Vardanian, 'Artsakh' and nuclear terror

06.10.22 10:00

On October 4, 2022, two seemingly completely unrelated events took place in the South Caucasus.


First, Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the IAEA, came to Armenia. Second, a new so-called 'state minister' was appointed in the virtual separatist 'Artsakh', which portrays itself as the 'authority' in the zone of responsibility of the Russian peacekeepers in Azerbaijan's Karabakh.  Ruben Vardanyan, a prominent Russian businessman of Armenian origin, was appointed as him. However, if the geopolitical situation is analysed carefully, a conclusion can be made that in reality these two events are likely to be more closely connected than they appear at first sight.


The fact is that the interest in the Metsamor (Armenian) NPP, including from the IAEA, has now increased. Especially given the sharply escalated nuclear threats in Eastern Europe.


The critical situation around the Zaporizhzhya NPP, which is in the war zone of the Russian-Ukrainian war in Ukraine and the direct threats from the Kremlin and near-Kremlin circles to use nuclear weapons in the Ukrainian conflict, is still on everyone's lips. It is clear that the conversion of the war in Ukraine into a nuclear war, or an accident at the Zaporizhzhya NPP due to military action would concern not only Russia and Ukraine, but all of humanity. The world community is supposed to take all possible measures to avert the threat of a global nuclear catastrophe. Right up to the deployment of international forces to control nuclear facilities in Ukraine and to strike the first aggressor to dare to use nuclear weapons.


Though at the initial stage of initiation of probable nuclear conflict (use of nuclear weapons by the Russian Federation against Ukraine), it seemed that South Caucasus will not be threatened with being drawn into it. However, we must not forget that the Kremlin is being pushed to that adventure by representatives of the Armenian lobby, among others. This is not incidental either. Logically, nuclear blackmail and nuclear adventures on the topic of "Artsakh" remain almost the only way to preserve the "Artsakh" separatist project in one form or another. There is no other even hypothetical chance of avoiding that in 3 years' time the entire territory of Karabakh will be fully restored to Azerbaijani jurisdiction and there will be nothing left of the "Artsakh" separatists.


 Today, the leaders of the virtual "Artsakh" separatist authorities do not have even the slightest international credibility. Not even as individuals. In fact, Ruben Vardanyan was delegated to the Russian peacekeepers' area of responsibility in Karabakh by the Russian Armenian lobby, the Kremlin and Armenian revanchists in order to be the "face of "Artsakh" in case of a global or regional "catharsis" (including a nuclear one). And to try to somehow save Armenian claims to Karabakh's Azerbaijani lands from being written off "into historical oblivion".


Of course a great deal depends precisely on events in Ukraine, or on whether or not Ukraine succumbs to nuclear blackmail. There is no other way for the Russian Federation to win this war or even draw it down by freezing the front lines as of today or at least as of February 24. But with its nuclear blackmail and bid to annex the occupied Ukrainian territories, the Kremlin is trying to force Ukraine to conclude a truce, with at least Crimea remaining under Russian occupation. However, the Ukrainian side, with the Ukrainian Armed Forces going on a counter-offensive, will understandably not agree to this.


The Kremlin is rapidly "raising the stakes" in Ukraine. And synchronously, the Armenian revanchists are betting that, by analogy, a similar "raising the stakes" could get their way. Everything will depend on whether the Kremlin goes for a nuclear adventure in Ukraine or not. If it does, a nuclear adventure will also be instigated in the South Caucasus at the same time. The Metsamor nuclear power plant could well be used. This nuclear power plant is not only hopelessly obsolete and dangerous in itself, but it is within the "reach" of Armenian nationalists, who are ready for any provocation in order to maintain their insane claims to "great Armenia".


The revanchists and the pro-Russian Armenian lobby may well plan to organise provocations in order to force Russia to intervene militarily in the situation in the South Caucasus on Armenia's side, despite its Ukrainian problems, or to get "pro-Armenian" international forces here as quickly as possible. These 'international forces' could, in their view, maintain an Armenian political presence in Azerbaijan's Karabakh, ostensibly to save the local Armenian population from a 'genocide'. Another important assignment from the Armenian lobby is for Ruben Vardanian to organise such external intervention.


In addition, unlike the totally marginal leaders of the "Artsakh" separatists, Ruben Vardanyan is "well-connected" to the world business elite, which is related to "high technologies". Ruben Vardanian was one of the main initiators of the Russian project "Skolkovo" - an analogue of Silicon Valley. And some figures from that high-tech business sphere are already influencing geopolitics.


It is no coincidence that the recent remarks of the famous businessman Ilon Musk about the "peace settlement" in Ukraine had such a resonance. They caused outrage in Ukraine because they seemed to many people to be clearly pro-Russian. In particular, Ilon Musk "advised" to leave Crimea to the Russian Federation to "prevent a nuclear war". Who knows, maybe in case of a nuclear provocation at the Metsamor NPP, if, for example, terrorists seize it and threaten to blow it up, some Musk or Gates will also, upon the advice of people like Vardanyan, advise to "leave 'Artsakh' to Armenia" to "prevent a nuclear disaster".


 The provocation at the Metsamor nuclear plant, simultaneously with a possible nuclear escalation in Ukraine, may launch the process of the active intervention of Western circles in the situation in the South Caucasus. And in order, conventionally speaking, to hand over the Armenian project "to the West", amid Russia's almost inevitable collapse, the Armenian lobby is "preparing the ground" by attracting "cadres" such as Ruben Vardanyan.


The IAEA is seriously concerned about a possible new hotbed of global nuclear danger. This is most likely what prompted the current visit of the organisation's director general to Armenia, with a visit to the Metsamor nuclear power plant.


Worldwide trends suggest that nuclear ventures to save the "Artsakh" project, despite their fantastic nature, may be worked out by Armenian nationalists and certain geopolitical forces may be behind them. Organised disasters and man-made catastrophes, which until recently seemed unthinkable, are increasingly occurring. 


Until recently, for example, nobody expected an accident on the Nord Stream pipeline. However, a recent unexpected and unexplained "accidental causes" failure of the gas pipeline system in 4 places actually stopped the transportation of Russian natural gas via the "Northern route" and abruptly changed many geopolitical calculations in Europe. Immediately, Azerbaijan's role as a natural gas supplier to the European market increased.


 Similarly, provocations with nuclear accidents on a global scale can be organised "unexpectedly and inexplicably" with "unknown culprits". And not only in Ukraine, but also at the Metsamor NPP in Armenia.



Varden Tsulukidze

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