Russia Cannot Afford to Lose Armenia - December, 2010

Finally! The Armenian vice president of the Russian Academy for Geopolitical Issues is reported to have claimed recently that in the event of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Russia could not afford not to support Armenia (see corresponding news article posted below this commentary).

This is the kind of political activism I mean when I say Armenians, Russian-Armenians in particular, need to get proactive about promoting Armenia's national interests with senior level Kremlin officials. While Russian officials fully recognize the strategic value of a pro-Moscow Armenia in the Caucasus, it is ultimately our task as Armenians to continue driving this point across in Moscow. 

It is ultimately our task to turn Armenia's geostrategic interests into institutionalized formulations within the highest echelons of power in the Kremlin. Needless to say, we also need to work on becoming fully integrated into the Russian Federation's single customs union. Armenia is too isolated, too barren and too small for the Armenian. Armenia desperately needs direct access to a large playing field to reach its potential. Stretching virtually from the Pacific to the Atlantic and with a population numbering well over a hundred million, the Russian Federation is just that field.

Let's face it, on many levels, entering the European Union is not a reality for our landlocked, small and impoverished republic surrounded by hostile nations in the volatile Caucasus. We are fooling ourselves if we think that the European Union is coming to the Caucasus. Not only are Europeans NOT ready to adopt a very troubled and backward child like the Caucasus, I don't even think we Armenians are quite ready to become "westerners" just yet. Armenia's current geopolitical reality dictates that for the foreseeable future our nation's political affiliations, priorities and inclinations will have to remain Russocentric. More importantly,
we need to make a concerted/strategic effort to integrate our national interests with that of the Kremlin's. 


Instead of pathetically crying at the feet of corrupt Western leaders, Armenians should instead be embarking on a pan-national agenda to promote Armenian national interests within Moscow.

What has our decades long silly fetish of kissing Western asses have gotten us Armenians other than lip service and Western support for Turks and Azeris?
With proper planning, effort and some time Armenians can be in Russia what Jews are in the United States. Russian-Armenians have all the elemental prerequisites for becoming an integral part of the Kremlin already fully in place. We have in Russia a numerically large and affluent diaspora. This diaspora also maintains strong ties to the Armenian state and it is well placed within all layers of Russian society. 


As a matter of fact, not only are Armenians well represented in business circles in the Russian Federation, they are also well represented in its government, military-industrial-complex, news media, finance, entertainment industry, institutions of higher learning and the arts. The Russian-Armenian community is not only the largest Armenian diaspora - it is also the most successful. Considering the inherent capabilities and potential of our diaspora in Russia, it is my opinion that we are not doing merely enough to better utilize our strategic/human assets there. Sadly, in this regard, we don't have any farsighted leaders and the priorities of the rest of our diaspora seems to be grossly misplaced. We are wasting too much of our limited resources in Washington - the very capitol of global corruption and the very nest of anti-Armenian vipers.
 

It's high time for diasporan Armenians (particularly the Armenian-American diaspora) to once and for all wake-up from their cozy slumber and reassess their failed policies and antiquated modus operandi. 

Alexander Khramchikhin, the director of the Moscow based Institute for Political and Military Analysis, is reported to have recently said that an attack on Armenia means an attack on Russia, referring to a possible invasion of Armenia by Turkey and/or Azerbaijan. Moreover, the head of Russian Presidential Administration, Sergei Naryshkin, was in Yerevan to hold meetings recently (see corresponding news articles posted below). Typical of all high level Russian officials that travel to Armenia on a regular basis, Naryshkin also paid an official visit to the Armenian Genocide memorial complex.  

In these time of great political uncertainty, Moscow has gone out of its way to express its commitment to Armenia's well-being and self-defense. In my opinion, the gestures and statements emanating out of Moscow recently is basically meant to draw a clear line in the sand. With tensions high throughout the region in question, Russia is essentially marking its territory in the strategic Caucasus. Against the backdrop of an increased Russian military presence in southern Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Moscow has also been increasing its military presence in Armenia.

I'm of the opinion that the global community is currently preparing for a major international conflict and various front-line nations are being made to choose sides. Major wars usually follow major economic downturns and significant geopolitical shifts. We currently have the ever deepening global economic crisis and we have had significant geopolitical shifts in various geographic theaters. It's only a matter of time before we find ourselves in another world war. And, as usual, all that will be required is for a small spark to set it all into motion. I'm afraid this is where we seem to be heading today. There are several geopolitical hot-spots across the world that have the potential of exploding into an international conflict, and the Caucasus just happens to be one of the major ones.


