Can Armenia exploit Russian actions in the Caucasus? - April, 2012

As war fever grips Washington and Tel Aviv, tensions inside the Kremlin seems to be running very high. For the first time in well over twenty years, the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance and Moscow may be preparing for a war that will inevitably pit them directly against each other. As expected, Western designs over Syria and Iran have solicited strong reactions from Moscow. The escalating unrest in regions adjacent to Russia's vulnerable underbelly is elevating the importance of the already very important geostrategic significance of the Caucasus for Moscow. As wars and political unrests encroach on Russian interests in the region, it is only natural that Moscow would begin to take on a more aggressive political posture. Libya was the pawn Moscow reluctantly gave up in its desperate effort to protect its bishops, Syria and Iran. Russian officials realize that they are in the midst of a high stakes chess game and losing it is something Moscow simply cannot afford at this time. Realizing now that its presence in the strategic region is being directly threatened by the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance and friends, Moscow has finally decided to do away with diplomatic niceties and draw a clear line in the sand.

Although they are not talking about it in public, behind closed doors Western officials are not only alarmed they are also surprised at the amount of power Moscow has retained in the Middle East. Syria and Iran were not to last this long. As suggested in previous blog posts, Tehran and Damascus would have succumbed to outside pressures long ago had it not been for the powerful Russian factor in the region. These conflicts may in fact ultimately prove beneficial for Moscow. Anything short of a total collapse in Tehran or Damascus, Moscow can potentially benefit from. A limited and/or managed conflict in the region will provide Moscow with opportunities it has not enjoyed for decades. For one, as the outward flow of Iranian oil decreases, Moscow's opportunities in filling the void will increase. Moreover, the deeper Moscow gets pulled into the crisis in the Middle Easts, the greater chance it will have to increase its presence in the region. Finally, as warmongers in Washington continue poisoning the world with their "project for a new American century", Moscow can present itself to the global community as an effective antidote. In other words, all this may be providing Moscow with a unique new opportunity to finally create a new ideological calling for itself, something it has been sorely missing for over two decades. Therefore, although certainly cautious in its moves and clearly afraid of unintended consequences, Moscow is nevertheless very carefully positioning its chess pieces for an eventual checkmate.

Georgia may be the first casualty of war

One of the lines Moscow is drawing in the sand may in fact run through Georgia.
As I have been suggesting for some time now, one of the first casualties of a war against Iran may ironically be Georgia. Moscow has clearly signaled that if the shooting begins it will invade Georgia to establish a land-corridor with its military outpost in north-eastern Armenia. Various Western and Israeli sources have been reporting on this Russian threat but the mainstream news press in the West has avoided any mention of it. Several recent news reports following this commentary describe in further detail the military preparations Moscow is currently undertaking in anticipation of a major regional war. For additional information about what has been going on in the region with regards to Syria and Iran, please revisit the following blog posts as well -
Growing tensions in the Caucasus as the West tries to apply the "Libyan Model" to Syria and Iran:

Russian military buildup in Caucasus, Russian anti-terror troops arrive in Syria, Armenia moves closer to Russia:

Political unrest nearing Russia's southern border:

A Call to Arms:
Acting as Moscow's only true ally in the south Caucasus region and enthusiastically hosting a significant Russian military presence on its soil, Armenia today is beginning to play a major role in the Caucasus region's geopolitical life. Armenia has become a crucial base of operations for Moscow, and this has made Yerevan untouchable in the region. In fact, Georgia and Azerbaijan, Armenia's larger and wealthier neighbors, have begun to fear Yerevan. Yerevan's strategic alliance with Moscow has finally placed Armenia on the map. The following quote about the Russian military base in north-eastern Armenia was taken from an English-language Israeli website -
“Military Base 102 is a key point, Russia’s outpost in the South Caucasus,” a Russian military source told the newspaper. “It occupies a very important geopolitical position, but the Kremlin fears lest it should lose this situation.”
It is now becoming increasingly obvious that Moscow is seriously preparing various contingency plans in preparation of a Western/Israeli attack against Iran. The simple fact that Moscow has serious fears concerning its military presence in Armenia implies a lot. There are a lot of implications in this for the small and landlocked republic in the Caucasus, not the least of which is that Moscow will not spare any effort in protecting its strategic presence in Armenia, thereby ensuring Yerevan's survival in that hostile environment. Allied to Moscow, strategically situated in the south Caucasus and straddling the regions of unrest, Armenia will therefore become a major theater of operations once the shooting begins - whether we Armenians want it or not. Therefore, it is better to be prepared and looking for opportunities.

Russian news sources are claiming that military officials in Moscow have been
busy overseeing the procurement of new weapons systems, restructuring military units, stockpiling large amounts of ammunition, deploying large numbers of modern military hardware and special troops into sensitive areas and increasing the frequency and intensity of training exercises. In September of this year one of the largest military exercises in recent years is said to take place in the Caucasus. The following are links to several Russian television reports about the heightened levels of military training Russian forces have been currently undergoing in Armenia -
Armenia (База напряжения) Фор-пост РФ в Гюмри:
Разведчик не остановится ни перед чем:
В три раза больше:

На страже Армении российские летчики:
Although no one is hoping for a war, if a war comes there may be some opportunities in it for Yerevan. I recognize that the fear factor amongst Armenians is high. But sometimes calculated risks need to be taken for the nation's benefit. A war in the region may provide Yerevan with some unique chances to help it finally break out of its current predicaments. But do we Armenians have the backbone or the foresight to take advantage of such opportunities when they present themselves? To be honest, looking at Armenia's past performances is not very encouraging. We Armenians may be hardwired only for survival and we have proven incapable of rallying around our national flag in the absence of a calamity or a war. Moreover, while many Armenians genuinely understand the nature of the current geopolitical climate of the world and they truly appreciate their newly established statehood, there are also significant numbers of Armenians that are in fact a liability for Armenia.

Washington has Armenians chasing their tails

As the world prepares for war, significant numbers of Armenians today are preparing for war against their fledgling state. I have been warning that Washington's many operatives within our communities have been actively
seeding our nation for political unrest. A number of Washington's street whores have been tasked with creating an "Arab Spring" in Armenia. A number of Washingtonian organizations have been disseminating anti-Armenia propaganda throughout the internet. And a number of "panel discussions" in the United States have been calling for chaos and regime change in Armenia. I discussed two such recent gatherings in the following blog post -
As if the previous two propaganda assaults were not damaging enough, another one was held at Fordham University's Lincoln Center Campus in New York City during the evening of March 30. And yet another one will be held again in Saint Leon Church on the evening of April 20. And a big one is being planned for this September -
Some Armenians, like Arabs, seem to love self-destructive behavior. At a time when we Armenians need to be rallying around our state, Washington has our nation's many idiots preparing for a war against Armenia instead. To realize its self-serving political agenda in the Caucasus, Washington is simply doing what it knows best how to do: Manipulate and exploit the idiots of this world. Therefore, when it comes to blaming, I primarily blame our idiots for allowing Washington to exploit them against the Armenian state.

What is it going to take to convince our #&%@ing idiots that
Armenia's many problems are primarily rooted in its geopolitical and geographical situation, and to some extent in Armenian culture itself. The pursuit of "democracy", "human rights", "free and fair elections"... these are all red herrings, diversions intended to grossly mislead our sheeple and make them perennially chase their tails as the nation continues to stagnate. As long as Armenia remains small, remote, landlocked and in an unstable geopolitical environment like the Caucasus, it will continue suffering from severe socioeconomic and sociopolitical problems. Armenia's most pressing problems today have nothing to do with "corruption" or the lack of "democracy". Armenia's most pressing problems today are geostrategic in nature. Armenians seriously need to rewire their thinking with regards to Armenia. Armenians need to begin looking at Armenia not in the terms of how many families are in need of food or money but in terms of how to get the embattled nation freed of its mountainous prison. There is simply no other way to fix Armenia's core problems.

Russia is Armenia's strategic advantage

It is very important for Armenian military commanders to continue maintaining a combat state-of-readiness in Armenia and Artsakh. And it is even more important for Armenian officials to seek ways of becoming a ubiquitous presence within the walls of the Kremlin. While Armenia's military is Yerevan's tactical advantage, Armenia's alliance with Russia must be its strategic advantage.

Yerevan also needs to stop playing footsie with well-dressed reptiles in Washington. Yerevan needs to stick as close to Moscow as possible and Yerevan needs to seriously begin planning national contingency plans of its own. Instead of continuing their reactionary approach with regarding to regional political developments, Armenian officials need to begin taking the initiative for once. As already noted, if the shooting begins, there may be some historic opportunities to exploit. Therefore, Armenian officials need to grow some testicles and start thinking in the long-term - especially since we have the decisive Russian factor on our side. One of the main reasons why Armenia has stagnated for centuries is the simply fact that we Armenians have not had many farsighted leaders who have been courageous enough and nationalistic enough to take certain calculated risks for the long-term benefit of Armenia. We need a patriotic leadership that will think in the long-term. And thinking in the long-term for Armenia simply means thinking about the Black Sea and/or Russian border.

For the first time in well over one thousand years Armenia has increased its size and is closely allied with a major superpower. Against all odds, Armenia has managed to remain independent and victorious. At the end of the day, however, we Armenians must be humble enough and wise enough to recognize that Moscow has helped Yerevan make all this possible. The strategic alliance between Moscow and Yerevan is as genuine as it is historic and it has placed Armenia on the map. Historically and geostrategically, Armenian and Russian interests have been compatible. As long as the Caucasus is threatened by Islamic and/or Turkish influences, Moscow will continue looking at Armenia as a strategic partner. As long as the Caucasus retains its vital geostrategic value for Russia, Moscow will not spare any efforts in protecting Armenia. There are opportunities in all this.

Moscow has problems with NATO, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and various Islamic tribes in the north Caucasus. Moreover, Moscow does not trust Iran either. In this kind of a geopolitical climate, Moscow and Yerevan will be in a political embrace for the foreseeable future. An Armenian even with a half-a-brain should immediately recognize opportunities here. Similar to how Moscow has been effectively exploiting its alliance with Armenia for its benefit, Yerevan must begin exploiting its strategic alliance with Russia for Armenia's benefit. Yerevan needs to stop being passive and begin actively using its alliance with Moscow as a strategic advantage.

