No conflict in the post-Soviet area has an international legal basis identical to that of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which seceded from Azerbaijan in conformity with the laws in effect at that time, political scientist Sergey Minasyan told Tert.am as he commented on Co-Chairman of the Russian-Armenian Commission on Inter-parliamentary Cooperation Nikolay Ryzhkov’s statement that the Crimea and Nagorno-Karabakh should not be compared.
Some political scientists find similarities between the Crimea and Nagorno-Karabakh, while others are of the opposite opinion. The reason is the individuals’ political views and has nothing in common with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“If we compare the referendums in the Crimea and in Nagorno-Karabakh, they are similar. However, in the case of Nagorno-Karabakh Azerbaijan has not had any control over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory since the end of the Soviet era, whereas the Crimea was part of Ukraine. We have both similarities and differences,” Mr Minasyan said.
As regards Russia’s bias, he said that bias is a synonym for policy, and Russia will certainly see similarities if they meet its interests.
“Any foreign policy is biased,” he said.
Armenia would not be able to join the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) in a different way because, since March 1992, when Armenia became a UN member, as well as of different international organizations and politico-military alliances, it did so within its boundaries. Nagorno-Karabakh is not part of Armenia.
“Armenia’s accession to the EEU is not an ultimate aim. Rather, it is a means of achieving a larger-scale process,” the expert said.
As regards the possibility of a customs station between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, Mr Minasyan said that it will not operate even if it is formally announced.
“It was the most secure way to membership,” he said.
Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) parliamentary group member Manvel Badeyan noted that Nikita Khrushchev arbitrarily gave historically Russian lands to Ukraine. In a similar manner, the Political Bureau arbitrarily decided to give Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan.
“No difference in this respect. So neither that territory was legally part of Ukraine nor was Nagorno-Karabakh legally made part of Azerbaijan,” he said.
As regards the possibility of Nagorno-Karabakh becoming part of Armenia, Mr Badeyan said:
“We not only want Nagorno-Karabakh be jointly with Armenia – which is actually the case – but if the historic day comes when the Nagorno-Karabakh problem is resolved, it will certainly be with Armenia.”
Political scientist Alexander Margarov believes the Crimea and Nagorno-Karabakh have essentially different statuses. Russian officials state the Crimea has been considered part of Russia since the referendum, which has not yet been internationally recognized. On the other hand, Nagorno-Karabakh is not part of Armenia.
“Nagorno-Karabakh is an unrecognized state, which is not part of Armenia. In this respect, Armenia and Russia are definitely different. Armenia has never stated its position on the Crimea as part or not part of Russia. We just recognize each other within the internationally recognized boundaries,” he said.
The expert believes there are reasons for Mr Ryzhkov’s statement, which he does not want to comment on now in the context of the Crimea’s status.
“Nagorno-Karabakh is an independent and unrecognized state, which has a common political, economic, humanitarian and cultural environment with Armenia. Features common to Nagorno-Karabakh and the Crimea could be found, but in this particular case the common feature is that the local population in both the regions voiced its opinion by exercising the right to a referendum. But in the Crimea’s case, the population voted in favor of joining Russia, whereas the Nagorno-Karabakh population voted in favor of independent statehood. This is essential difference,” Mr Margarov said.
With respect to Armenia’s accession to the EEU, he said that the country will join the EEU as the Republic of Armenia.