If or when the region descends into a major global confrontation, Yerevan needs to start thinking about the annexation of at least certain parts of Georgia and/or the establishment of a common border with Russia via Azerbaijan. We simply cannot continue trusting or tolerating Armenia's lifeline in the hands of others, especially when the others in question are known to be our enemies or are ones that openly collaborate with our enemies. Moreover, promoting absurd fairytales like "democratic values" in Armenia and the equally misleading "fight against corruption" or making peace with Armenia's enemies are in fact stunting Armenia's growth.

The Armenian republic's main problem is not its so-called oligarchs (every nation, including Western nations have them). Armenia's main/fundamental problem is the geopolitical neighborhood it finds itself in.
This geographical problem has to be fixed first before we are able to fix other problems. If our newly independent republic is to have a chance in the 21th century, it will somehow
need to remake its surrounding neighborhood. Let's not fool ourselves here, even if our gluttonous/criminal oligarchs suddenly turned into sweet little angels overnight, as long as Armenia remains a small and landlocked nation in the Caucasus, it will remain poor, underdeveloped and threatened.

A self-respecting patriotic leadership's task is not to simply provide its subjects with the means for survival for today, a serious governing body meticulously plans for the future - and Armenia's future simply has to envision gaining a direct and unhindered access to the Black Sea and/or establishing a land corridor with the Russian Federation.  


Unfortunately, for a nation living in the Caucasus, these are the only two options we have if we are to expect Armenia to be a normal and self-sustaining nation one day. Without the aforementioned two prerequisites for creating a viable nation with good future prospects, we can only expect Armenia to remain an embattled Third-World nation constantly begging the global community for handouts.  

Arevordi
December, 2010

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Russia Cannot Afford to Lose Armenia


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Vice President of the Russian Academy for Geopolitical Issues, Araik Sarkisyan talked about the possible aggravation of the situation in the South Caucasus. He was hinting on the possibility of starting military hostilities in Karabakh. Sarkisyan thinks that Russia should support Armenia because if it does not do so it will lose the South Caucasus as well as Northern Caucasus up to Tatarstan and Bashkortostan. The Russian Academy vice President of Armenian origin paints an apocalyptic picture for Russia if it does not support Armenia. Sarkisyan thinks that losing Karabakh is not in Russia’s interests as then radical Islam will be flourishing at Russia’s Southern borders, while Armenia itself should rely only on its own strength as nobody will sacrifice their lives apart from Karabakh and Armenian soldiers.

Source: http://www.messenger.com.ge/issues/2244_november_29_2010/2244_econ_three.html

Khramchikhin: Attack on Armenia would also mean attack on Russia

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Attack on Armenia would also mean attack on Russia, Alexander Khramchikhin, Director of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis (IPMA), told Svobodnaya Pressa describing a possible invasion of Turkey or Azerbaijan into Armenia. According to the expert, Russian military bases deployed in Gyumri and Yerevan “guarantee Armenia’s security in case of war not only against Azerbaijan but also Turkey”, Yerkramas newspaper said. “If we attack Turkey, it will be war against NATO. However, we will never attack Turkey, it is clear. And if Turkey attacks Armenia and we have to save Armenia, it will be Russia’s and Armenia’s war against Turkey. NATO will not get involved in that war if only we do not start razing Turkey to the ground with strategic arms,”Alexander Khramchikhin said.

Source: http://www.aysor.am/en/news/2010/12/07/armenia-turkey-russia/

Russia Attaches Much Importance to Cooperation With Armenia

President Serzh Sargsyan today received Head of Russian Presidential Administration, Sergei Naryshkin, President’s press office reports. Serzh Sargsyan stressed that Armenian-Russian high-level relations develop intensively, Russia and Armenia successfully continue political dialogue, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s state visit to Armenia in August further boosted Armenian-Russian ties. “I attach much importance to cooperation between the Presidential Administrations and to their functions. I hope direct ties between subdivisions of the Administrations will give a possibility to more efficiently control presidential instructions and to raise efficiency of our activities,” President Sargsyan said. According to the President, though both Armenia and Russia face post-crisis problems, commodity circulation between the two countries has increased 12 percent this year. The Head of Russian Presidential Administration expressed hope that cooperation between Russian and Armenian Presidential Administrations will promote development of Armenian-Russian relations. “For sure, Russia also attaches importance to strategic partnership with Armenia,” Naryshkin stated.

