Armenians continue to rule out any status for Karabakh within Azerbaijan, new poll finds

As the blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh nears the one month mark, the Caucasus Research Resource Center, in collaboration with the Civilitas Foundation, has published its findings from its latest poll. The poll was conducted between November 15, 2022 and December 2, 2022. It is worth noting that this data was collected before the blockade of the Lachin corridor on December 12, and the cutting of the gas supply to Nagorno-Karabakh.

1502 respondents were polled via telephone, with the report seeking to understand the current perceptions of residents of both Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh towards the role of domestic and international actors in the resolution of the Karabakh conflict, their vision of the future and possible developments, and the relationship between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

When asked, What should start the settlement of the Karabakh conflict? The results were more or less similar. Three areas ranked highest in both Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh – the return of prisoners of war, security guarantees and clarifying the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. But, there were some differences. Amongst respondents in Nagorno-Karabakh, security guarantees polled highest. Meanwhile, amongst respondents in Armenia, the return of prisoners of war ranked highest.

When asked, What status should Nagorno-Karabakh have in order for the conflict to be settled? Respondents in both Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, mainly favored an independent Nagorno-Karabakh republic. In second and third place were unification with Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh being part of Russia under some sort of autonomous status.

Not a single respondent in Nagorno-Karabakh preferred the option of being part of Azerbaijan without autonomy. As for Armenia, only one person mentioned that option.

When asked, On which society does the resolution of the Karabakh conflict depend most? The vast majority of respondents in both Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh said the societies of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Concurrently, a vast majority stated that it did not depend on Azerbaijani society.

When asked, Which countries the settlement of the Karabakh conflict depends on? The two most chosen answers were Armenia and Russia. There were however some notable differences, with respondents in Nagorno-Karabakh giving Russia a much higher score than respondents in Armenia. Meanwhile, respondents in Armenia gave the United States a higher score than in Nagorno-Karabakh.

When quizzed about what steps Armenia should take to settle the Karabakh conflict, the two most chosen responses were strengthening the army and bettering Armenia’s self-reliance. Interestingly, respondents did differ on the prospect of strengthening relations with Russia to settle the conflict, with 30% of respondents in Nagorno-Karabakh, compared to only 11% of respondents in Armenia, calling for better ties with Moscow.

When asked, how positively or negatively does the participation of the Russian Federation in the settlement of the Artsakh conflict affect the interests of Armenia and Artsakh? Over 72% of Karabakh Armenians viewed Russia’s participation as positive with regards to Nagorno-Karabakh’s interests. Conversely, only 38% of respondents in Armenia believed the same with regards to Nagorno-Karabakh’s interests.

Similarly, the effect of Russia’s intervention on Armenia’s interests saw 56% of Nagorno-Karabakh residents view this as positive, while the figure drops to 24% amongst respondents in Armenia.

When asked, Which forces can best ensure the security of the current borders and population of Nagorno-Karabakh? Respondents in Nagorno-Karabakh favored the Russian peacekeeping contingent and the Karabakh Defense Army. Meanwhile, respondents in Armenia favored the Armenian Armed Forces.

When asked, vast majority of respondents in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh considered the populations of Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan to be unready for peaceful coexistence.

Finally, Nagorno-Karabakh residents were asked, Would you continue living in Nagorno-Karabakh under the five following scenarios, the majority of respondents said ‘no’ to broad autonomy within Azerbaijan, being within Azerbaijan but under Russian peacekeeper control, de facto independence within Azerbaijan, and joint Armenian-Azerbaijan administration. Over 90% however answered in the affirmative to being part of Russia under some sort of special status.

The full report is available here.