Karabakh is an enclave that was shelled for 44 days in 2020. It is systematically subjected to threats, use of force, and major ceasefire violations by Azerbaijan, and is protected by a peacekeeping force. Even if Azerbaijan refutes both the existence of Nagorno-Karabakh as an entity and the continuation of the conflict around it, the current situation indicates once more that the conflict hasn’t been resolved. Nagorno-Karabakh is dependent on Armenia in terms of its economy through the Lachin corridor. It has no other connection with the world – neither by land nor by air. Azerbaijan has blocked the operation of the Stepanakert airport since the 1990s. The current situation demonstrates explicitly why the Lachin corridor cannot be subject to bargaining.
When the Soviet Union was formed, Nagorno-Karabakh and Soviet Armenia were linked. The 1926 map of Soviet Armenia featured in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia shows that Armenia and Artsakh have a common border along the Aghavnu River. Nagorno-Karabakh turned into an enclave after the Soviet authorities established a short-term formation called Red Kurdistan in 1922-1929 under which some lands were taken from Soviet Armenia and retained as part of Soviet Azerbaijan after Red Kurdistan ceased to exist. The current crisis demonstrates the vulnerability of the Lachin corridor and severely undermines the belief that Azerbaijan will ensure the uninterrupted link of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.
Humanitarian Crisis as a Tool of Warfare
Rule 53 of Customary International Humanitarian Law on the Use of Starvation of the Civilian Population as a Method of Warfare and Rule 54 on the Blockades and Embargoes That Cause Starvation are applicable for non-international armed conflicts.
Customary International Humanitarian Law includes 161 rules concerning armed conflicts that are internationally recognized and codified rules of international customary humanitarian law. In the hierarchy of sources in international law, customary rules are the second after international treaties, and they stand higher than the case law of international courts. Thus, they are a binding and a very serious source of law. Where conventions and treaties are silent on a given violation, the problem is solved by referring to customary international rules. Blockades and embargoes of cities and regions have been condemned by the United Nations and other international organizations, for example, with respect to the conflicts in Afghanistan and the territories occupied by Israel.
Since Azerbaijan claims the Karabakh issue as a domestic issue, the blockade used by Azerbaijan is a method of war against Armenians as an ethnic group on its territory.
Even if we accept that Nagorno-Karabakh is considered, per many in the international community, as part of Azerbaijan, each state has a responsibility to protect its civilian population and ensure their rights, including those of minorities, and not depriving them of fundamental human rights. The notion of territorial integrity has not given a green light to any state to oppress an ethnic group under its jurisdiction. In accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution 2625 (XXV) adopted in 1970, “every State has the duty to refrain from any forcible action which deprives peoples […] of their right to self-determination and freedom and independence […] The use of force to deprive peoples of their national identity constitutes a violation of their inalienable rights and of the principle of non-intervention.”
The Azerbaijani Denial of Security Guarantees and Human Rights to Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians
This situation illustrates that Azerbaijan not only refuses any status, even low-level autonomy to Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, but also security guarantees and human rights requested by Armenia and required by international mediators, such as the EU and the U.S. after Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan announced about “lowering the bar” on the status issue.
On December 8, Hikmet Hajiyev, assistant to Azerbaijan’s President and Head of the Foreign Policy Department of the Presidential Administration, said that the statement of Armenia’s Security Council Secretary that an agreement on the creation of international mechanisms regarding the rights and security of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh, allegedly reached at the meeting hosted by the U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Washington on September 27, is false. He reiterated that Azerbaijan would not discuss the rights and security of the Armenian population living in Karabakh or international mechanisms for them with neither Armenia nor with any international partners, as this is an internal affair of Azerbaijan, regulated under its Constitution and legislation. Azerbaijan also refuses to negotiate with Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh under the auspices of international mechanisms.
The Azerbaijani authorities have been stating their intention to “integrate” the Armenian-governed part of Nagorno-Karabakh into unitary Azerbaijan, and have been claiming that Armenians in Karabakh will have the same rights as other citizens of Azerbaijan. They also state that Azerbaijan will be the security guarantor for Armenians in Karabakh. Promising only cultural rights and ignoring political rights and civil liberties, and limiting cultural rights including the right to learn Armenian promised by the authorities of Azerbaijan to Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, which has much higher democracy rankings than Azerbaijan, is disingenuous. In this context, the objective of integrating Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, as declared by Azerbaijan, qualifies more as a threat to deprive them of their ethnic identity and subject them to control and domination. It once more violates the above-mentioned UN General Assembly Resolution 2625 (XXV) and its prohibition to deprive peoples of their national identity.