Source: http://www.aysor.am/en/news/2010/11/29/narishkin-president/

Russia Appreciates Strategic Partnership With Armenia

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Russia appreciates the strategic partnership with Armenia and highly values the development of economic and humanitarian relations, the head of the Administration of the Russian President Sergey Naryshkin said in Yerevan on Monday after having talks with the Armenian president Serge Sargsian. “Russia and Armenia share the same views on key international issues,” Naryshkin noted. He added that frequent meetings between the Russian and Armenian presidents set a positive tone and incentive for the development of further relations.


Head of RF President’s Administration visited Armenian Genocide Memorial

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On November 19, during his working visit to Armenia, Head of RF President’s Administration Sergey Naryshkin visited Armenian Genocide Memorial Tsitsernakaberd. Russian diplomat laid a wreath at the Genocide Memorial, then accompanied by Director of Armenian Genocide Museum Hayk Demoyan visited the museum and familiarized himself with the exhibits and testimonies of the first Genocide in the 20th century. Naryshkin left a note in the honorary guest book. “I bow my head before the victims in the national tragedy of the Armenian people. The memorial leaves an indelible impression. Here, one can deeply realize what trials Armenian people endured and courageously revived their native land. I wish success and prosperity to fraternal Armenia,” the Russian official stated in the note.

Source: http://news.am/eng/news/39699.html

Armenia, Russia to launch satellites?

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At their November 18 meeting, Igor Shchegolev, RF Minister of Communications and Mass Media, and Manuk Vardanyan, RA Minister of Transport and Communications, discussed prospects of Armenian-Russian cooperation. On its official website, the RF Ministry of Communications and Mass Media reports that Minister Igor Shchegolev reminded the Armenian side of a recent bilateral agreement on reduced roaming prices with operators. He asked the Armenian side to supervise the implementation of bilateral agreements. The sides also underlined the importance of developing Armenian-Russian cooperation in postal service and special communication. The sides focused on Armenia’s possible involvement in satellite communication projects. Minister Shchegolev pointed out the importance of assessing cooperation prospects for attracting commercial companies and government-financed operators. The Russian minister pointed out the need for specifying the means of communication the Armenian side is interested in – communication, special communication, Tv, mobile communication, Internet.


Source: http://news.am/eng/news/38693.html

CSTO War Games in 2011 Will be Held in Armenia

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Armenia will host the war games of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in October 2011, Armenia’s National Security Council Secretary Arthur Baghdasaryan has said. This decision was made in the framework of the CSTO summit held in Moscow on December 10. The motivation of the decision is the fact that Armenia is one of the active participants in creating the rapid reaction forces of the CSTO, Mr. Baghdasaryan added. The CSTO has a 20,000-strong army of rapid reaction forces which include armed forces, police, national security and the subdivisions of the ministries of emergency situations of the CSTO member states, Tert.am reports. “We were able to achieve progress in this context: the decision making rules and the rules of using rapid reaction subdivisions were clarified,” Baghdasaryan said. Further, he said that relevant amendments were introduced to the CSTO charter. These amendments will make it possible to facilitate the process of obtaining military equipments and armament within the CSTO member states. It was also stated by the CSTO charter that the members states should, when necessary, support other CSTO members in case of military threat of aggression against any of them. CSTO member states are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.

Source: http://times.am/2010/12/13/csto-war-games-in-2011-will-be-held-in-armenia/

Putin: Russia is traditionally major trade partner for Armenia

Russia is traditionally a major trade and economic partner for Armenia, Russian Prime Minister said. “Even in the crisis year of 2009, the amount of Russian investments to Armenian economy reached $2,8 billion. Our enterprises effectively work at the Armenian market and we are thankful to the Armenian authorities for creating favorable conditions for the operation of Russian companies,” Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. President Sargsyan said for his part that a large number of joint projects, specifically construction of a new power generating unit of the Metsamor NNP and expansion of railway communication, are being successfully implemented along with increasing volume of investments and bilateral trade, the presidential press office reported.

Source: http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/world/news/56951/Putin_Russia_is_traditionally_major_trade_partner_for_Armenia

Martin Sargsyan: Russia major strategic investor for Armenia

Russia is a major strategic investor for Armenia, chairman of the RA Chamber of Industry and Commerce said. “Since 2005, Armenia’s import from Russia has increased fourfold, exceeding UDS 1billion. Export to Russia has grown twice,” Martin Sargsyan said during an Armenian-Russian business forum on December 6. “Armenia exports natural juices, mineral water and brandy. Equipment, machinery, spares, furniture and paper are imported,” he said. “There is huge potential for development of bilateral relations, including exchange of information and creation of a common system of goods assessment.” The turnover between Armenia and Russia totaled USD 793 313 in January-September 2010. Import made USD 118 659 while import was USD 674 653.

