Dashnak Leader Blasts Russia - December, 2009

Reading the following "Radio Liberty" news articles felt like taking a stroll through absurdistan... Radio Liberty, in essence a CIA entity that hosts an Armenian department (run by an ARF-er incidentally) has the audacity to call the ARF a "traditionally pro-Russian party"?! A party that is penetrated by the CIA at all levels, for many decades, is now a "traditionally pro-Russian" party according to Radio Liberty... This what they call 'disinformation' in intelligence circles. Anyway, apparently the ARF has some complaints about Mother Russia. Let's take close a look at the core element of the complaint at hand - "a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) accused Russia on Tuesday of acting against the national interests of Armenia, Moscow’s closest regional ally, in its growing dealings with Turkey and Azerbaijan"

Well, it is no secret that Russia is using its growing influence in the Caucasus to strengthen its ties with Azerbaijan and Turkey. Naturally, this is in Moscow's interests. However, let's put things straight here. According to Western sources, Baku's main arms suppliers for the past twenty somewhat years has been Ukraine, Germany, Turkey, Israel and America. Russia recently agreed to sell some transport helicopters to Baku. Moscow has sporadically sold various other military hardware to Baku in the past as well; but Moscow has not been a major arms supplier to Azerbaijan, nor is it now. Simply put, with various political obstacles removed from the Caucasus Moscow is now simply attempting to secure all parameters of its relationship with Yerevan, Baku and Ankara.

Generally speaking, nations do not sell arms to nations that they consider enemy states. It's that simple. Does the ARF think that Baku and Moscow, or Ankara and Moscow, were combatants? It is well known that while Moscow does not have an overt military presence in Nagorno Karabagh it has maintained a strategically important early warning radar complex in Azerbaijan since the Soviet collapse. Moreover, Moscow has had a very lucrative economic relationship with Turkey. Russian-Turkish relations is nothing new. It's bad enough for Azeris and Turks that due to Moscow's presence in the Caucasus both Baku and Ankara realize that Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh are off limits for them, but why should Moscow not have any dealings with Ankara or Baku? What sense would that make for the Kremlin?

There is no need for Armenians to be this insecure or this paranoid. Bolsheviks are not running the show in the Kremlin anymore. Regardless of what occurs between Moscow and Baku/Moscow and Ankara, Armenia will continue being a vitally important strategic gate in the southern Caucasus for our northern ally. Russian policy makers in the Kremlin fully realize that Armenia is their last front against Turkic, Islamic and NATO expansion in the south Caucasus. However, even if Moscow was a major arms supplier to Baku, so what? Governments will sell arms to essentially whoever has the cash. The US has sold military technology to China. The US supplies massive amounts of arms to Saudi Arabia and Egypt - Israel's enemies. Who in their right mind would claim that because Washington provides massive amounts of arms to Egypt and Saudi Arabia it is not an ally of Israel? Moreover, recently Israel agreed to sell Russia, a nation that arms and protects Syria and Iran against Israel, some of its state-of-the-art aerial drones...

And this was just in the news -

Here we have the West, NATO in particular, having no problems selling sophisticated military hardware to its one and only competitor and antagonist, the Russian Federation. Will we have Baltic states, Poland, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Georgia, etc., complaining that the West is not their true ally because they are arming the menacing neighbor to their east? Well, being that the Georgians in particular are a people of the Caucasus, hence irresponsible, irrational and shortsighted, they are.

If Moscow did not sell arms to the Azeris the Americans will, the British will, the Turks will, the Israelis will, the Ukrainians will... as they have already been doing. As a matter of fact, I rather see Moscow sell arms to Baku. By selling arms to Azeris Moscow can have even greater influence/leverage over their usage in any future conflict. It is no secret that maintaining the status quo in Nagorno Karabagh is in Moscow's interest. Armenian controlled Artsakh is Moscow's sledge hammer hanging over Turkish/Azeri heads. The only reason why Azerbaijan, or Turkey for that matter, has not attempted to attack Armenia or Artsakh for the past two decades is - Russia.

Official Yerevan should very well be concerned about Moscow's dealings with Ankara and Baku. Of course there can potentially be long term risks for the Armenian state in this regard. Of course Yerevan needs to closely watch the relationship developing between the Kremlin and Turks. More importantly, however, is the dire need for Yerevan to be proactive in the halls of the Kremlin. Let's be in Russia what Jews are in America. We have a real potential to realize this, but first we need to, collectively speaking, comprehend this potential. But to make empty threats or bellicose statements in public against a political entity that sustains you in the volatile Caucasus, silly statements that are not even well thought-out, is utterly irresponsible behavior for our politicians.

