Review: “Armenia’s Future Relations with Turkey and the Karabagh Conflict” – Levon Ter-Petrossian

This book is a collection of articles and speeches by Levon Ter-Petrossian, the first president of post-Soviet Armenia (1991-98).

Ter-Petrossian is a anti-socialist, Western-style neoliberal, who was “close friends” with Russia’s Boris Yeltsin. But as much as I disagree – or more accurately vehemently oppose – his politics, in his analysis of Armenia’s relations with Turkey, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and the policies of his successors Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan, Ter-Petrossian shows remarkable political foresight. As of this writing (2021) it seems like most, if not all, of Ter-Petrossian’s predictions have come true: Kocharyan’s exclusion of Nagorno-Karabakh from the Minsk Group negotiations has eliminated any chance that Nagorno-Karabakh will be accepted as an independent state by the West; Kocharyan’s and Sargsyan’s attempts to militarize Armenia as a “nation-army” has not only done nothing to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but has weakened Armenia economically, diplomatically, politically, socially, and demographically; and Kocharyan’s and Sargsyan’s efforts to maintain the status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh for the last 30 years has cost Armenia its ability to negotiate from a position of strength, as demonstrated by Azerbaijan’s swift victory in the 2020 war.

As much as I dislike the man and his politics – his fondness for Zionism and neoliberalism are loathsome, especially since he was not born in the USSR but benefited from its socialist system, only to then fight to overthrow it – I can’t ignore how spot on his analysis of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is.

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