“Where we are – there is peace!” a Russian military stand in Stepanakert in Feb. 2021. Photo courtesy of Hetq.am

Russian language will soon become the second official language in Artsakh, in addition to Armenian. This is according to the legislation introduced in Nagorno Karabakh’s National Assembly by its president Arayik Harutyunyan, Sputnik Armenia reported on February 16. The move is seen as a gesture to Russia, whose forces are now the main guarantors of Karabakh Armenians’ security.

Promotion of the Russian language has long been a key demand of the Kremlin in its relations with the former Soviet republics. Currently, Russian is the co-official language in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine. The first three countries are members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

Several years ago, Russian parliament speaker Vyacheslav Volodin suggested giving Russian language an official status in Armenia, the only EEU member, where this is not the case. Armenian officials rejected the idea at the time.

Journalist Semyon Pegov, who extensively reported from the 2020 war, claimed last year that the move to give Russian language official status in Artsakh was imminent; at the time it was denied by one of the Harutyunyan’s party deputies.