might play a role in mediating between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The prime minister, a Karabakh native and hard-liner, broke with the president, as did the ministers of defense and security, and Ter-Petrosian’s bloc in parliament unraveled.

The acting president promises the March elections will be free and fair. He is expected to run.

Russia’s role is ambiguous. While urging Ter-Petrosian toward the flexibility that cost him his job, Russia also organized massive, clandestine arms transfers that strengthened the will as well as the capabilities of Armenia’s armed forces. Following Ter-Petrosian’s resignation, Boris Yeltsin in Moscow said Armenia is "a part of Russia’s strategic field of interest. It is an Orthodox country. Under no circumstances can we afford to lose Armenia, and we won’t lose it." Neither Muslim Azerbaijan nor independent Armenia will take comfort in that remark.


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