The Intent to Conduct Ethnic Cleansing
Armenians are often criticized and even ridiculed for claiming victimhood and fearing a genocide. Armenia’s prime minister and other state officials who were criticized not only by the illiberal opposition but even by the liberal civil society for being too concessional since the 2020 ceasefire, restarted using that term and describing possible scenarios of genocide by Azerbaijan of the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh since the blockade of the Lachin corridor. However, it is not only official Yerevan that has warned against a possible genocide against the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh; the international and expert community, such as the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention and Western analysts have also raised the alarm.
Even the name of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide indicates that genocide should not reach the stage of implementation to receive a proper response, but it must be prevented by the international community, based on early warning signals. The international community has drawn lessons from the Srebrenica massacre, the genocide in Rwanda and other crimes against humanity. Even if the term genocide is premature for the current situation, the intent of ethnically cleansing the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijani authorities cannot be considered an exaggeration. There are many red flags signalling its potential implementation, including evidence in the territories that have come under Azerbaijani control accompanied with the continuing propaganda of ethnic hatred toward Armenians.
Short- and Long-term Solutions
Use of International Political, Legal and Quasi-Legal Mechanisms
- On December 14, the UN Security Council gave the floor to Armenia’s Foreign Minister to address the situation around the Lachin corridor in its open session upon the initiative of its current presiding country India; and again on December 16, on the initiative of France, during a closed session. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia announced on December 20 that based on the request of Armenia, the UN Security Council will discuss the situation unfolding in the Lachin Corridor.
- Armenia has already informed the International Court of Justice about the blockade of the Lachin Corridor by Azerbaijan and the violation of the rights of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia has also applied to the European Court of Human Rights requesting to indicate interim measures against Azerbaijan and obligate Azerbaijan to unblock the Lachin Corridor since its blockade contains an imminent risk of irreparable harm. ECHR gave a deadline to Azerbaijan to respond to Armenia’s request about interim measures until December 19, which Azerbaijan did not meet.
- Armenia should continue to raise the issue of the blockade of the Lachin corridor and other security and human rights problems of Nagorno-Karabakh in the UN Security Council, UN Human Rights Council, the International Court of Justice, ECtHR and other relevant international political, legal and quasi-legal bodies, including the UN bodies, the EU and other European institutions, OSCE, etc. It should also continue pro-active diversified diplomatic efforts that have been evident in the past several months.
- In consultation with the UK and U.S. authorities, and using the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union as a precedent, Armenia should appeal to the International Court of Justice or ECHR to revoke the deals on the extraction of mines and other natural resources in Nagorno-Karabakh made by Azerbaijan and involving companies with foreign registration and foreign shareholders.
- In order to ensure human security and the freedom of movement of Armenians in the territory, Armenia should make a concerted effort through international political and legal instruments for Nagorno-Karabakh not to be an enclave, and accordingly raise the necessity of restoring a stable link instead of a corridor between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia based on the 1926 map. Due to the high probability of a strong Azerbaijani opposition and reaction within the delimitation process of Armenian-Azerbaijani borders, Armenia should make a case to the International Court of Justice in relation to this issue in parallel and without much delay.
So far, only a few humanitarian convoys of Russian peacekeepers have been able to pass the Lachin corridor since the start of its blockade. Nagorno-Karabakh authorities have denied receiving any humanitarian aid from Russian peacekeepers, therefore the convoys are likely to serve the needs of Russian peacekeepers themselves. Even if they delivered assistance to Armenians, it would be difficult to imagine how they could meet the growing needs of 120,000 people. Since the humanitarian situation is deteriorating day-by-day, and there is no clarity when the blockade will end, various Armenian figures and Nagorno-Karabakh authorities have raised the necessity of a humanitarian airlift.
A humanitarian airlift can be carried out either by the United Nations World Food Programme Organization or by the International Committee of the Red Cross. In order to do this, the agreement of Azerbaijan would be needed. Some Azerbaijani public figures and experts have threatened on social media that anything flying to or out of the territory will be shot down by Azerbaijan. In comparative terms, even Omar al-Bashir, the Head of State of Sudan, who has been charged by the International Criminal Court for five counts of crimes against humanity committed in 2003-2008 in Darfur, has authorized the humanitarian airlift by the UN WFP and ICRC during the conflict there.
