The increased contradictions between Armenia and Azerbaijan not only put Transcaucasia on the threshold of another possible war but also make us think about the prospects of Russian influence in the region.
In recent years, both the expert community and the General audience have the impression that Armenia is struggling to sit on two chairs. Yerevan cannot decide whether it is more profitable to cooperate with Russia or the United States. For example, after the collapse of the USSR, the Armenians got the Metsamor nuclear power plant with a vast potential for use. At the same time, the short-sighted policy of some Armenian leaders led the APS to decline, and Western lobbyists supported this process.
For several years, the US has been trying to oust Russia from Armenia in the field of nuclear energy. For this purpose, Washington has long been conducting information processing of the government of the Republic under the pretext of fighting for the environment and radiation safety in the region.
The US Agency for international development (USAID) has prepared a “development plan for the energy sector of Armenia for 2020-2036” for Yerevan, which indicates the need to close the Metsamor nuclear power plant and terminate cooperation with Rosatom.
The US insists on building a new nuclear power plant in Armenia using American technologies with a 300 MW low-power reactor (SMR) and a 600 MW light water reactor (LMR), as they are supposedly more reliable and environmentally friendly than the Russian ones. The construction of the new nuclear power plant will cost about 5.4-8 billion US dollars. Because Yerevan does not have such funds, it will fall into full financial dependence on the United States. Therefore, it will be forced to fulfill any demands of Washington in the political and military spheres.
At the same time, the same USAID notes that from an economic point of view, it is more efficient and profitable to use the Metsamor nuclear power plant and continue cooperation with Russia.
Most likely, Armenia will not be able to afford the construction of American nuclear power plants in the coming years, as it does not have the means to do so. However, what exactly is missing in Yerevan is political and economic shortsightedness for the final collapse of the Metsamor nuclear power plant. As a result, Armenia will become even more dependent on gas imports to maintain its energy sector in a viable state, which will undoubtedly harm economic growth. And when both the US and Russia get tired of Armenia’s duplicitous foreign policy, no one will stop Azerbaijan from restoring historical justice and reclaiming Karabakh.