There is currently a good opportunity to further deepen and fortify Armenia's strategic ties with Russia. Armenian officials need to use all their available levers to convince their Russian counterparts that it would be better for Russia if they demolished the Russian military's radar installation in Gabala and built a new one in Armenia instead. Besides providing Armenians with an opportunity to work on its construction and maintenance, such projects also serve to further increase the strategic importance of Armenia for Moscow. It's simply a way of deepening the alliance's foundation.

Javakhq is only the first step

Despite the wild fantasies of Washington's "democracy" activists in Yerevan, Armenians must understand that Armenia's main problem today is not its lack of "democracy" or the absence "free and fair elections". Rather, Armenia's primary problem today is geopolitical and geographical. Being that Armenia is small, poor, landlocked, remote and surrounded by hostile nations, we must recognize that there are essentially three ways we can effectively cure Armenia's serious economic aliments: One, physically move the country and place it next to a nation like Germany. Two, extend Armenia's borders to the Black Sea and/or to Russia. Three, pray that Moscow creates Pax Russicana in the Caucasus. Simply put, Armenia needs to break out of its current geographical predicament. Number one is a dream. Number three may be the most practical. But number two would be ideal for Armenia...

When Armenians finally put aside their victim mentalities and stop looking at the political West for any kind of assistance, they may finally come to the realization that for Armenia to truly prosper it must gradually begin formulating a long-term expansionist policy in the Caucasus. Javakhq is one example of where Armenian officials and activists can realistically seek collaboration with their Russian counterparts with hopes of expanding Armenia's border a little further north. It is no secret that we Armenians are a very intelligent people but our intelligence is almost always misplaced and/or misused. We need to learn to apply our intelligence and talents to the strategic benefit of the Armenian state. Let's use our nation's collective powers and human assets to begin convincing Russian officials that a larger Armenia or an Armenia on Russia's borders is in Moscow's strategic interests.

However, there is a catch.
In order to convince Russians that a large and powerful Armenia is in Moscow's strategic interests, Yerevan must first cleanse Armenia of all its Russophobes and it must stop playing footsie with Washington. One of the reasons why Moscow has been somewhat nervous with its dealing with Yerevan is the ominous fact that Armenia's political landscape has been utterly infested by Russophobes in recent years. Consequently, Russian officials would not want risking Armenia to grow too powerful, lest it loses control over Yerevan. Therefore, Kremlin officials have sought to contain all nations in the region, including their ally Armenia. While they have surely ensured Armenia's survival in the south Caucasus, they have nonetheless implemented a policy in the region that keeps all sides weak and in conflict. Simply put, while it treats Armenia as a strategic partner, at the same time Moscow fears that Armenia is vulnerable to Washington's political machinations. The following blog post from several months ago addressing this very worrying topic -
Therefore, as a fundamental first step in alleviating the Kremlin's justified concerns and suspicions with regards to the political maturity of Armenians today, I am calling for a thorough purging of Armenia's dangerous Russophobes and I am calling for deeper collaboration between Armenia and the Russian Federation.

Armenia will eventually need to expand north, north-east and/or northwest. In other words, Armenia needs to reach Russia and/or the Black Sea. Javakhq is only the first stop. Those who still dream about liberating Western Armenia need to realize that the keys to Western Armenia lies in Moscow (and to a lesser extent in Tehran, if the regime there survives). In the meanwhile, Armenians who look forward to Western Armenia's liberation should stop placing hope in some worthless piece of paper being waved around by worthless pro-Western politicians like Ara Papyan.

Azerbaijan is terrified of a Russian-Armenian attack

And they should be. If push comes to shove, that is if Baku decides to go against Moscow's expressed wishes by attacking Artsakh or assisting the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance in attacking Iran, Russian-Armenian troops will be washing their sweaty feet in the Caspian Sea in about a week's time. Azeris know this very well. Baku also realizes that time is in fact not on its side. And all the anti-Armenian hysteria it had been propagating for the past twenty years has now created a situation where Azeri officials feel forced to act. Simply put, Baku is very desperate and we all know that desperation fosters irrationality. To add insult to injury, Baku also realizes that Moscow (and to a lesser extent Tehran) will never favor Azerbaijan over Armenia. Therefore, Baku has been actively searching for willing partners-in-crime. They have found four in their immediate vicinity. Washington, Tel Aviv, Tbilisi and needless-to-say Ankara have been providing Baku with support against Armenia. With this kind of support Baku may be feeling a little emboldened and is thus hoping to create a new reality on the ground when the time is right. It is safe to assume that Baku may be thinking that once major hostilities in the region begins it can take advantage of the situation. In other words, Baku may be hoping for Moscow to be preoccupied with saving Iran and Syria as it makes its move against Artsakh. But the recent military buildup in Russia's Daghestan region is a clear indicator that Moscow sees what Baku's Aliyev is up to.

It was recently reported that Moscow had began building-up its military presence in the north Caucasian Russian republic of Daghestan. Initial reports suggested that this was intended as a measure against foreign-backed Islamic terrorists. This simplistic explanation, however, may not have been the whole story. There is no need for deploying large numbers of army regulars and heavy military hardware such as modern T-90 tanks and multiple rocket launchers in Daghestan - unless there is something else on Moscow's mind. Therefore, it would be safe to assume that the Russian military buildup in Daghestan may actually have a conventional military purpose. The "Argumenty Nedeli" article posted below this commentary suggests that Moscow may in fact be building up its forces in Daghestan to discourage Baku from invading Artsakh this summer.

What Wikileaks released recently can be considered somewhat of a bombshell. The article in question can be found below the commentary. The following is an excerpt -

"When I was in Baku recently, they showed me a 3-D topographic map of Armenia, AZ [Azerbaijan], Nagorno [Karabakh]," the Czech related. "You can see very clearly that once (and if) the Armenians cross over with Russian backing, it is a flat path to Baku. The Russians told them during the Georgia war that Georgia could just be the first stop... pretty direct threat. The Azerbaijanis are terrified of this."

Vaclav Bartuska, Czech envoy according to Wikileaks

Ask yourselves: Why did Moscow threaten Baku with an invasion during the Russian-Georgian war of 2008? What did Baku have to do with Moscow's war against Georgia? In my opinion, this information is additional evidence that Baku was indeed hoping to invade Artsakh if the Western-backed Georgian offensive against South Ossetia succeeded during the summer of 2008. According to various informed sources, including the Washington-based think tank known as Stratfor, when Georgia invaded South Ossetia in early August of 2008, taking advantage of the situation (perhaps hoping that Moscow would be too busy with the situation in South Ossetia and Abkhazia) Baku began preparations to invade Artsakh. The following is a link to the Stratfor article that first reported on Baku's plan to invade Artsakh. I had posted
Stratfor's report in this blog in September of 2008 -

I'd like to convey to the reader a little story that is related to all this.

I was in Yerevan with my family when the war between Russia and Georgia broke out on August 7, 2008. During dinner
with the family of a close friend at a Chinese restaurant on Tumanyan Street on the evening of August 12, I had the great fortune of discovering something that most Armenians to this day do not know anything about. That night I learned that sometime during the first few days of the Russian-Georgian war, Armenian forces in Artsakh were given the green light to carryout a preemptive strike against the Azeri military. While the Russian Bear was mauling Georgia's Western/Turkish/Israeli backed military, Armenians had apparently attacked Azeri positions in force and managed to liberate large tracts of land in Martakert and along the Arax River. According to some claims, proximately 20,000 hectares of land were liberated at the time.

This information was relayed to me during the course of our dinner by my friend's sister who just happened to be the mother of a young soldier involved in the military offensive I referred to above. Apparently, the young soldier had called his mother from Artsakh to inform her of the developing situation. I remember rushing home that night hoping to see news reports of this incident in Artsakh. I couldn't find anything about what I had heard during dinner on television or on the internet. None of the news services, be it Western, Russian, Armenian or Turkish/Azeri reported anything about Artsakh. All the news agencies were reporting on was the on-going war between Russia and Georgia... The very next day, I called the mother of the soldier and asked if she was sure of what she had heard from her son. In response, she basically repeated everything she had said during dinner the night before. I left it at that.

We returned back in the United States in late August. Sometime in September, I was talking to an acquaintance in the Armenian community where I live and the topic of the war between Russia and Georgia came up in the conversation. Before I was able to say anything about what I had learned several weeks prior, my acquaintance said that there was a major clash in Artsakh during the Russian-Georgian war and that large tracts of territories were liberated by Armenians. I asked him how he knew this information, he said through his wife's relative who was a military officer in Yerevan.

Here I was getting similar information from two very reliable sources... yet I was unable to find any of this information on the internet. Although I believed that something major had in fact occurred in Artsakh during the time of the Russian-Georgian war, I nonetheless still felt the need for some sort of confirmation... Then, several months later, I was made aware that one of Armenia's Western propaganda organs, Hetq, had reported the following information -

"The armed forces of the NKR aren’t preparing to execute any so-called concessions. On the contrary, during the past year the territories in our possession have grown by some several thousand hectares... Armenian front lines on the right flank along the Arax River have advanced by four kilometers."

Lieutenant General Movses Hakobyan (NKR Defense Minister)

Needless to say, these somewhat vague comments by Artsakh's Defense Minister Lieutenant General Movses Hakobyan was the confirmation I was looking for. The following links are where the above quotes were taken from -

NKR Defense Minister – “Armed forces not preparing for any concessions”:

NKR Forces Along Arax River Advance 4 Kilometers in 2009:

To summarize: During the early days of the Russian-Georgian war in the summer of 2008, Baku was preparing to attack Artsakh. Armenians carried-out a large preemptive strike against Azeri forces and in doing so liberated large tracts of land. Apparently, Baku kept quiet over the incident because the green light for the Armenian attack was given by Moscow.What I was not aware of until now is the recently released information by Wikileaks that Moscow had also directly threatened Baku with an invasion. As far as I'm concerned, this fully explains why Baku took the massive hit by the Armenian military and has remained quiet about it to this day.