Source: http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/economy/news/57935/Martin_Sargsyan_Russia_major_strategic_investor_for_Armenia

Russia still considering to include Armenia in single customs union

Russia did not reject the idea to include Armenia in a single customs union. A single customs code has been functioning in the territory of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan since June 1, 2010 based on agreement signed in 2007. Works on creation of single customs zone are underway. Vice-President of trade-industrial chamber of Russia Georgiy Petrov spared no efforts to praise the newly created union at the Russian-Armenian business forum held in Yerevan. Despite Armenia received no direct invitation to join the union, Petrov implied Armenia’s joining the union will be advantageous for the country. “Customs union with single customs tariffs and single customs code is not directed against anyone. This customs code is more liberal than the previous one functioning in Russia,” he added.


Source: http://news.am/eng/news/40587.html

G. Petrov: Russian, Armenian regions should develop ties

Russia will host a major business forum in 2011, to be attended by Russian and Armenian governors, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Armenia Vyacheslav Kovalenko stated at the Armenian-Russian business forum today adding that the forum will also host exhibition of Armenian goods. “These initiatives aim to intensify horizontal ties between the regions,” Kovalenko said. According to Deputy Chairman of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Georgy Petrov, trade relations between Russia and Armenia are strong and stable. He said that the economic crisis affected trade turnover between the two countries but they expect restoration of the former volume in 2013. G. Petrov suggested changing trade structure to reduce dependence on external factors. Petrov stressed necessity of developing ties between Armenian and Russian regions.

Source: http://www.aysor.am/en/news/2010/12/06/armenia-russia-forum3/

The first Russian-Armenian inter-regional exhibition of industrial innovations to take place in march 2011 in Armenia

The first Russian-Armenian exhibition of industrial innovations will take place in March 2011 in Armenia in the frames of Russian-Armenian forum, said the Head of Representation Office of “Rossotrudnichestvo” (Russian Cooperation) Victor Krivopuskov during the seminar “Innovation policy and commercialization of the results of scientific activity”. “The exhibition of industrial innovations will allow to make drastic changes in mutual cooperation in 2011”, said Krivopuskov. Today more than 70 Russian companies make deliveries of goods and services in Armenia, of which about 30 work in the frames of agreement with Armenian regions and 20 – develop these relations by state support from Russia and Armenia. Companies working on innovation basis will participate in the exhibition which will play a great role in innovation development in Armenia, particularly in the sphere of small and medium-sized business development. Krivopuskov said that Russian-Armenian Center of Innovation Cooperation received already 50 applications, of which 15 is selected and nine have been already reviewed and submitted to the high management bodies for approval. “This mechanism will promote monitoring, development and advancement of innovation projects in Armenia up to the phase of commercialization”, he said. Foreign trade turnover of Armenia with Russia increased by 10.6% in January-October 2010 compared with 2009 making 793.3 million US dollars.

 Source: http://www.arka.am/eng/economy/2010/12/07/22870.html


In related news:


Russia Ratifies Regional Security Force Agreement


The State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, on Wednesday ratified an agreement establishing a rapid reaction force for the regional security group. The Collective Security Treaty Organization's (CSTO) rapid reaction force is designed to improve the security of the CSTO member states against existing and potential threats, including terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, and natural disasters, and to enhance the organization's role in ensuring international security. The CSTO is comprised of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Iran, India, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status. The Collective Rapid Reaction Force (CRRF) staged a two-week military exercise in southern Kazakhstan in October 2009 with more than 7,000 troops from Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan taking part.

Source: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20101208/161688635.html

CIS chiefs of staff want military integration


The chiefs of the CIS general staffs on Friday spoke in favor of the integration of the national armed forces of the organization's member states, the chief of Russia's General Staff, Army Gen. Nikolai Makarov said. "All participants noted the necessity of building their national armies on integration principles within the commonwealth," Makarov said after a meeting with his CIS counterparts. The CIS, or Commonwealth of Independent States, is a loose association of former Soviet republics. It consists of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. Georgia pulled out of the organization in 2009. Seven member states are part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a post-Soviet security bloc.