The Armenian authorities should request the UN WFP and ICRC to carry out a humanitarian airlift, and the latter should officially request its authorization from the Azerbaijani authorities. If needed, the EU and U.S. should mediate for it. If Azerbaijani authorities refuse, it will indicate their violation of international humanitarian law and official support for the closure of the corridor. In that case, the UN, EU and U.S. should consider sanctions against Azerbaijan.
Raising the Issue of a Reliable Land Link Between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia
However, even if a humanitarian airlift is initiated in this or similar situations in the future, it will resolve only the short-term critical humanitarian needs of the population in Nagorno-Karabakh. It will leave unresolved other fundamental freedoms and basic human rights problems, such as isolation, freedom of movement, and even reunification of families and rights of children on both sides of the corridor. This proves once more the necessity of having a reliable land link between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia that existed in line with the 1926 map. All proposals considered for the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict before the 2020 war suggested, as a key principle, that the territory cannot be an enclave but should have a link with Armenia. Armenia needs to raise this issue within the delimitation and demarcation process with Azerbaijan and in light of the expected Azerbaijani opposition, and bring this issue to ICJ.
International Peacekeeping as a Tool for Humanitarian Intervention
No contemporary inter-ethnic conflict with high intensity, armed clashes, threat of ethnic cleansing and military aggression has been de-escalated or resolved on the basis of security guarantees provided by one party to the conflict to another, without international guarantees for security and human rights, especially in the aftermath of the armed conflict and lack of a comprehensive resolution of the conflict. UN peacekeeping missions have helped countries make the difficult transition from conflict to peace, and regional organizations such as the African Union, European Union, NATO and the OSCE have taken up their share of responsibilities to ensure peace, security and rights.
Multinational missions have been operating for decades and are still maintained in Kosovo, Cyprus, South Sudan and other places.
International peacekeeping missions may consist of military, police or rule of law, and civilian components, depending on the context. There have been protests against both the local authorities and international peacekeeping missions in Kosovo, Timor-Leste, Central African Republic and elsewhere, and it is not the military component of international peacekeeping missions that manage them but the international police or rule of law components. If until the current situation the necessity of a police or rule of law component in Nagorno-Karabakh or the Lachin corridor was not obvious, this crisis highlights the critical need for it.
After their failures in Srebrenica and Rwanda, the rules of engagement of the UN peacekeeping have been adopted to use force to protect civilians and to fulfill its mandate such as ensuring compliance with ceasefire agreements. International peacekeeping missions are not static but adapt their composition in line with the changing realities on the ground.
Azerbaijan’s announcements about the non-acceptance of any international peacekeeping force or any other kind of international presence there, whether under the UN, OSCE, EU or other mandate, or another format of international presence, deepen the concerns about the intention of ethnic cleansing. The probability of adopting a UN Security Council resolution authorizing an international peacekeeping mission is also low given the diverse geopolitical interests of the UN Security Council members and the polarization among them.
There are warning signs that Azerbaijan may be aiming to conduct ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh, whether by a pending large-scale military offensive or softer methods – making people leave by creating unbearable conditions for the Armenians, depriving them of their basic human rights, further intensifying their feeling of insecurity, or depriving them of their identity and any link with Armenia. Given the vulnerability and small size of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh, once the implementation of such a scenario starts, it may be too late to stop it, and Azerbaijan may be able to conduct it within less than a week.
Currently, Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh lack the deterrence capability to prevent this scenario, with the exception of their small self-defense force and Russian peacekeepers. Azerbaijan is aggressively aiming to demobilize their modest self-defense force and to achieve the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers. Even if the self-defense force is maintained and Russian peacekeepers stay, they haven’t proven to be capable of providing sufficient guarantees for the security and rights of Armenians in the territory.
Even if it looks challenging in the current geopolitical environment and with conflicting interests, an international peacekeeping operation under a mandate from an international organization should be established in Nagorno-Karabakh in order to prevent a relapse into an armed conflict and ethnic cleansing in line with “Responsibility to Protect” principle as well as to overcome its isolation in line with “Leave No One Behind” principle. It should consist of military, police and civilian components, and be multinational, composed of contributing nations acceptable for both the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides. It should ensure hard and soft security, facilitate political dialogue and reconciliation between Azerbaijani and local Armenian authorities, facilitate the return of refugees from both sides, protect human rights, assist with institution-building and deliver development programs. It may be a civil-military mission either under the UN, OSCE or the EU Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) framework or a combination of them. Different options of an international peacekeeping architecture have been presented in previous articles.
