Earlier this week, Armenia Prime Minister and Azerbaijan’s President, under the auspices of Russia, signed an agreement to end the military conflict over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. The deal took effect on Tuesday 01:00 local time.

Yet, the two sides couldn’t have reacted more differently to the peace agreement. 

In Baku, Azerbaijan, the mood was jubilant. Crowds surged around “Marty’s Alley” the memorial for Azerbaijan’s fallen. They waved flags and sang the national anthem. Many younger Azeris whose parents had been forced out of Nagorno-Karabakh following the disastrous 1994 war, are preparing to return to a homeland they’ve never seen.  

In stark contrast, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called the deal “incredibly painful both for me and both for our people.” In Yerevan, the Armenian capital, the local media reported that a large crowd had gathered to protest against the agreement. The crowd broke into the parliament and other government buildings, shouting “We will not give it up.” Protesters also ransacked the prime minister’s official residence and Pashinyan.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region is internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory but had been administered by ethnic Armenians since the 1994 war that resulted in a clear Armenian victory.

But this time, in the six weeks of fighting since September, Azerbaijan, with Turkish backing, routed the Armenians. Azerbaijan captured the strategic city of Shushi and was days away from taking the region’s capital of Stepanakert. 

Under the agreement, Azerbaijan will hold onto the areas of Nagorno-Karabakh that it captured during the conflict. Additionally, Armenia has agreed to withdraw from several other adjacent areas over the next few weeks.

Putin and the Russian government are hailing this as a huge political victory for Russia.