Some pro-government members of the Armenian parliament made such claims shortly after Azerbaijan blocked Nagorno-Karabakh’s sole land link with Armenia on December 12. They said Moscow is using the blockade to clinch such concessions from Yerevan.
Armen Grigorian, the secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, effectively echoed their allegations earlier this week. Although Grigorian did not explicitly name the country allegedly exerting such pressure, he was widely understood to have referred to Russia.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denounced Grigorian’s “provocative” comments on Tuesday. The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, also denied them.
“To whom and to what facts do people saying they are coerced refer?” Zakharova told a news conference on Thursday. “Is there any proof? How did the ‘coercion’ take place: in a friendly atmosphere, over a glass of red wine, or in a tough way?”
“People making such statements without providing facts ... must be kind enough to back them up with facts,” she said.
Grigorian’s office has not clarified whether Russian officials have indeed told Yerevan to open the exterritorial land corridor for Azerbaijan or join the Russian-Belarusian “union state.”
In late September, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk effectively backed the Armenian government’s position on a planned road and a railway that would connect Nakhichevan to the rest of Azerbaijan through Armenia. Overchuk stressed that a Russian-Armenian-Azerbaijani task force has never discussed any “extraterritorial corridors.”
Zakharova likewise said: “One of the principles of this [task force’s] work, which is not disputed by either Baku or Yerevan, is that sovereignty over [transit] routes belongs to the side through whose territory they run.”