I hope our nation's Russophobes are paying close attention to all this. A lot of very important conclusions to be drawn from all this information. And when we juxtapose this information with recent news that Moscow has been building-up its military assets in Daghestan perhaps in an effort to discourage Baku from planning yet another military incursion into Artsakh, the military strategy being employed by Moscow and Yerevan becomes all too clear. None of us should be worried that Armenian controlled territories in or around Artsakh will be surrendered to Azeris as a result of on-going negotiations, and none of us should be worried about how far Moscow is willing to go to ensure Armenia's survival in the volatile region. By helping Armenians retain control over the territories in question, Moscow ensures Armenia's alliance and Azerbaijan's subservience. In other words, Nagorno Karabakh is the sledgehammer hanging over Turkish heads.

The following blog posts discusses two of Armenia's neighbors and it addresses some of the ideas brought up in this commentary -

There are no other solutions to Armenia's core problems. Sooner or later, Armenia needs to expand. I'm not a dreamer therefore I fully realize the complexities of such a suggestion. I also recognize that such a thing is wrought with risks. However, the point is that if we want our homeland to free itself of its severe socioeconomic and sociopolitical ailments and turn into a powerful state that Armenians will be proud of and would want to live in, Armenia's expansion towards the Black Sea and/or Russia is a historic necessity that we as a nation must collectively embark upon. This is a crucially important national project we Armenians must adopt and hardwire into our thinking.

Convincing Moscow

Moreover, let's also realize that the keys to much of this, as well as keys to Western Armenia, are found in Moscow.
Therefore, Moscow is where Armenians need to make a pan-national effort. If done right, Kremlin officials will listen. Armenia's presence in the Caucasus has for centuries been protecting Russia's vulnerable southern regions. Armenians have been an effective hedge against Muslims. Since Czarist times high officials in Russia have fully understood this. It is up to us Armenians now to effectively exploit this. The geostrategic significance of Armenia is as important for Russian officials today as it was for Czarist officials, if not more. In a region that suffers from powerful Turkic and Islamic influences, Armenia's political independence and its close alliance with Moscow will be zealously protected by Russian officials for the foreseeable future. As a result, there exists a receptive political culture in the Kremlin for Armenians to tap into.

If Moscow was ready to go to war when Armenia was threatened by Turkey in the early 1990s, during a time when Moscow was literally on its knees, I think the reader can use his/her imagination as to what Moscow would be willing to do today if outside forces ever dared to threaten Armenia again. If Moscow today is willing to forcefully standup to the West and the rest over Syria and Iran, we can expect Moscow to place its nuclear arsenal on combat alert if Armenia is in any way threatened. Realizing the great strategic significance of Armenia for Moscow, Armenian officials must stop being passive and reactionary and start being proactive by planning and initiating long-term policies for Armenia's expansion.

The key here is of course to use our national assets throughout the world to convince Russians that t
he only way to pacify the Caucasus region is to partition parts of Georgia and/or Azerbaijan between Russia and Armenia. At the very least, Moscow must be convinced that Armenia needs to be given the opportunity to establish a common border with the Russian Federation through Georgia and/or Azerbaijan. The best time to implement this is when a major war breaks-out in the region. Russian officials must be made to understand that geostrategically speaking a stronger and larger Armenia in the Caucasus means a stronger Russia. A powerful Armenia is the only effective way to solve the Caucasus region's many pressing problems - including but not limited to Islamic insurgency, pan-Turkism and Western expansionism.

In the meanwhile, Armenians need to stop chasing their tails as per Washingtonian demands and recognize that Armenia's expansion to the Black Sea or to the borders of the Russian Federation should be the one and only long-term strategic agenda for the Armenian nation. Yerevan needs to begin seriously thinking along these lines because there may be some opportunities during the next few years.

The following articles are in my opinion some very interesting news reports. I derived them from different websites in recent days. The articles in question basically outlines the various measures Moscow has currently been undertaking in preparation of a military strike against Iran. A reoccurring theme in many of these articles is Russia's military buildup in Armenia. To provide the reader a deeper geopolitical perspective, I have also posted some other relevant materials. Please make time and read them all.

April, 2012


The Russian Military Has an Action Plan Involving Georgia if Iran Is Attacked

Russian Defense Ministry sources told the semiofficial news agency Interfax that action plans are being finalized to react to an armed conflict involving Iran and its nuclear program. The General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces “calculates” that military action against Iran will commence “in the summer” of 2012. Since Israel does not have sufficient assets to defeat Iranian defenses, the Russian military considers US military involvement inevitable (Interfax, March 30).

Bits of information have been appearing, indicating the essence of Russian military action. Last December it was disclosed that families of servicemen from the Russian base in Armenia have been evacuated to Russia, while the troops have been moved from the capital, Yerevan, north to Gumri – closer to the borders of Georgia and Turkey. The preparation of Russian forces in Armenia for action in the event of military conflict with Iran began “two years ago” (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, December 15).

After the short Russo-Georgian war in August 2008, break-away provinces Abkhazia and South Ossetia were occupied by Russian troops. Tbilisi in turn stopped military transit to the Russian troops in landlocked Armenia. There is only an air link to Russia, while fuel and other essentials reportedly come over the Iran-Armenia border. Moscow believes this border may be closed in the event of war. According to Lt. General (retired) Yury Netkachev – former deputy commander of Russian forces in Transcaucasia – “Possibly, it will be necessary to use military means to breach the Georgian transport blockade and establish transport corridors, leading into Armenia (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, December 15). The geography of the region implies that any such “corridor” may go through the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

Large scale “strategic” military exercises Kavkaz-2012 are planned for next September, but it is reported that preparations and deployments of assets have begun already because of the threat of the possible war with Iran. New command and control equipment has been deployed in the region capable of using GLONASS (Russian GPS) targeting information. The air force in the South Military District (SMD) is reported to have been rearmed “almost 100 percent” with new jets and helicopters. In 2008, Kavkaz-2008 maneuvers allowed the Russian military to covertly deploy forces that successfully invaded Georgia (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, January 16).

Last September it was announced that sniper units will be created in all Russian army brigades. The first 1,300 newly trained snipers have been deployed in the SMD (RIA Novosti, January 16). SMD units in Abkhazia, Ossetia, Chechnya and Volgograd have been rearmed with new T-90A and T-72BM tanks and new armored vehicles. In 2010 and 2011, SMD units received more than 7,000 pieces of new heavy weapons and have been more than 70 percent rearmed (RIA Novosti, January 16). According to President Dmitry Medvedev, by 2011 the overall rearmament of the entire Russian military with new weapons was much less – 16 percent (, March 20).

Last January the newly appointed commander of the 58th army that spearheaded the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008, Major General Andrei Gurulev, announced: “The army is a front-line force that keeps the peace in the region and has been rearmed more than 60 percent” (, January 28). After an inspection of the SMD by Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, it was announced that new Special Forces units will be deployed in Stavropol and Kislovodsk “to further strengthen the security of the region” (RIA Novosti, January 26). Stavropol and Kislovodsk are ethnic Russian-inhabited North Caucasian regions that have not seen much Islamist or separatist activity.

A new 120-kilometer range land-mobile guided anti-ship missile, Bal-E, has been deployed on the Caspian shore of Dagestan (Interfax, February 8). The Russian military believes that when the US goes to war with Iran, it may deploy forces in friendly Georgia and warships in the Caspian with the possible help of Azerbaijan. It is reported that in 2012 SMD forces will be 65 percent equipped with new communication devices, while the rest of the Russian military will have 26 percent (RIA Novosti, February 9). SMD units have received 20 new Tornado-G MRLS launchers (first procured in 2012) to replace the aging Grad MRLS. The Grad was massively used by the Russian troops against the Georgians in 2008. The 122-mm Tornado-G is reported to be “three times more effective than Grad,” with increased accuracy, firepower, mobility and a range of up to 100 kilometers (Interfax, April 3). The commander of the airborne troops (VDV), Lt. General Vladimir Shamanov, has announced the Russian troops in Armenia will be reinforced by paratroopers, possibly together with attack and transport helicopters. According to Netkachev, assault VDV units with helicopters may be moved into Abkhazia and South Ossetian (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, April 4).

The above stream of reports by official spokesmen and carried by government news agencies describes the forming of an offensive spearhead force in the SMD facing Transcaucasia. The force is too heavily armed with modern long-range weapons to be exclusively intended to take on the dispersed rebel guerrilla forces in Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria. This week, the Secretary of the Georgian National Security Council Giga Bokeria told radio Ekho Moskvi about the growing threat of a war with Russia (Ekho Moskvi, April 2).

In Tbilisi, the possible threat of a new Russian invasion is connected to the parliamentary elections scheduled for next October and possible disturbances that may accompany them. According to polls, the ruling party of President Mikheil Saakashvili seems to be poised for another landslide victory, while the opposition movement, organized by the Russian-based billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, seems to be failing to gather mass support.

Of course, Moscow would be glad to see the electoral defeat of Saakashvili, but the Iranian war is a much more important issue. The Russian spearhead may be ordered to strike south to prevent the presumed deployment of US bases in Transcaucasia, to link up with the troops in Armenia, and take over the South Caucasus energy corridor along which Azeri, Turkmen and, other Caspian natural gas and oil may reach European markets. By one swift military strike Russia may ensure control of all the Caucasus and the Caspian states that were its former realm, establishing a fiat accompli the West, too preoccupied with Iran, would not reverse. At the same time, a small victorious war would unite the Russian nation behind the Kremlin, allowing it to crush the remnants of the prodemocracy movement “for fair elections.” And as a final bonus, Russia’s military action could perhaps finally destroy the Saakashvili regime.


