This is what it's all about - attempts to contain the Russian Federation, and this has been practiced by the West since the fall of the Soviet Union. Thus, we can place Russia's saber rattling as of late, as well as General Yuri Baluyevsky's comments about a nuclear defense, within this geopolitical context. Whether its anti-missile defense, NATO expansion, or support for anti-government forces in the Russian Federation, the behind the scenes attempts by the West to isolate, contain and/or undermine Russian sovereignty has been the West's worst kept and, in my opinion, its un-erasable stain. Why is this being attempted by the West? As I have stated on many other occasions, the West sees the resource rich massive nuclear power to their east as its number one competitor and main potential threat in the future, more so than China w(hich is more-or-less constrained by its economic dependency on the West) and more so than the Islamic threat (which in reality does not exist). However, having crushed the Chechen insurgency, having virtually monopolized the entire gas/oil distribution of the Eurasian continent, an increasingly assertive Moscow is well back into the game. Having broken the shackles of the 1990s, Russia today is aggressively reestablishing itself as a global power. Are we headed towards an eventual clash between East and West? All the indicators suggests, yes. Why should Armenians care about Russia's well being? Needless to say, the reasons are many. Besides the fact that Armenia's existence as a viable power in the Caucasus does not serve the interests of the West, it is crucially important to have a multi-polar world, a true balance of powers. Nonetheless, I also believe that without a powerful Russia in the picture, the chances of Armenian survival in the Caucasus is virtually none existent.
Russia concerned over NATO military buildup around its borders
Russia is concerned over NATO's expansion, which is aimed at building up its military potential around Russian borders rather than strengthening European security, the foreign minister said on Wednesday. Russia has been unnerved by NATO's eastward expansion and recent U.S. plans to deploy missile defense elements in Poland and the Czech Republic. "We are certain that the geographical expansion of NATO cannot be justified by security concerns," Sergei Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow. "But it is clear that NATO is building up its military potential around our borders and its new members continue to increase their defense budgets," he said. Lavrov said NATO's "open-door" policy has been inherited from the Cold War and can only antagonize relations with Russia. "This policy cannot resolve any security problems," the minister said. NATO has signaled its backing for the recent bids by Russia's former Soviet allies, Georgia and Ukraine, to join the alliance, a move that has infuriated Moscow. The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that the country would have to take "appropriate measures" if Ukraine were to join NATO. An additional problem overshadowing cooperation between Russia and NATO is the bloc's refusal to ratify an updated version of the Soviet-era Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE), aimed at regulating the deployment of non-nuclear weapons on the continent. Russia imposed in December last year a unilateral moratorium on the arms reductions treaty, which the West regards as a cornerstone of Euro-Atlantic security, and said it would resume its participation in the treaty only after NATO countries ratify the document.
In related news:
Russia to respond 'appropriately' to Ukrainian NATO membership
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that the country would have to take "appropriate measures" if Ukraine were to join NATO. A Ukrainian government letter to the NATO chief, setting out the country's bid to join an action plan to gain membership of the Western military alliance, was published in Kiev last week. "Ukraine's possible integration into NATO will exacerbate Russian-Ukrainian relations in many areas. We will have to take appropriate measures in response," the ministry said. Ukrainian Prime Minster Yulia Tymoshenko was quoted by the government's press service as saying on Saturday that the decision on whether to join NATO would "be taken exclusively by the Ukrainian people through a nationwide referendum." The majority of Ukrainians have so far opposed the idea of joining the alliance. Meanwhile, the opposition Party of Regions pledged to continue blocking parliamentary work in protest at the government's move to seek membership of NATO. Russia has been unnerved by NATO's eastward expansion and recent U.S. plans to deploy missile defense elements in Poland and the Czech Republic. In particularly strident language, although not marking a change from earlier stated policies, the Chief of the Russian General Staff, Gen. Yury Baluyevsky, told a conference at the Academy of Military Sciences in Moscow on Saturday that: "the Armed Forces will be used to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia and its allies, including preventative action, and including the use of nuclear weapons." An overwhelming 77% of residents in another former Soviet republic, Georgia, also voted in favor of joining the NATO military alliance at a referendum on January 5.
Some 77% Georgians vote to join NATO
Some 77% of the Georgian population voted for joining NATO, the Georgian Central Elections Commission (CEC) said in its official report on Friday. Russia Army chief: Russia may use nuclear weapons if necessary. The CEC confirmed the final result of the vote counting on the referendum on Georgia’s accession to NATO, that was held on Jan. 5 in parallel to the Georgian Presidential Elections, the Interfax news agency reported. The plebiscite participants were to answer the question: “Do you support Georgian accession to NATO?” A referendum for an early parliamentary elections this spring was also held on Jan. 5. An affirmative answer was given by 79.74%.
Armed forces will be used if necessary, including preventively and with the use of nuclear weapons, for the protection of Russia and its allies, the Russian Armed Forces’ Chief of the General Staff Yuri Baluyevsky said on Saturday. “We do not intend to attack anybody. But all our partners must realize that for protection of Russia and its allies if necessary armed forces will be used, including preventively, including with the use of nuclear weapons,” Baluyevsky was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying at a scientific conference of the Academy of Military Sciences. With the emergence of new threats to security, Russia needs to update a number of provisions in the existing National Security Concept, Baluyevsky said. “As life is ever-changing, it has become necessary today to update certain provisions of the concept and, what is the most important, to turn these provisions into a working mechanism for protecting our national security,” he said.
Baluyevsky’s speech came a day after Georgia announced some 77% of the Georgian population voted for joining NATO in a recent referendum. Georgia’s possible entry into NATO will seriously change the regional geostrategic situation, Nikolai Bordyuzha, general secretary of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), said on Friday. “Georgia’s membership in NATO means that the military infrastructure of the alliance will advance closer to the CSTO borders and that there will be higher military activity directly outside the external borders of the organization’s zone of responsibility,” he said. “This will in itself inevitably provoke stronger instability and unpredictability that will jeopardize the CSTO’s zone of responsibility,” Bordyuzha said. The seven-member CSTO was renamed in October 2002 on the basis of the Collective Security Treaty (CST), which was signed in Mary 1992 within the framework of the commonwealth of Independent States. The current members of the CSTO include Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Russia and Uzbekistan.