International mediators should exercise their leverage, whether through dialogue, negotiations or sanctions, to facilitate a way out of the deadlock in ensuring the security and rights of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians under international guarantees and mechanisms. Consequences of a new armed conflict and ethnic cleansing will be costly geopolitically and reputationally for the international order enshrined in the UN Charter, the OSCE and its Minsk Group co-chairs (U.S., Russia and France) that have provided a formal mediation for the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It will also be detrimental to the EU who has taken over the mediation role between Armenia and Azerbaijan since 2021 due to the crisis in the OSCE Minsk Group in light of the polarized geopolitical environment.
The commitment of the international community to peacekeeping in conflict zones is key. All conflicts deserve attention, and conflict parties deserve treatment based on the consideration of human rights, human security and human development issues in line with international norms. The international community should not allow coercion to be normalized as a tool to achieve unilateral solutions in conflict management. Peace should be positive, comprehensive and sustainable, be based on the resolution addressing the root causes of conflicts, providing long-term solutions for its key aspects and building confidence towards genuine reconciliation.
 Rouben Galichian, “Historic Maps of Armenia. The Cartographic Heritage. Revised and Abridged.” (London: Bennett & Bloom, 2014)
The Lachin Corridor: A Looming Humanitarian Catastrophe
A group of Azerbaijani “environmental activists” blocked the Lachin Corridor on December 12, effectively isolating the population of Artsakh. Later, Azerbaijani authorities shut off the natural gas supply to the Republic triggering a pending humanitarian catastrophe. The blockade of Artsakh continues. Live updates on the unfolding situation.Read more
EVN Security Report
Examining the Context of Developments on the Lachin Corridor: EVN Security Report, November 2022
EVN Report's Editor-in-Chief Maria Titizian speaks with political scientist and international security expert Dr. Nerses Kopalyan, author of the monthly series "EVN Security Report". The security context for the month of November demonstrated observable decline for Armenia as Azerbaijan intensified and amplified its hybrid warfare activities, attempting to neutralize Armenia’s growing attempts at the diplomatization of its deterrence capabilities. Dr. Kopalyan speaks extensively about the blocking of the Lachin Corridor, Artsakh's only lifeline with the rest of the world, by so-called Azerbaijani eco-activists and the shutting off of the natural gas supply to Artsakh that will undoubtedly lead to a humanitarian catastrophe for the 120,000-strong population.Read more
EVN Security Report: November 2022
The security context for the month of November demonstrates observable decline for Armenia as Azerbaijan intensified and amplified its hybrid warfare activities, attempting to neutralize Armenia’s growing attempts at the diplomatization of its deterrence capabilities.Read more
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In Nagorno-Karabakh, Upholding the Notion of Territorial Integrity Means Ethnic Cleansing for Armenians
In Nagorno-Karabakh, the consequences of upholding Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity entails the imminent threat to the indigenous Armenian population that is no different than Kosovo, Timor-Leste or South Sudan: the inevitability of ethnic cleaning and genocide.Read more
Deconstructing the Promise and Problems of the International Criminal Court
The scope of gross human rights violations that ethnic Armenians were subjected to during and after the 2020 Artsakh War contributes to the body of empirical data that could be used if Armenia were to become a party to the Rome Statute.Read more
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Azerbaijan has made an enormous strategic mistake, Russia has allowed for a sizable power vacuum in the region, and the United States has determined to capitalize on these developments, undertaking a policy pivot in the South Caucasus.Read more
Part III: What May Happen to Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh
In this next installment of a series on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Sossi Tatikyan presents a way forward given the current situation to ensure security guarantees for the Artsakh Armenians and mark progress in the conflict’s resolution.Read more
Part II: What May Happen to Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh
In order to understand what may happen to Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh if appropriate international guarantees for security and human rights are not put in place for them, Sossi Tatikyan presents the evolution of several comparable conflicts.Read more
Part I: What May Happen to Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh
In Part 1 of a three-part series, Sossi Tatikyan analyzes the uncertainties and possible scenarios for Nagorno-Karabakh if Armenia’s leadership goes ahead with the recognition of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.Read more
The Limitations of Remedial Secession and the Need for Remedial Sovereignty
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This is a great article.
Russia has clearly broken its signed agreement to be a peacekeeper in Artsakh, and it’s deliberate on Russia’s part.
Are we to believe that armed Russian soldiers are unable to clear a road?
This bodes ill for a future Artsakh supposedly under Russian “protection.”
Not to mention the fact that Russia and the CSTO have broken their defense agreements with Armenia by allowing Azerbaijan to invade southern Armenia.
It’s obvious what Russia is up to:
Putin wants to depose Pashinyan and make Armenia a Russian state, perhaps someday without Armenians in it, just Russians and Russian garrisons.