Russia Expecting Attack on Iran by Summer

Plans to move troops to protect interests, possibly assist Islamic enclave

The Russian military anticipates that an attack will occur on Iran by the summer and has developed an action plan to move Russian troops through neighboring Georgia to stage in Armenia, which borders on the Islamic republic, informed Russian sources say in a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin. Russian Security Council head Viktor Ozerov said that Russian General Military Headquarters has prepared an action plan in the event of an attack on Iran.

Dmitry Rogozin, who recently was the Russian ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, warned against an attack on Iran. “Iran is our neighbor,” Rogozin said. “If Iran is involved in any military action, it’s a direct threat to our security.” Rogozin now is the deputy Russian prime minister and is regarded as anti-Western. He oversees Russia’s defense sector. Russian Defense Ministry sources say that the Russian military doesn’t believe that Israel has sufficient military assets to defeat Iranian defenses and further believes that U.S. military action will be necessary.

Russia’s purpose in moving its troops would be not only to protect its own vital regional interests but possibly to assist Iran in the event of an attack. Sources add that a Russian military buildup in the region could result in the Russian military potentially engaging Israeli forces, U.S. forces or both. Informed sources say that the Russians have warned of “unpredictable consequences” in the event Iran is attacked, with some Russians saying that the Russian military would intervene because its vital interests in region would be threatened.

The influential Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper has quoted a Russian military source as saying that the situation forming around Syria and Iran “causes Russia to expedite the course of improvement of its military groups in the South Caucasus, the Caspian, Mediterranean and Black Sea regions.” This latest information comes from a series of reports and leaks from official Russian spokesmen and government news agencies who say that an Israeli attack is all but certain by the summer.

Because of the impact on Russian vital interests in the region, sources say that Russian preparations for such an attack began two years ago when Russian Military Base 102 in Gyumri, Armenia, was modernized. It is said to occupy a major geopolitical position in the region. Families of Russian servicemen from the Russian base at Gyumri in Armenia close to the borders of Georgia and Turkey already have been evacuated, Russian sources say. “Military Base 102 is a key point, Russia’s outpost in the South Caucasus,” a Russian military source told the newspaper. “It occupies a very important geopolitical position, but the Kremlin fears lest it should lose this situation.”


Russia Is Massing Troops On Iran's Northern Border And Waiting For A Western Attack

The Russian military anticipates that an attack will occur on Iran by the summer and has developed an action plan to move Russian troops through neighboring Georgia to stage in Armenia, which borders on the Islamic republic, according to informed Russian sources. Russian Security Council head Viktor Ozerov said that Russian General Military Headquarters has prepared an action plan in the event of an attack on Iran.

Dmitry Rogozin, who recently was the Russian ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, warned against an attack on Iran. "Iran is our neighbor," Rogozin said. "If Iran is involved in any military action, it's a direct threat to our security." Rogozin now is the deputy Russian prime minister and is regarded as anti-Western. He oversees Russia's defense sector.

Russian Defense Ministry sources say that the Russian military doesn't believe that Israel has sufficient military assets to defeat Iranian defenses and further believes that U.S. military action will be necessary. The implication of preparing to move Russian troops not only is to protect its own vital regional interests but possibly to assist Iran in the event of such an attack. Sources add that a Russian military buildup in the region could result in the Russian military potentially engaging Israeli forces, U.S. forces, or both.

Informed sources say that the Russians have warned of "unpredictable consequences" in the event Iran is attacked, with some Russians saying that the Russian military will take part in the possible war because it would threaten its vital interests in the region. The influential Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper has quoted a Russian military source as saying that the situation forming around Syria and Iran "causes Russia to expedite the course of improvement of its military groups in the South Caucasus, the Caspian, Mediterranean and Black Sea regions."

This latest information comes from a series of reports and leaks from official Russian spokesmen and government news agencies who say that an Israeli attack is all but certain by the summer. Because of the impact on Russian vital interests in the region, sources say that Russian preparations for such an attack began two years ago when Russian Military Base 102 in Gyumri, Armenia, was modernized. It is said to occupy a major geopolitical position in the region.

Families of Russian servicemen from the Russian base at Gyumri in Armenia close to the borders of Georgia and Turkey already have been evacuated, Russian sources say. "Military Base 102 is a key point, Russia's outpost in the South Caucasus," a Russian military source told the newspaper. "It occupies a very important geopolitical position, but the Kremlin fears lest it should lose this situation."

With Vladimir Putin returning to the Russian presidency, the prospect that he again would order an attack on Georgia as he did in August 2008 also has become a possibility, these informed sources say. The Russians believe that Georgia would cooperate with the United States in blocking any supplies from reaching Military Base 102, which now is supplied primarily by air. Right now, Georgia blocks the only land transportation route through which Russian military supplies could travel. Fuel for the Russian base in Armenia comes from Iran. Russian officials believe this border crossing may be closed in the event of a war.

"Possibly, it will be necessary to use military means to breach the Georgian transport blockade and establish transport corridors leading into Armenia," according to Yury Netkachev, former deputy commander of Russian forces in Transcaucasia. Geography of the region suggests that any such supply corridor would have to go through the middle of Georgia approaching Georgia's capital of Tbilisi given the roads and topography of the country.

In September, the Russian military plans to hold its annual military exercises called Kavkaz 2012. However, informed Russian sources say that preparations and deployments of military equipment and personnel already have begun in anticipation of a possible war with Iran. These sources report that new command and control equipment has been deployed in the region capable of using the Russian GPS system, GLONASS for targeting information. "The air force in the South Military District is reported to have been rearmed almost 100 percent with new jets and helicopters," according to regional expert Pavel Felgenhauer of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation.

In 2008, Felgenhauer pointed out, Kavkaz 2008 maneuvers allowed the Russian military to covertly deploy forces that successfully invaded Georgia in August of that year. Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov already has announced that new Spetznaz, or Special Forces units, will be deployed in Stavropol and Kislovodsk, which are located in the North Caucasian regions.

Russian sources say that the Russian military believes that if the U.S. goes to war with Iran, it may deploy forces into Georgia and warships in the Caspian Sea with the possible help of Azerbaijan, which since has stated that it will not allow its territory to be used by Israel to launch an attack on neighboring Iran. There had been speculation that given the improved relations between Israel and Azerbaijan, the Jewish state may use bases from which to launch air attacks on neighboring Iran's nuclear sites. Israel recently agreed to sell Azerbaijan $1.6 billion in military equipment.

A further irritant to Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili is the prospect that Russian assault airborne troops, or VDV units, with helicopters could be moved into Georgia's two breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These two provinces were taken by the Russian military during the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war. Initially they were declared by Moscow to be independent countries, but now the Kremlin is indicating they may be annexed to Russia.

Similarly, Lt. General Vladimir Shamanov, commander of the VDV, has announced that Russian troops in Armenia will be reinforced by paratroopers, along with attack and transport helicopters. "The Russian spearhead (from the Transcaucasia region) may be ordered to strike south to prevent the presumed deployment of U.S. bases in Transcaucasia, to link up with the troops in Armenia and take over the South Caucasus energy corridor along which Azeri, Turkmen and other Caspian natural gas and oil may reach European markets," Felgenhauer said.

"By one swift military strike, Russia may ensure control of all the Caucasus and the Caspian states that were its former realm, establishing a fiat accompli the West, too preoccupied with Iran, would not reverse," he said. "At the same time, a small victorious war would unite the Russian nation behind the Kremlin, allowing it to crush the remnants of the prodemocracy movement 'for fair elections,' and as a final bonus, Russia's military action could perhaps finally destroy the Saakashvili regime."

Putin has made no secret that he despises Saakashvili and with his return to the presidency, he may consider taking out the Georgian president as unfinished business. Just as in 2008, Putin will not have much to worry about if he sends Russian troops into Georgia, since there was muted reaction from the U.S. and the European countries to the Russian invasion and subsequent occupation.

Moscow Optimizes its Military Grouping in the South

Russia prepares for an adequate response to Tel-Aviv and Washington’s possible strikes against Tehran

The geopolitical situation unfolding around Syria and Iran is prompting Russia to make its military structures in the South Caucasus, on the Caspian, Mediterranean and Black Sea regions more efficient. Nezavisimaya Gazeta’s (NG) Defense Ministry sources are saying that the Kremlin has been informed about an upcoming US-supported Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. The strike will be sudden and take place on “day X” in the near future. One could assume Iran’s reaction will not be delayed. A full-scale war is possible, and its consequences could be unpredictable.

This problem is currently being addressed as a priority issue at the EU-Russia summit in Brussels with the participation of President Dmitry Medvedev. A day before the event, Russia’s envoy to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, relayed a message from the Kremlin, saying that an Israeli or US strike on Iran will lead to “a catastrophic development of events.” The diplomat stressed that the negative consequences will not only be felt by the region, “but also in a much broader context.” Russia’s direct diplomatic pressure on Europe and the global community in respect to issues concerning a possible war in Iran began recently after the IAEA’s publication of a report on the Iranian nuclear program in November.

However, in the military sphere, Russia’s preparations for minimization of losses from possible military action against Tehran began more than two years ago. Today, they are nearly complete. According to the Defense Ministry sources, the 102nd military base in Armenia was fully optimized in October-November 2011. Military personnel’s families have been evacuated to Russia, and the Russian garrison deployed near Yerevan reduced. Military sub-units stationed in the area have been transferred to Gyumri district, closer to the Turkish border.

Strikes against Iranian facilities by US troops are possible from Turkish territory. So far, it is unclear as to what tasks the 102nd military base will perform in relation to this. But it is known that Russian troops stationed at military bases in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, have been on high alert since December 1 of this year. Meanwhile, ships of the Black Sea Fleet are located not far from the Georgian border which in this conflict could act on the side of the anti-Iranian forces.

In Izberbash, Dagestan, nearly adjacent to the Azerbaijani border, a coastal guided missile battalion equipped with onshore anti-ship Bal-E missile systems with a range of 130 km, have been put on permanent combat readiness status. All guided missile craft of the Caspian Flotilla have been redeployed from Astrakhan to Makhachkala and Kaspiysk districts to form a single group. Meanwhile, the flagship of the Flotilla, the sentry rocket ship “Tatarstan”, will soon be joined by the small gunboat "Volgodonsk” and missile ship “Dagestan”. The flagships of the Flotilla are equipped with missile systems with a range of up to 200 km.