I see diplomacy and rational are not very popular amongst ARF circles these days... With that in mind, a little story from the past: An official (I think British) was asked by journalists - why are we selling arms to our enemy? The official replied (I'm paraphrasing) - If we don't sell them arms someone else will. We rather make the money. Besides, we know best what are the capabilities of the arms we are selling them, we can use this knowledge to defeat them if we had to...

Think about this wisdom and then think about the shallow/paranoid comments by our ARF representatives: Russia deals with Baku and Ankara, thus it can't be an ally of Armenia... Silly and amateurish, to say the least. Should Moscow, being Armenia's protectorate in the Caucasus demand that Yerevan stop dealing with Georgia or America or Europe or Iran? Why is it that listening to the ARF talking about geopolitical matters sounds like listening to a couple of shoemakers engaged in a petty street squabble?

An "alliance" essentially means two friendly nations having a formal agreement that entails having support for each other - economically, politically and militarily. Thus, by very definition, Russia is our one and only ally. Considering that we are getting affordable nuclear fuel (just think of its implications), affordable gas/benzine, affordable (often free) military hardware and training, billions of dollars in economic investments, billions of dollars in migrant worker remittances from Russia, official genocide recognition, diplomatic protection in the UN, military protection along the border with Turkey; what more do we want from these people? What else do they need to do to prove to our so-called politicians that they are our one and only ally in this world, hold us by the hand and whisper niceties into our ears? What has our beloved West done for us besides conspire against us with our enemies? What happened to our national pride, our tghamardkayin pativ? What has the millions strong and big talking diaspora done for the Armenian state? Other than renovating a hospital or a school here and there, other than building a little church or a monument here and there, in the big geopolitical picture, what are we Armenians doing for Armenia?

Armenia's relationship with Russia and Armenian attitudes towards Russia is important to me because the safety and prosperity of my little republic in the Caucasus is important to me. Moreover, all my life, from the ARF to the US military, I was essentially taught to hate Russians; and for a long time, I did. Then I grew up and I embraced the real world around me. And that's when I realized that if it wasn't for drunk Ivan deciding to have an adventure in the Caucasus about two hundred years ago our people would still be living stateless today, not much unlike Assyrians, Yezdis or Kurds. I realized that blaming ethnic Russians for the evils of Bolshevism is like blaming the victim for the actions of the criminal. I realize that Armenia simply cannot survive in the Caucasus without Russian support. And finally, I realize that Azerbaijan with US, European, Turkish, Georgian and Israeli support would have successfully attacked Nagorno Karabagh a long, long-long time ago had Russia not been a deterrence factor.

This is the harsh reality: The reason why Armenia has not been invaded by Turkey and Azerbaijan is not our tiny military, nor our big talking diaspora. The real reason why Armenian borders are safe today is - Russia. Listening to our so-called politicians and intellectuals talk has made me come to the hard realization that we need to teach Armenians the basic fundamentals of geopolitics from an early age. We teach our children math, science and literature, but we don't teach them the most important topic on the face of this earth - geopolitics. For thousands of years nation-state have lived and died based on their leadership's understanding of geopolitics. Regardless of how educated, talented and capable we Armenians can be, without a healthy or proper understanding of how the political world revolves, all our positive traits would prove worthless.

Arevordi

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Dashnak Leader Blasts Russia



December, 2009

A leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) accused Russia on Tuesday of acting against the national interests of Armenia, Moscow’s closest regional ally, in its growing dealings with Turkey and Azerbaijan. Vahan Hovannisian, a key member of nationalist opposition party’s ruling Bureau, also chided former President Robert Kocharian, a longtime Dashnaktsutyun ally, for his scornful reaction to the latest verbal attacks from opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian. “I consider Russia’s current role in both Armenian-Turkish and Armenian-Azerbaijani relations to be very dangerous for Armenia,” Hovannisian declared at a news conference. The remark was extraordinary given Dashnaktsutyun’s long-standing support for Armenia’s close political, security and economic ties with Russia as the main instrument of countering Turkish influence in the region. The influential party adopted what many regard as a pro-Russian foreign policy orientation years before the Soviet collapse, when it was still banned in Armenia and had branches only its worldwide Diaspora.

Hovannisian, who also leads Dashnaktsutyun’s faction in the Armenian parliament, did not elaborate on his highly negative assessment of Moscow’s current policies on the region. But he did attack the foreign powers, among them Russia, trying to broker a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh. He said they are seeking to clinch additional concessions from Armenia in an effort to facilitate the ratification by the Turkish parliament of the recently signed Turkish-Armenian agreements. Dashnaktsutyun has condemned the agreements envisaging the normalization of relations between the two historical foes as a sellout. Russia and the West, by contrast, have welcomed them as a ground-breaking development. The Russian support came against the background of Moscow’s deepening cooperation with Ankara focusing on energy.