Source: http://en.rian.ru/exsoviet/20101203/161615698.html

Georgia Blows Bubbles With Armenia’s Gas

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On November 24, volumes of gas supplied to Armenia, declined. Currently, gas is supplied via 700 mm diameter pipeline, the maximum capacity of which is 4.5 million cubic meters a day. However, during winter period gas consumption dramatically increase, making at least 6 million cubic meters a day, which can only be provided by a 1200 mm diameter gas pipeline. Thus, Armenia receives 1.5 million cubic meters a day, less gas than needed. NEWS.am reporter tried to find out at ArmRosGazprom, when Armenia will start receiving necessary amount of gas and what is causing the reduction of supply. The Public Relations department said that Georgia’s gas transporting company is conditioning reduction in supplies by pipeline repair works without specifying any possible time frame for completion of these works. ArmRosGazprom refused to give other comments.


So we were not able to find out in what section of the gas pipeline the accident occurred. Taking into account the work style of the Georgian company, we would not be surprised if it turns out that they did not consider it necessary to even notify their Armenian partner. Independent expert Alexander Aramyan said that one week is sufficient to eliminate even the most serious accidents, but it is already the 8th day that the gas pipeline is not operational. According to the expert, Tbilisi spread misinformation on an accident. “There is no accident, or the Georgian side is not actively working to fix it. In all likelihood, Georgia once again tries to use the pipeline to put pressure on Armenia”, Aramyan told NEWS.am reporter.


It is likely that this pressure is connected with Georgia’s intention to sell the pipeline to the Azerbaijani gas company. This coincided with the Georgian Energy Minister Alexander Khetaguri’s visit to Baku on November 30, where he held talks with the Azeri SOCAR company. SOCAR president Rovnag Abdullayev once again reminded the Georgian minister, his readiness to buy Georgian section of the north - south pipeline, which supplies gas to Armenia. It is noteworthy that this section of the pipeline does not promise significant economic dividends. Georgia gets only 10% of the gas supplied to Armenia in exchange for transit from Russia. It is also possible that Georgia wants to raise the transit fare, perhaps, taking the example of Belarus. However, existing transit tariff is already high, it accounts on international prices. Anyhow, Georgia is blowing another bubble, lying about the accident on the pipeline. Unfortunately, these bubbles are inflated with Armenia’s gas, disregarding the interests of the Armenian consumers.

Source: http://news.am/eng/news/40224.html

Georgia should sell section of Armenia-Russia gas pipeline to Yerevan, MP says

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If Georgia really considers Armenia a friendly state, it should sell section of Armenia-Russia gas pipeline, passing through its territory, to Yerevan, Shirak Torosyan, head of Javakhk union, Republican party MP told NEWS.am. “If the pipeline is sold to not to Russian or Armenian but Azerbaijani company, taking into account principle of presumption of innocence, it is supposed to be just a business project that Azerbaijani want to realize. However, I doubt it,” he noted. In case the pipeline is sold to Azerbaijan, the country will try to pose obstacles to Armenia’s gas supply. “They will have problems with Russia as a supplier. If Georgian side creates additional problems for us and bears obstacles to our gas supply, it should be regarded as enmity of one country towards another,” he added. State Oil Company of Azerbaijan intends to purchase section of the Armenia-Russia gas pipeline passing through Georgia’s territory. Company has already applied to the owner - Georgian gas company.

Source: http://news.am/eng/news/38108.html

Georgia Concerned Over Russian Military Equipments In Armenia: Wikileaks

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Georgia is concerned over increased military supplies from Russia to Armenia, according to a US diplomatic cable unveiled by WikiLeaks. "Georgia too is concerned over the increase of military supplies from Russia to Armenia planned for 2010, first of all by the transportation of aircrafts," read the cable by John Bass, the US Ambassador to Georgia. "Though Georgia continues to maintain good relations with Armenia, it doesn't think that Armenia may use those supplies independently." Further it said that Tbilisi is concerned that the military supplies meant for aircrafts may be used not by Armenia's air force, but rather by the Russian forces deployed in Armenia. Armenia's second largest city of Gyumri hosts the Russian 102nd Military Base which is part of the Transcaucasian Group of Forces of the Russian Federation. During Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Armenia in August this year Russia signed a defense pact with Armenia that extended Russia's lease of the military base in Gyumri from 25 to 49 years up to 2044. "Georgia is concerned that armaments meant for aircrafts may be used not by the country's army but rather by the Russian forces in Armenia," read the documents. It also said that at the same time such deliveries of armaments may disrupt the existing arms balance in Karabakh and may further be used to "exert pressure on Georgia from the south in case the conflict with Russia resumes."

Source: http://www.tert.am/am/

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