Recently, the Northern Fleet’s aircraft carrier group with the heavy aircraft carrier “Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov”, headed towards the Mediterranean with plans to ultimately enter the Syrian port of Tartus. NG’s sources from the Defense Ministry did not confirm or deny the fact that the surface warships are being accompanied by the Northern Fleet’s nuclear submarines. The tasks that will be carried out by the army and the navy in the event of a war against Iran are, of course, not being disclosed. But Russia’s Defense Ministry is apparently concerned about the logistical support of troops in Armenia. The 102nd military base is a key point as it is Russia’s outpost in the South Caucasus. It holds a very important geopolitical position. But Kremlin officials are worried that this position will be lost. In the event of a US-Israeli war against Iran, this will indeed be tragic for Russia.

In April of this year, Georgia broke the agreement on the transit of military cargo to Armenia from Russia. Essentially, the Russian-Armenian grouping in the South Caucasus has been isolated. Supplies to the Russian army (POL, food, etc.) are delivered only by air and through direct agreements with Armenia which, in turn, purchases these products (gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene) from Iran. A war in Iran will close this supply channel.

Lt.-Gen. Yury Netkachev, who for a long time served as the deputy commander of the Group of Russian Forces in the Transcaucasus and was personally engaged in work on the supply of arms and ammunition to combined armed forces and units (including the 102nd military base), believes that, in the event of a full-fledged war against Iran, Russia will be looking to securely supply the military facility through Georgia. “Perhaps, it will be necessary to break the Georgian transport blockade and supply the transport corridors leading to Armenia by military means,” said the expert.

“Apparently, Russia’s Defense Ministry is also quite wary of Azerbaijan, which over the last three years has doubled its military budget and is currently buying Israeli drones and other advanced means of reconnaissance and topographic location, naturally aggravating Tehran and Armenia,” says head of the Center for Military Forecasting, Anatoly Tsyganok. “Baku has stepped up its pressure on Moscow, demanding significantly higher rental fees for the Gabala radar station. But even considering the disputes between Iran and Azerbaijan over oilfields in the south of the Caspian Sea, one could hardly argue that Baku will support an anti-Iranian military campaign. It is also very unlikely that it will unleash hostilities against Armenia.”

Col. Vladimir Popov, who was engaged in the analysis of hostilities between Baku and Yerevan between 1991 and 1993, and is currently following the military reforms conducted by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, disagrees with the expert. Popov believes that “the negotiation process on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict has been unreasonably delayed.” Baku is making open statements on revenge. “Azerbaijan pre-emptive strikes on Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, made in order to finally settle the territorial dispute in its favor, are possible,” says the expert.

But, in his opinion, the question of how Russia will behave is important. “If in the midst of a war in Iran, Azerbaijan supported by Turkey, attacks Armenia, then, of course, all of the adversary’s attacks against Armenia will be repelled by Russia in conjunction with Armenian anti-missile defense forces. It’s hard to say whether or not this will be considered as Moscow’s involvement in military action. Russian troops will certainly not be engaged in military action on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. But in the event of a military threat to Armenia coming from Turkey or Azerbaijan, for example, Russia will apparently take part in ground operations,” says Popov.

The analyst does not exclude the possibility of Russia’s military involvement in the Iranian conflict. “In the worst-case scenario, if Tehran is facing complete military defeat after a land invasion of the US and NATO troops, Russia will provide its military support – at least on a military-technical level,” predicts Vladimir Popov.


Russia to “Cut Military Transport Corridor” through Georgia?

Recently, the news media was filled with speculation about the possibility of renewed Russian military action against Georgia. There have been periods since the 2008 Russia-Georgia war when military scenarios and Russia’s military warnings have appeared on the web. As soon as the tensions around Iran’s nuclear program were aggravated, with US and Israeli sources often pondering military strikes against Tehran, Moscow’s ally, Russian military officials began to publicly voice warnings that Russia’s wouldn’t stand idle.

In one of the previous media reports, a map of Tbilisi’s outskirts was shown on the radar of a new Russian military satellite-controlled command facility, which was being tested. On other occasions, Russian officials spoke to the media about Russia’s strategic determination to use nuclear weapons in certain cases to deal with regional conflicts. The annual Caucasus military exercises held since 2008 also triggered concerns.

In March 2012, the Russian newspaper Kommersant, based on an anonymous Russian Defense Ministry source, suggested that Russia was ready for a US war against Iran which according to Russian diplomats, would likely happen before the end of the year. “We have calculated our actions in case of a war with Iran. For this contingency we have a plan for mobilization”, said the MOD source back then.

In the case of military escalation in Iran, Russian high-ranking officers expect an exodus of refugees to Iran’s neighbor Azerbaijan. The borders of Azerbaijan and Armenia, another of Iran’s northern neighbors, could be closed, posing a challenge for Russian soldiers stationed in the 102nd military base in Gyumri, Armenia. There is a risk that the hardware supplies to this base, now provided by Russia only through air transfers via Georgian airspace, will be disrupted, along with the fuel supplies delivered from Iran.

In December last year, in an interview with Nezavisimaia Gazeta, Russian General-Lieutenant Netkachov, formerly deputy commander of Russia’s troops in the South Caucasus, assured that in the case where there is a disruption of supplies, Russian forces “will have to break Georgia’s transport blockade and provide transport corridor leading to Armenia via military means”.

According to Pavel Felgenhauer, a Russian military analyst with close contact with the Russian defense establishment, “the geography of the region implies that any such “corridor” may go through the Georgian capital of Tbilisi”. Russian direct military assistance to Tehran is also not excluded.

Georgia, Russian officers believe, will ally with the US in the military standoff with Iran and further blockade Russian reach to Armenia; proof of which they claim is the recent annulment by Tbilisi of the agreement on “open sky”. Georgian military experts stress that this later decision by the Georgian government makes Russia’s strategic partnership with Armenia very costly. Dmitry Rogozin, Vice Prime Minister of Russia, a fervent anti-western, formerly Russian envoy to NATO, warned against an attack on Iran which, as he put it, “is a direct threat to Russia’s security”.

Nezavisimaia Gazeta sources say Russians have started the contingency planning for this scenario two years ago. There are several signs that have alarm bells ringing among pundits.

First, for September, Russia planned the military drills Caucasus 2012 which many have directly linked with the possible US/Israeli war against Iran or other conflicts in the Caspian or South Caucasus region. Second, unlike the Caucasus 2008 which set the scene for the invasion of Georgia, this exercise is planned on the strategic level rather than operational-tactical as well as being joint, that is, involving all types of forces and services of the Defense Ministry but also other paramilitary state forces. This means the drills are tailored for operations on a larger scale.

Thirdly and as part of the second point, the drills will reportedly involve Russian troops deployed on the 7th military base in the occupied region of Abkhazia and the 4th base in the occupied South Ossetia, as well as the Gyumri military base in Armenia. The bases on Georgian soil are part of the Russian so-called South Military District.

Felgenhauer, who has previously warned of a war before 2008 and did the same soon after it, has argued the danger is real, giving a detailed account of Russian preparations. For example, additional units like modern command and control vehicles and air defense systems with the range of the entire South Caucasus region have been deployed in the North Caucasus. The air force in the South Military District (SMD) has been strengthened with new jets and helicopters, while all units have been furnished with new armed vehicles. The media also reported that last year, Russia’s base in Armenia was upgraded while the families of Russian servants had been evacuated to Russia.

At the same time, Russian bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia have been put on alert. Furthermore, as the Iranian news agency reports, Russia has deployed guided anti-ship missiles in the Caspian, and offensive spearhead forces heavily armed with modern long-range weapons, all aimed to strike preventively against the probable US basement in the South Caucasus in the run up to the Iran war.

So, will the Russians really cut a transport corridor through Georgia or even attempt to take Tbilisi? It is hard to predict. On the one hand, there are reasons why they could really do so. There is a consensus among Russian militaries that maintaining the Gyumri base is too important strategically for them and since there is no other way to reach the landlocked Armenia other than via Georgia, linking up its troops in South Ossetia with those in Armenia via Georgia could be a real possibility. Putin, notorious for his contempt for Georgia’s independence, is back in the Kremlin and pundits in the West have started to talk about Putin giving orders to invade Georgia as he did in 2008.

However, there are also good reasons why this would not happen. Unlike 2008, there are now about 200 EU monitors closely observing the situation around the occupied territory which the international community can use as a verification tool. Hence, Russia would have a hard time finding a casus belli. Politicians and bureaucrats in the West are also more critical towards Russia now that they know Moscow’s real motives. This could bring more pressure on Russia. In fact, it could have been due to such pressure that at the latest round of Geneva talks, Russian envoy Grigory Karasin downplayed the importance of the Caucasus 2012 drills, saying no troops beyond Russian territory would participate.

Even if the Russian top military brass have prepared a contingency plan which is by the way a routine task of military staffs, Russian politicians may not be that eager to repeat what they did so costly four years ago. And finally, a big question is whether the US will indeed go on war with Iran.


Russia Prepares For A US-Israeli Military Strike Against Iran

Russia has undertaken intensive preparations during the past few months for a possible military strike by Israel and the United States on Iran. According to recent reports, the Russian General Staff expects a war against Iran this summer, with enormous repercussions for not only the Middle East but also the Caucasus.

Russian troops in the Caucasus have been technically upgraded, and a missile division situated on the Caspian Sea has been placed in readiness. The missile cruisers of the Caspian flotilla are now anchored off the coast of Dagestan. The only Russian military base in the South Caucasus, located in Armenia, is also on alert for military intervention. Last autumn, Russia sent its aircraft carrier Kuznetsov to the Syrian port Tartous following the escalation of the conflict in Syria. Experts believe that Russia would support Tehran in the event of war, at least on a military-technical level.