Hovannisian’s comments coincided with talks held by Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev with his visiting Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, in the Russian city of Ulyanovsk. The two leaders also inaugurated a statue of Aliyev’s late father and predecessor Heydar there. According to the RIA-Novosti news agency, Medvedev touted that as an example of “how to build relations in the post-Soviet space.” “We can calmly and fruitfully discuss political, economic and regional problems,” he said, opening the talks. “If everyone in the world had relations like Azerbaijan and Russia have, there would be no problems in the world,” Aliyev said for his part. He described those relations as “strategic partnership.”

Neither president made any public statements after the meeting held just two days after Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian held face-to-face talks on Karabakh in Munich. The talks were overshadowed by Aliyev’s fresh threats to place Karabakh back under Azerbaijani rule “by military means.” Yerevan responded to that by threatening to formally recognize Karabakh as an independent state. Hovannisian said Sarkisian should have gone farther. “The only right step would have been not going to Munich at all because negotiating under the pressure of a ultimatum is not the right thing,” he said. “If Azerbaijan attacks Artsakh, then I think the top objective must be not [Karabakh’s] recognition but a complete destruction of the Azerbaijani aggressor on the battlefield,” he added.

Turning to domestic politics, Hovannisian agreed with other Dashnaktsutyun leaders’ belief that Ter-Petrosian offered to cut a deal with Sarkisian in his last speech delivered before senior members of his Armenian National Congress (HAK) alliance. In that speech, Ter-Petrosian gave a mostly positive assessment of the Turkish-Armenian agreements and defended the president against harsh criticism from Dashnaktsutyun and other “extreme nationalists.” The HAK leader also denounced Kocharian’s policies on Turkey and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that were strongly backed by Dashnaktsutyun throughout his decade-long presidency.

“The accusations addressed to me are so absurd that there is no point in dwelling on their content because of the complete absence thereof,” Kocharian shot back in a rare statement issued last week. He compared Ter-Petrosian to a scared man whom he said he met during a recent, hitherto unpublicized, safari to Africa. Kocharian said the “European” hunter had been “quite smashed” by a bear several years ago and now flinches at every mention of the animal. Hovannisian found Kocharian’s riposte “inadequate.” “We expected a more serious political response,” said the Dashnaktsutyun leader. “Mr. Kocharian probably wanted to stress his detachment from politics. But when you don’t deal with politics, it comes and deals with you.”

Source: http://www.azatutyun.am/content/article/1886767.html

Dashnaks Explain Criticism Of Russia


A senior lawmaker affiliated with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) on Wednesday elaborated on his party’s unexpectedly strong criticism of Russia’s growing ties with Azerbaijan and Turkey. Vahan Hovannisian, a leader of the traditionally pro-Russian party, said on Wednesday that Moscow’s policies related to the South Caucasus are becoming “very dangerous” for Armenia, its main regional ally. He did not go into details. Hrayr Karapetian, another Dashnaktsutyun leader who heads the Armenian parliament’s committee on defense and security, spoke with alarm about Russia’s deepening military cooperation with Armenia’s two main foes which he said runs counter to a military alliance binding the two nations.

“We also have problems with Russia and other allies. Everything is not going smoothly there. There are facts showing that military cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan which the spirit and letter Collective Security Treaty,” Karapetian told a news conference, referring to a Russian-led defense pact of six former Soviet republics, including Armenia. Karapetian was particularly worried about a plan of joint military activities for next year that was recently signed by the defense ministers of Azerbaijan and Russia. He said, “This makes us wonder, ‘What is the difference between us and Azerbaijan?’ We are a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, Azerbaijan is not. Is it worth deepening military cooperation with a country whose representatives periodically make bellicose statements?” “That [Russian policy] is at least strange and unacceptable to us,” he said. “It contributes to the development of an even more dangerous situation [in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.]”

Karapetian went on to deplore Russian-Turkish military cooperation. Moscow is seeking to forge closer defense links with “a country that still threatens Armenia’s security,” he said. Official Yerevan has not publicly echoed the concerns voiced by Dashnaktsutyun, which was a junior partner in Armenia’s governing coalition until April. President Serzh Sarkisian and other Armenian leader regularly praise the current state of the Russian-Armenian relationship.

Source: http://www.azatutyun.am/content/article/1887444.html

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