In Armenia-Azerbaijan peace deal, Putin applied a new deft touch

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On the road to the Stepanakert military college now housing the Russian command, Vladik Khachatryan, 67, of Armenian origin, said there was a rumor circulating around Stepanakert that gave him hope for the future. .

“Soon we will get Russian passports,” he said. “We will not be able to survive without Russia.”

In front of the Stepanakert market, in room 6 of Nver Mikaelyan’s hotel, a brown blood stain still covered the sheets more than a week after the end of the war. The boxers and towels of the last guests in the room hung on the headboards, pierced by the shards of the Azerbaijani bomb that struck in October.

Echoing other ethnic Armenians in the region, Mikaelyan said he sees a clear path to lasting peace: Nagorno-Karabakh becoming part of Russia. The idea seems exaggerated, but it has been started by politicians in Russia and Nagorno-Karabakh over the years, but not by Mr Putin.

“What else should we do?” Mr Mikaelyan asked, after taking another look at the hotel room door, the TV ripped off the wall, the blood trails still stuck to the third floor. “The European Union is doing nothing. The Americans are doing nothing.

Anton Troianovski reported from Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Carlotta Gall from Baku, Azerbaijan.

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