In a commentary in April, General Leonid Ivashov, president of the Academy of Geopolitical Science, wrote that “a war against Iran would be a war against Russia” and he called for a “political-diplomatic alliance” with China and India. Operations were being undertaken throughout the Middle East in order to destabilise the region and proceed against China, Russia and Europe. The war against Iran, Ivashov wrote, would “end up at our borders, destabilise the situation in the North Caucasus and weaken our position in the Caspian region.”

Of central concern for Moscow are the consequences for the South Caucasus in the event of a war against Iran. Armenia is the only ally of the Kremlin in the region and has close economic links with Iran, while neighbouring Georgia and Azerbaijan maintain military and economic ties with the United States and Israel.

The Kremlin fears above all that Azerbaijan could participate in a military alliance alongside Israel and the United States against Iran. Azerbaijan borders Iran, Russia, Armenia and the Caspian Sea, and since the mid-1990s has been an important military and economic ally of the US in the South Caucasus, housing several American military bases.

Relations between Iran and Azerbaijan are already very tense. Tehran has repeatedly accused Baku of participating in terrorist attacks and acts of sabotage, most probably in collaboration with the Israeli and American intelligence agencies. In recent years, Azerbaijan has doubled its military spending and in February completed a weapons deal with Israel worth US$1.6 billion involving the supply of drones and missile defence systems.

Citing senior sources in the Obama administration, Mark Perry told the American journal Foreign Policy in late March that Baku had allowed Israel access to several air bases on the border to northern Iran that could be used for an air strike on Tehran. The magazine quotes a senior government official saying, “The Israelis have bought an airport and this airport is Azerbaijan.” Perry warned, “Military strategists must now take into account a war scenario, which includes not only the Persian Gulf, but also the Caucasus.”

The Baku government immediately denied the report, but the editor of the Azerbaijani newspaper Neue Zeit, Shakir Gablikogly, warned that Azerbaijan could be drawn into a war against Iran.

Even if Azerbaijan should not prove to be the starting point for an Israeli attack on Iran, there is the danger that war will lead to a military escalation of other territorial conflicts such as the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region has been independent since the end of the civil war in 1994, but the government in Baku, the US and the European Council insist it be regarded as part of Azerbaijan. There have been repeated border conflicts between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the past two years, and commentators have warned that the dispute could escalate into a war involving Russia, the United States and Iran.

In a recent interview with Russia’s Komsomolskaya Pravda, military expert Mikhail Barabanov said that conflicts in the post-Soviet region could lead to military intervention in Russia. Any intervention in the region by the US or other NATO power would bring with it “the inevitable risk of the use of nuclear weapons.” Russia has the second largest nuclear arsenal in the world after the US.

Due to its geostrategic importance, Eurasia has become the epicentre for economic and political rivalries and military conflicts between the US and Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia form a bridge between resource-rich Central Asia and the Caspian Sea on one side, and Europe and the Black Sea on the other. The US has sought to win influence in the region via economic alliances since the 1990s. In 1998, the then US vice president Richard Cheney declared, “I can not remember a time when a region so suddenly gained such huge strategic importance as the Caspian.”

In his book The Grand Chessboard (1998), Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to US president Jimmy Carter, wrote: “A power that dominates Eurasia would control two thirds of the most advanced and economically productive regions of the world. In Eurasia, there are about three-quarters of the known energy resources in the world.” The central importance of the region is its role as a transit area for energy supplies to Europe from Asia, which bypasses Russia. By supporting alternative pipeline projects, Washington has sought to weaken Russian links to Europe, which depends heavily on Russian oil and gas.

So far, Georgia is the key country for the transit of gas and oil supplies and has been at the heart of conflicts in the region. Georgia’s “Rose Revolution” in 2003 was instigated by Washington to push Mikhail Saakashvili into power as president in order to safeguard US economic and strategic interests in the region. It led to an intensification of tensions with Moscow for geostrategic supremacy. The war between Georgia and Russia in the summer of 2008 represented a further ratcheting up of the rivalry between the two countries with the potential to expand into a Russian-American war. Relations between Russia and Georgia remain very tense.

US influence in the Caucasus and Central Asia has declined significantly in recent years. In addition to Russia, China has emerged as a major force in the area, establishing significant economic and military ties with Central Asian states such as Kazakhstan. Although Russia and China remain rivals, they have struck a strategic alliance in their competition with the United States. For the US, war against Iran represents a further stage in its growing confrontation with China and Russia for control of the energy resources of Central Asia and the Middle East.


Russia Hopes to Dissuade Azerbaijan From Going to War Over Runaway Nagorno-Karabakh

Three hypotheses explaining a dramatic enlargement of the Russian military group in Dagestan. Between 15,000 and 25,000 servicemen of the Defense Ministry and Internal Troops with heavy fighting vehicles were dispatched from Chechnya to Dagestan. The authorities call it planned rotation one day and establishment of the Interior Ministry's Tactical Force in Dagestan the following.

Eyewitness reports mentioned over 300 vehicles including armored personnel carriers, Ural ferries, and armored command vehicles on the way to Dagestan. T-90 tanks and multiple rocket launcher systems were already moved to Dagestan from Chechnya. According to official explanations, "some forces of the Provisional Task Force will be moved from Chechnya to Dagestan and transformed into the Interior Ministry's Tactical Force." Dagestani Security Council Secretary Magomed Baachilov, however, called it "planned rotation".

Both explanations are lame, of course. Official explanation is invalidated by the simple fact that no Tactical Force ever needs so many heavy armored vehicles and Grad launchers. Baachilov's is plain rubbish on account of the scope of the so called rotation. The impression is that a major operation against the extremist underground is planned in Dagestan. Or else the federal center knows something that warrants deployment of an equivalent of two divisions... in addition to the 136th Brigade quartered in Buinaksk, Marines in Kaspiisk, and countless OMON units.

There is, however, a third hypothesis as well. "As matters stand, there are between 55,000 and 57,000 servicemen quartered in the republic... discounting local law enforcement agencies... It is rumored here that come summer Azerbaijan will make another go at Nagorno-Karabakh and try to reabsorb the runaway region. All this military might concentrated in Dagestan is meant as a warning to Baku, a message that Russia will stand by Armenia," said a source in Dagestani security structures.

Source: Argumenty Nedeli, No 11, March 22, 2012, p. 2

Air Assault Units to Expand Russian Military Presence Abroad

Russian military bases in Central Asia and the Caucasus are to be considerably strengthened. They might be reinforced by units of the national Airborne Force to increase mobility and combat efficiency, said the force’s commander, Lieutenant General Vladimir Shamanov. First of all, judging by the experience of the Airborne Force’s peacekeeping operations, forward bases are required in order to successfully accomplish the objectives set by Russia’s leaders, General Shamanov believes. He added that such bases would make it possible to expand operations in specific sectors. Another factor is the international commitments of Russia and the CIS countries within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

The CSTO’s Collective Rapid Reaction Force comprises Russia’s 98th Guards Airborne Division and the 31st Detached Guards Air Assault Brigade. Russian paratroopers were deployed at an air base in Kyrgyzstan and at other local Russian military installations during the unrest in the country in 2009. The re-deployment of airborne units to Tajikistan was enacted during a strategic military exercise in 2011. In 2012, the Airborne Force is planning exercises at the 102nd military base in Armenia, which will involve elements of the above-mentioned Collective Rapid Reaction Force. But it is unclear whether airborne units will remain there on a permanent basis.

General Shamanov also proposes subordinating helicopter units to airborne formations. Such units, providing air assault strike capabilities, might also be deployed at Russian military bases abroad. Shamanov said last February that Russia’s military-political leaders had already decided to deploy a helicopter regiment near Novorossiisk in southern Russia. Shamanov justified this decision by the fact that the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia was becoming increasing complex, and that Russian-Georgian relations were continuing to deteriorate. Consequently, airborne units needed to become more mobile.

The regiment, to comprise 60 military transport and attack helicopters, should support the Seventh Air Assault Division, which was successfully deployed during the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war. At that time, it took ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet several days to re-deploy to the conflict zone near the Georgian-Abkhazian border. The helicopter regiment can do the same in the space of a few hours.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry has protested the deployment of a helicopter regiment in Novorossiisk, saying Russia looks like it is preparing for new hostilities. Tbilisi is also worried by the upcoming Caucasus-2012 military exercise, which would reportedly involve Russian personnel from military bases in the Caucasus. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that there were no plans to involve the personnel of Russian military bases abroad or foreign armed forces.

A Russian military analyst said a possible decision to deploy air assault units and helicopters at Russian military bases in the Caucasus had only positive aspects. He added that a recent Georgian-U.S. exercise had involved counter-insurgency operations which served to remind people of Georgia’s aggression against South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers in August 2008.


Russia to Strengthen Military Base in Armenia

Armenia and Russia cannot stay aside if Israel attacks Iran, military expert Artsrun Hovhannisyan told journalists on Saturday. If U.S. and Israel decide to launch war against Iran, they can hardly be stopped. However, it is possible to influence the development of the events as a whole. “On the background of the upcoming parliamentary elections in Iran, such possibility is small. Armenia, in its turn, should weaken tension as much as possible. Undoubtedly, Yerevan is dealing with it through its diplomatic channels,” he said. As for Russia’s role in the region, Kremlin is important, while the only Russian military facility in the South Caucasus is a military base in Armenia’s Gyumri. “Thus, we can conclude that the Russian military base will be modernized, improved and strengthened. Moscow will try to strengthen its military presence in the region within the framework of the existing Armenian-Russian agreements or just concluding new ones,” the expert concluded.


Russia Plans Additional Military Aid To Armenia

Armenia will receive additional military assistance from Russia within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the secretary general of the Russian-led alliance of seven ex-Soviet states announced on Friday. Nikolay Bordyuzha said Moscow will specifically supply new weapons to Armenian and other allied troops making up a NATO-style rapid reaction force that was formed by the CSTO member states in 2009. “We have practically finished work on a program to arm the Collective Operational Reaction Forces (CORF) of the CSTO,” Bordyuzha told a news conference in Yerevan. He said the program will be submitted to an upcoming CSTO summit for approval.

