The Kremlin’s stance aligns with majority-Muslim Azerbaijan’s, not majority-Christian Armenia’s, in spite of Russia’s demographics more closely resembling the latter’s. What this goes to show is that Moscow’s approach is based on objectively existing facts and not identity politics.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov clarified the situation in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region following the flurry of false claims about it over nearly the past two weeks, which aim to discredit his country in parallel with provoking an anti-Russian pro-Western Color Revolution in Armenia. He said that “there is no immediate reason” behind the decision of those who chose to leave their homes but confirmed that Russian peacekeepers will assist those who still want to cross over into Armenia.
Chairman of the Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev also shared his thoughts on this subject in a post that he published on Telegram and which was reported on by TASS. According to this high-ranking official who plays a direct role in formulating Russian foreign policy, Azerbaijan has an “historic” chance to peacefully reintegrate its formerly separatist region and thus avoid the mistakes that previously befell Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine in this respect.
He described this scenario as “an obvious reputational plus” for Baku and promised that Moscow will fully assist in this process if requested to do so, ideally via the parliamentary channels that he proposed. What’s so important about these two Russian representatives’ statements is that they counteract the West’s malicious propaganda fearmongering about “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide”. This not only protects the reputation of their country’s peacekeepers, but also the Azerbaijani state’s as well.
As it turns out, Armenia’s narrative on events aligns with the West’s, which places it on the opposite side of Russia in this sensitive situation. The optics are even more interesting when considering that the Kremlin’s stance aligns with majority-Muslim Azerbaijan’s, not majority-Christian Armenia’s, in spite of Russia’s demographics more closely resembling the latter’s. What this goes to show is that Moscow’s approach is based on objectively existing facts and not identity politics.
The ethno-religious identities of the two parties in the newly ended Karabakh Conflict play no role whatsoever in the formulation of Russian foreign policy contrary to false Western claims that President Putin’s government is “right-wing” and secretly supports so-called “Christian Nationalism” in the West. If that was truly the case, then it wouldn’t have sided with majority-Muslim Azerbaijan over majority-Christian Armenia, which it did precisely because the facts support Baku’s position and not Yerevan’s.
The abovementioned insight accordingly extends credence to claims that Armenia and its Western partners are lying about the crimes that are allegedly taking place in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region. They appear to be driven by the desire to exploit popular perceptions of Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” paradigm to mislead millions into thinking that Muslims are massacring Christians. This isn’t just dishonest, but also dangerous because it could incite Islamophobic hate crimes in the West.