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https://www.turan.az-Last month, the situation on the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia restored after the occupation became the subject of close attention of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries. It was reflected in various calls for de-escalation of tension. It is noteworthy, that after the end of the 44-day war, the Armenian side did not resist the restoration of borders by the Azerbaijan side; but after the announcement of early parliamentary elections in Armenia in March, the Armenian military began to take demarches regarding Azerbaijan’s border actions. So far, clashes at the border have been limited to assault.
The border separating Armenia and Azerbaijan is 1007 km. It was inherited by two warring neighboring states from the USSR, which defined it as the administrative dividing line between the former fraternal Soviet republics. There have never been any red-and-white striped border posts and barbed wires, which only separated the outer borders of the Soviet empire with an “iron curtain”. These pillars never appeared after the collapse of the Union, since both newly formed independent states had already entered into a military confrontation due to Armenia’s claims to the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region of the Azerbaijan SSR.
After in the fall of 1993 the seven Azerbaijani regions and Nagorno-Karabakh were occupied, 398.7 km of the border came under the control of Yerevan, with the exception of the western section with the five border Azerbaijani regions. There periodically were military clashes, shootings and the capture of saboteurs and those who lost their way. The most recent serious border conflict occurred in July 2020 on the same western border strip of the Armenian Tavush and Azerbaijani Tovuz regions, which became the forerunner of the great Second Karabakh War, which lasted 44 days.
As a result of the Second Karabakh War, which ended with the defeat of Armenia on November 10, Azerbaijani troops reached the Soviet administrative borders, which in the future will have to be reformatted into interstate ones, and which will need to be clarified during further negotiations on demarcation.
By the way, during last year’s war in the occupied territories, no military conflicts arose on the western section of the border, where last year’s provocative battles took place in July; and it does not arise now.
After the end of the war on November 10, the Azerbaijanis began to restore control over those sections of the border that Armenia unilaterally included in its jurisdiction, such as the gold deposit to Kalbajar Seyudlu (Zodsk). The same actions began in other areas, but they were rather isolated than massive.
In general, with all such advances by Azerbaijanis, the Armenian side, although it expressed dissatisfaction, did not take any measures at the government level to counteract. The situation began to escalate only in May, when the Armenian military tried to stop the process of unilateral, albeit temporary, demarcation of the border by Azerbaijan by counter advances of insignificant vanguards.
As a result, an explosive situation really developed, as skirmishes of armed people began, so far without the use of weapons, but capable of escalating into an armed conflict. This situation also showed a change of mood in Armenia, disoriented from defeat. The trigger for the change in moods can be called the early parliamentary elections scheduled for June 20, the future composition of which will have to determine the Armenian policy towards Azerbaijan – the subsequent confrontation with an eye to revenge or peace with further regional integration. Judging by public opinion polls, Prime Minister Pashinyan’s team will receive a carte blanche of the Armenian electorate and a vote of confidence for post-war actions, among which a lasting peace and Armenia’s withdrawal from the long-term blockade are at the fore. The war party, represented by the former leaders of the Karabakh clan and anti-Turkic political groups, remain outside the political landscape of Armenia, which is entering a new historical period of peaceful existence with its neighbors.
The latest aggravation on the border, which is taking place in unison with the bellicose campaign statements of the war party in Armenia, can be seen as an attempt to revive hurray patriotic feelings and return the vote of confidence of the electorate. As the results of the opinion poll of the MPG/Gallup organization showed, such border demonstration attempts did not receive support in the Armenian society. There were 33.1% of Pashinyan’s supporters in February, and 34.4% in May. In February, Kocharian had 5.6% of supporters, while Dashnaktsutyun had 2.2%. In May, the united Kocharyan-Dashnak group is gaining about 19.9% of the vote. As we can see, the Armenian electorate continues to lean towards Pashinyan’s line, which means that the chances of provoking a military conflict are zero.
These chances are mainly nullified by the unfulfilled hope for the sympathy of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. This Russian-run post-Soviet military bloc has defiantly turned its back on Yerevan, limiting itself to a call for restraint.