“It envisages the provision of modern types of weaponry to contingents making up the Collective Operational Reaction Forces, including troops from Armenia,” added the Russian official. In that context, Bordyuzha also stressed the importance of growing cooperation, also within the CSTO framework, between the Armenian and Russian defense industries. “What is now being done in the military-economic area, especially the creation of a number of Russian centers or joint ventures in Armenia for the maintenance, repair and modernization of some types of weaponry, also contributes to the provision of modern weapons to the Armenian armed forces,” he said.

Armenian and Russian officials agreed to set up such ventures after talks in Yerevan in July 2010. Bordyuzha announced at the time the launch of a “pilot project” aimed at integrating Armenian defense enterprises into Russia’s military-industrial complex. The announcement came shortly before Moscow and Yerevan signed a new defense accord that extended the presence of a Russian military base in Armenia by 24 years, until 2044, and upgraded its security mission. The bilateral deal also committed Moscow to supplying the Armenian military with “modern and compatible weaponry and (special) military hardware.”

Bordyuzha spoke to journalists on Friday after signing with Artur Baghdasarian, secretary of President Serzh Sarkisian’s National Security Council, a plan of Armenia’s CSTO-related actions. That includes the holding of CORF exercises in Armenia next year. Baghdasarian described the drills as “extremely important” for Yerevan. According to Bordyuzha, the document also envisages “a number of events that will allow us to use more effectively the CSTO’s potential for ensuring Armenia’s security.”


Field Drills to Test Russian Base in Armenia

Rocket force and artillery subdivisions of Russian military base #102 stationed on the territory of Armenia are currently at the Armenian Alagyaz educational-training complex where field drills are conducted on missile strike management. More than 400 servicemen take part in the drills with around 100 artillery armory units, as well as military and special equipment.

The final stage of the large-scale drills coincided with the enlarged joint session of the Armenian and Russian units of Intergovernmental Commission for Military-Economic Cooperation of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) held in Yerevan. A top-ranking delegation has arrived in the Armenian capital from Russia, including CSTO deputy secretary general Valery Semerikov.

Last month CSTO Secretary General Nikolay Bordyuzha made a number of important statements, in particular, that strikes at Iran would shock the region from all perspectives – starting with politics and ending with economy. He also stated that CSTO is closely watching the situation and that “Armenia will receive whatever assistance it needs in case of a crisis in the Karabakh conflict zone”.

“We have a big potential in terms of the application of forces or operational counteraction subdivisions. But I cannot say today what kind of assistance will be shown, as it can be said only based on a definite situation. Nonetheless, I repeat that Armenia will receive all the assistance it needs as a full-rights CSTO member,” stressed Bordyuzha.

The military drills of CSTO’s operative response collective forces will be conducted in Armenia next fall. The details of the drills were discussed both during the session, and at the National Security Council of Armenia (NSCA). “Armenia is doing its best not to allow a shift in the balance of forces in the region,” said NSCA Secretary Artur Baghdasaryan on April 12, while commenting on the possible change in the layout of forces in the region as a result of Azerbaijan’s military build-up.

He stressed that according to NSCA’ state-approved plan for 2011-2015, Armenia, too, is purchasing modern armory and, despite Azerbaijan’s growing military budget, Armenia is taking all possible measures to maintain the balance of forces. It has become known that Armenia and Russia will be signing a new agreement on military-technical cooperation.

Baghdasaryan stressed that the new agreement would help to overcome the existing obstacles, which would allow military-industrial enterprises to communicate directly. And besides, it would allow for a considerably broader cooperation. During the joint session issues were discussed also on creating repair and technical assistance centers for military machinery in Armenia; there are currently seven joint Armenian-Russian military-industrial enterprises functioning on its territory.


Armenian-Russian joint military-industrial companies to be created in Armenia

Armenian-Russian joint military-industrial companies will be created on the basis of existing companies or creation of new ones. The issue is being discussed at the extended sitting of the CSTO and Military-Technical Cooperation Inter-State Commission. Assistant Secretary General of the CSTO Valery Semerikov said today that the arrangements reached during the previous meetings mainly refer to the military engineering. "But today we will discuss the opportunity of setting military-industrial centers in Armenia, which in its turn will promote the increase of the defense level of Armenia," Semerikov said.

Secretary of the National Security Council Arthur Baghdasaryan said the session gathered all those engaged in the military industrial sphere of their country. "The current results are very positive and the procedure of establishing seven new joint ventures goes on successfully. The main goal of this sitting is preparation of a new agreement in the sphere of military-technical cooperation between Armenia and Russia," Arthur Baghdasaryan said, adding that Russia has such agreement with Belarus as well.


Wikileaks: Azerbaijan “terrified” by potential Armenian attack

Despite record growth in military spending and frequently heard threats by top officials to resume hostilities in Karabakh, Azerbaijani leadership is said to be "terrified" by a prospect of an Armenian military attack, a Stratfor memo made available via Wikileaks revealed. The memo was prepared by Reva Bhalla, Stratfor's director of analysis, following her August 2010 meeting with a source described as "Ambassador-at-large for energy security, Czech Republic." While the official is not named in the memo, Vaclav Bartuska has been the Czech envoy on energy security for the last several years.

The Czech official reportedly told Bhalla that "It is remarkable to what degree Azerbaijan is under Russian influence. THey are thinking about their survival. The Azerbaijanis cannot agree to a final deal on Shah Deniz II" natural gas field being developed in the Caspian by BP and whose output is sought by Russia and Western energy consumers.

"When I was in Baku recently, they showed me a 3-D topographic map of Armenia, AZ [Azerbaijan], Nagorno [Karabakh]," the Czech related. "You can see very clearly that once (and if) the Armenians cross over with Russian backing, it is a flat path to Baku. The Russians told them during the Georgia war that Georgia could just be the first stop... pretty direct threat. The Azerbaijanis are terrified of this."

According to press reports, in June 2010 Bartuska participated in the Baku oil and gas conference annually organized by the Azerbaijani government. Bhalla's memo was part of the Stratfor e-mail cache obtained last December by internet hacking group known as the Anonymous. Last year, speaking on the third anniversary of the Georgia war, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev argued that the 2008 war taught parties to the Karabakh conflict "a very serious lesson" that it was "better to conduct endless talks" than fight even a few days of war.

And State Department cables also released by Wikileaks made clear that in U.S. assessment, despite the military build-up and threatening rhetoric, Azerbaijan remains incapable of launching a successful military campaign against Armenia.


CSTO Will Protect Armenia in ‘Critical Situations’

As a full member of the CSTO, Armenia will be protected in the event of ‘critical situations,’ the organization’s secretary general told a video conference from Moscow on Tuesday. General Niklolay Bordyuzha, who heads the Collective Security Treaty Organization, of which Armenia, along with other CIS countries is a member, stressed that in any critical situation CSTO will assist Armenia as its complete member.

“Armenia has the same rights and responsibilities as the other members have. In this case Armenia has right to get assistance for its territorial integrity,” Bordyuzha said adding that the type and volume of assistance will depend on the current critical situation.

Bordyuzha also said that the CSTO did not mediate the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, saying that the OSCE Minsk Group is the international entity tasked with the peace process. CSTO secretary-general said that the organization has not only military but political and peacekeeping potential. Bordyuzha announced that he will be visiting Yerevan next month to discuss the completion of agreements made between the presidents of Russia and Armenia.

Along with Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan are also members of the CSTO, which is a security alliance borne after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova opted out of joining the CSTO and formed their own alliance known as GUAM. Bordyuzha, who was speaking at the Novosti media center in Moscow enumerated the various coordinating activities between member states and called that effort a success.

The Secretary-General said that existing mechanisms in the CSTO charter allow the member states to work together during critical situations and in the prevention of illegal drug trade and immigration. He also explained that the CSTO has cooperated with 22 countries, especially in efforts to curb illegal drug trade.


Why Russia is Planning Iran War Games

As tensions ratchet up in the Persian Gulf, the Kremlin is signaling that it will use all its diplomatic influence to oppose war and, according to a leading Moscow newspaper, has ordered the military to prepare for any possible spillover from a conflict between Iran and the US into the sensitive post-Soviet Caucasus region.

Russia will block any further sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council, a Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday, because it believes rising tensions could trigger a conflict that would destabilize the wider region. Last week Russian deputy prime minister and former ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin warned that any Western attack on Iran would constitute "a direct threat to [Russian] national security."

The independent Moscow daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported Monday that this year's annual military exercises in Russia's south, Kavkaz 2012, will be much larger than usual and organized around the premise of a war that begins with an attack on Iran but spreads to neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan, and draws Russia into a regional maelstrom. The newspaper said the war games, which are usually confined to Russian territory, might this year include maneuvers in the breakaway Georgian statelets of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and perhaps also in Russian-allied Armenia.

"We believe that sanctions relative to Iran have lost their usefulness," Gennady Gatilov, Russia's deputy foreign minister, told a Moscow press conference Tuesday. "We will oppose any new resolution [on UN sanctions against Iran].... "Russia would consider any use of force against the territory of Iran unacceptable. That would make the situation even more critical.... Unfortunately, many [Western] government leaders are not restraining themselves and are speaking openly about a military strike against Iran," Mr. Gatilov added.

A harsh sanctions regime, signed into law by President Obama two weeks ago, would target Iran's ability to earn cash through oil exports by penalizing Western companies who clear payments through Iran's central bank. The European Union could enact its own sanctions against Iranian oil exports as early as next week.

Doesn't want nuclear weapons in Iran, but doesn't want war

Russian experts say that Moscow opposes Iran's alleged drive for atomic weapons, but may fear the consequences of a military strike aimed at curbing the country's nuclear program more. "War in Iran could create a new situation in the wider Caucasus and the Caspian Basin, which would a very serious challenge to Russia," says Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs, a leading Moscow-based foreign policy journal. "There is a high degree of uncertainty about what would happen in neighboring regions. How would it affect the situation around Nagorno Karabakh, for instance?"

Armenia and Azerbaijan (see map here) fought a savage war in the 1990s over the tiny Armenian-populated enclave of Nagorno Karabakh, which ended with Armenia annexing the territory and some surrounding regions. Azerbaijan has never accepted that outcome, but its desire for revenge has been checked by intensive international diplomacy.

