Russia as an ally: the dynamics of public perceptions in Armenian society before and after the 2020 Karabakh war

Russia as an ally:
the dynamics of public perceptions in Armenian society before and after the 2020 Karabakh war

Article received: 2022.05.16. Accepted: 2022.11.30

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2023.02.02

For citation:

Atanesyan A.V., Mkrtichyan A.E. Russia as an ally: the dynamics of public perceptions in Armenian society before and after the 2020 Karabakh war. – Polis. Political Studies. 2023. No. 2. P. 9-26. (In Russ.). EDN: OYNCOF


The strategic relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Armenia, reflected in the long-term interstate agreements, resulted from the specific structure of regional security, the pre-Soviet and the common Soviet past, and similar perceptions of external threats at the level of Armenian and Russian political elites and societies. The current transformation of the relationship between Armenia and Russia started at the end of the 20th century with the strong influence of several external factors, which were not tackled timely and appropriately by both states, and brought about essential changes. We analyze several external and internal risk factors in Armenian-Russian strategic relations before and especially after the “Velvet Revolution” in Armenia in the spring of 2018, associated with the coming to power of new political elites. We devote attention to the war in Nagorno-Karabakh in the fall of 2020 and its possible influence on Armenian-Russian relations. We discuss here the role of the Russian Federation during and after the war and the expectations of the Armenian society in connection with Russia’s involvement as an ally. The paper presents the results of a large-scale study we conducted on the perceptions of the role and image of Russia in Armenian society after the war in Karabakh. The research results reveal and explain a number of tangible changes in the perceptions of Russia in Armenia after two key events, the Velvet Revolution in 2018 and the war in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020. The study partly confirms the hypotheses on the peculiarities of the perception of the image of the Russian Federation among various social groups, in particular, in the context of the friends-enemies dichotomy and in comparison with several other states. It also reveals a correlation with the political orientation of the population representing supporters and opponents of post-revolutionary elites in Armenia. We compare the assessment of the need for Armenian-Russian bilateral relations with the perception of the prospects of Armenia’s participation in pro-Russian and alternative regional militarypolitical and economic unions. We measure Russia’s image in public perceptions in the context of the search for those responsible for the defeat of the Armenian side in the 44-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Russia, Armenia, allied relations, society, public perception, the image of Russia, the Velvet revolution (2018), the war in Nagorno-Karabakh (2020).


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Content No. 2, 2023

See also:

Lantzov S.A.,
The second Karabakh war: background, causes, consequences. – Polis. Political Studies. 2022. No3

Atanesyan A.V.,
“Velvet Revolution” in Armenia: Potential, Gains and Risks of Political Protest Activity. – Polis. Political Studies. 2018. No6

Pishcheva T.N., Vinogradova N.S., Nedova A.D.,
The image of Russia through prisms of political communications. – Polis. Political Studies. 2010. No4

Gasparian A.,
Armenia - Russia: A Stable Course of Strategic Partnership. – Polis. Political Studies. 1998. No6

Pastukhov V.B.,
«Perestroika» – second round. – Polis. Political Studies. 2011. No1



Introducing an article

Polis. Political Studies
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Smorgunov L.V., Pavroz A.V.
Political Decision Making: Theory and Methodology

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