The United States has been providing significant financial support to Armenia over the past decade with the expectation that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan would align himself with the West and relinquish control of Nagorno-Karabakh, according to geopolitical analyst Kevork Almassian. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power recently visited Yerevan, making promises to support Armenia’s sovereignty. This visit occurred shortly after the ethnic Armenian leadership in Nagorno-Karabakh agreed to hand over control of the territory to Azerbaijan, a move that Pashinyan supports despite opposition from the Armenian population.
Almassian suggests that the US has supported Pashinyan for several reasons. Firstly, because he lacks competence and understanding of geopolitics. Secondly, because he is anti-Russian. And thirdly, because Pashinyan himself had previously stated that he would give up Nagorno-Karabakh in exchange for joining the “international community.”
Despite Armenia’s status as a former Soviet republic and a member of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization, Pashinyan has engaged in military exercises with American forces, provided aid money to Ukraine, and ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which could potentially lead to the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin if he were to visit Armenia.
These decisions have been highly unpopular in Yerevan and among ethnic Armenians who are now fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh in large numbers. Almassian believes that if it weren’t for the backlash in Yerevan and the tens of thousands of people demonstrating against Pashinyan, he would not have accepted refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh, as they consider him a traitor. Almassian predicts that this could pave the way for a counter-revolution against Pashinyan.
Almassian also points out the joint US-Armenian military drills, which have focused on counter-protest operations and crowd control rather than traditional field exercises. This suggests that the US wants to keep Pashinyan in power, despite diminishing support from the Armenian people. Almassian argues that this is part of a geopolitical game for Washington to keep Russia out of the southern Caucasus.
Overall, Almassian’s analysis suggests that the US has been providing substantial support to Armenia with the expectation that Pashinyan will serve US interests by aligning with the West and relinquishing control of Nagorno-Karabakh. However, these decisions have been met with opposition and could potentially lead to a counter-revolution against Pashinyan.