"The situation around Karabakh is stable now, but the status quo could be destroyed by an external shock, such as war in next-door Iran," says Mr. Lukyanov. "For Russia, this would pose an impossible dilemma. That's why upcoming military exercises will be designed to address various possible outcomes and find ways to deal with them. . . Russia is absolutely not interested in war breaking out."

Secret benefits for Russia

But, he adds, Russia might also "secretly benefit" from any US attack on Iran as long as it didn't produce pro-Western regime change in that country. Prices for oil, Russia's main source of foreign exchange, would skyrocket, at least in the short term. "The most likely outcome is that the US would become bogged down in another complicated, long-term conflict," Lukyanov says. "That means US attention would be less directed than ever on the post-Soviet region, and that would be good for Moscow."

The Russo-Georgian August 2008 war came just days after the Russian military completed its Kavkaz 2008 war games in the north Caucasus, a conflict that ended with Russia declaring South Ossetia and Abkhazia fully independent from Georgia. Tensions between Russia and NATO-friendly Georgia continue to this day, and might also be deeply complicated by any conflict that breaks out between the US and nearby Iran.

Mr. Rogozin, the Russian deputy prime minister, when asked to clarify his earlier comment that war against Iran would create a threat to Russia's national security, told journalists Tuesday that "any ratcheting up of tensions on Iran can bring nothing useful, it would lead to a catastrophe in the region.... Russia is doing everything it can from the point of view of diplomacy to resolve the conflict," he added.


Georgia Warns Against ‘Offensive’ Russian Exercise

Russia’s South Strategic Command is planning the exercise ‘Caucasus 2012’ in September. Foreign military attaches were briefed about the exercise at a meeting in Moscow last December with the head of the Russian military’s chief of staff. It will involve not only army but also border guards, air force, interior ministry, security and emergency services, as well as what is called the Air Defense Force Management System.

This air defense system controls not only Russian skies but also covers the South Caucasus, justified by the need to protect the Russian base in Armenia, Nezavisimaia Gazeta reports. According to Russian defense sources, unlike in previous exercised, this year it will also take place inside Georgia’s breakaway regions, Abkhazia and the South Ossetia, as well as in Armenia. Georgia’s Foreign Ministry warned Tuesday that the exercise is offensive in nature and a provocation meant to stoke ‘permanent tension’ in Georgia and the Black Sea region.

“The international community should pay attention to the fact that the Russian foreign policy is not changed. It continues aggressive actions, including demonstrating military forces and provocations. Russia is the source of destabilization and negative events on the international arena,” the statement says. But Nezavisimaia Gazeta reports that the background for the exercise is increased tension in the Persian Gulf and the danger of a U.S.-Israeli attack on Iran and that this would necessitate steps to protect the Russian troops stationed around the Caucasus region.


Military Buildup: Russia’s Top Secret Bases

Over 400 modern ground- and sea-based ICBMs, 8 ballistic missile submarines, about 20 general purpose attack submarines, over 50 surface ships and some 100 military-purpose spacecraft, over 600 modern aircraft, including fifth-generation fighters, more than a thousand helicopters, 28 regimental sets of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems, 38 division sets of Vityaz air defense systems, 10 brigade sets of Iskander-M tactical missile systems, more than 2,300 modern tanks, some 2,000 self-propelled artillery systems and guns, and more than 17,000 military vehicles. These are the figures of the massive rearmament program announced by Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin in an article published on February 20 by state-owned newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

The article, titled “Being Strong is a Guarantee of Russia’s National Security,” shows Putin’s determination to preserve Russia’s deterrence power facing US plains aimed at achieving nuclear primacy. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the gap between Russia’s declining arsenal and US constantly improving systems is actually increasing to the point of making the age of MAD nearing an end. Nevertheless, Russian nuclear deterrent is still formidable, as Moscow can count on more than 2,000 operational strategic warheads deployed along the entire territory of the federation and the seas plowed by the submarines of the Russian Navy. But what is more, in case of nuclear crisis Russia can still rely on several top secret bases inherited by the Soviet Union, and not only.

Russia’s national command and control system is dispersed among different hardened underground locations. According to US sources, two of the main secret bases are located in the Ural Mountains, where conventionally European Russia ends and greater Siberia begins. The first one is the Yamantau Mountain complex. Located near the closed town of Mezhgorye, in the Republic of Bashkortostan, this site is not far from Russia’s main nuclear weapons lab facility, Chelyabinsk-70. Military analysts suspect that Yamantau’s huge 400-square-mile underground complex houses nuclear warhead and missile storage sites, launch control and several full-blown nuclear weapons factories designed to continue production after a hypothetical nuclear war begins.

The second secret base in the Urals is an underground command and control center located at the Kosvinsky Mountain, about 850 miles east of Moscow. The site hosts the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces alternate command post, a deep underground command post for the general staff built to compensate for the vulnerability of older command posts in the Moscow region. The facility, finished in early 1996, was designed to resist US earth-penetrating warheads and is the Russian version of the American Cheyenne Mountain Complex.

Besides Yamantau Mountain and the Kosvinsky Mountain underground complex, Russia can still count on the Sherapovo bunker site, south of Moscow. Initially built in the 1950s, it was the primary command center for the Soviet leadership. The Kremlin is connected to Sherapovo and other bunkers by a secret subway line. According to a 1988 Pentagon report, once at Sherapovo, the Soviet leaders could have conduct a nuclear war by sending orders and receiving reports through a highly redundant communications system. Russia’s general staff has a similar facility some 20 kilometers away from Sherapovo, known as Chekhov. Both sites can accommodate an estimated 30,000 people each one.

Although Russia has tried to keep secrecy about its underground bases, information about these sites have circulated anyway. According to a CIA report, “the command post at Kosvinsky appears to provide the Russians with the means to retaliate against a nuclear attack.” The construction of the facility has actually helped Moscow to counterbalance the decline of its nuclear forces following the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. In this sense, the existence itself of top secret bases within the territory of the Russian Federation is the best means of deterrence against any first strike intention, and thereby a warranty to world peace.

Armenia Ready to Provide Site for Russian Radar

If Russia fails to agree with Azerbaijan lease of the Gabala missile defense radar, Armenia is ready to provide a site on its territory for construction of the radar, Kommersant daily reported on Wednesday, quoting Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan. “There may even be advantages, because Aremenia is a mountainous country. Coverage can be broader,” Sargsyan said.

Russia has been in talks with Azerbaijan to extend the lease of the Soviet-era radar, which it has operated in line with a 2002 deal. The current agreement is due to expire on December 24. The Russian daily Kommersant newspaper reported in late February that Azerbaijan had demanded Russia pay $300 million instead of the previously agreed $7 million for the lease, which Russia is seeking to extend until 2025.

Sources in the Russian Defense Ministry were quoted as saying the price demanded by Baku was “unreasonably high.” The deputy director of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis, Alexander Khramchikhin, has said the end of the Gabala radar lease will do no “real damage” to Russia’s defense capabilities because another radar, constructed in the southern Russian town of Armavir, would cover the area of the Gabala radar.

The Voronezh-class radar in Armavir in the Black Sea area is currently operating in test mode and is a serious breakthrough when compared to the previous generation Dnepr and Daryal class radars, which the Gabala radar belongs to.


Russian radar in Armenia to block an US/Israeli strike on Iran from the north

Moscow has stepped into the vacuum created by US President Barack Obama’s decision to stay out of any potentially incendiary Middle East involvement while campaigning for a second term. After blocking the way to direct Western and Arab military intervention in Syria through the Mediterranean, Russia sent its Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last week on a round trip to the capitals of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan – an expedition designed to secure Iran against a potential US/Israeli attack via its northern and eastern neighbors, debkafile’s military sources report.

On his return to Moscow, April 6, the Russian army let it be known that highly-advanced mobile S-400 surface-to-air missiles had been moved into Kaliningrad, the Baltic enclave bordered by Poland and Lithuania, its response to US plans for an anti-Iran missile shield system in Europe and the Middle East. In Yerevan, the Russian minister finalized a deal for the establishment of an advanced Russian radar station in the Armenian mountains to counter the US radar set up at the Turkish Kurecik air base, our sources disclose.

Just as the Turkish station (notwithstanding Ankara’s denials) will trade data on incoming Iranian missiles with the US station in the Israeli Negev, the Russian station in Armenia will share input with Tehran.Moscow remains deeply preoccupied in Syria, successfully fending off Western and Arab pressure against its ruler Bashar Assad. debkafile’s sources hear that Assad will not meet the April 10 deadline for moving his heavy armor and battalions out of Syrian cities. Monday, April 8, he sent his foreign minister Walid Moallem to Moscow for instructions for getting him off the hook of failing to comply with his commitment to the UN envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan, starting with a truce.Lavrov, rather than US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is evidently regarded these days as the senior Middle East power broker.

In a thumbs-down on Russia’s deepening footstep in the region, the London-based Saudi Sharq al Awsat captioned a Sunday op-ed item, “Nor do we want a ‘Sheikh’ Lavrov.”For the first time since the Cold War ended, the management of a major world crisis has passed into the hands of the Kremlin in Moscow and the UN Secretariat in New York.Weeping crocodile tears, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Saturday that the April 10 date for a Syrian truce “was not an excuse for continued killing” by the Syrian regime, ignoring the fact that “the continued killing” could have been avoided were it not for the strategy pursued by Kofi Annan, the special envoy he shares with the Arab League, with Moscow’s back-stage wire-pulling.

This is because President Barak Obama is advised by his campaign strategists that the way to the American voter’s heart in November is through burnishing his image as a “balanced and responsible” multinational diplomat, in contrast with his Republican rivals’ hawkish support of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program. In the case of Syria, the White House finds itself on the same side as the UN and the Kremlin. They all share the common goal of obstructing Western and Arab military intervention in Syria at all costs.

Hundreds of Syrian protesters are still paying the price in blood - although its dimensions of the butchery are frequently exaggerate by the opposition. After brutalizing his population for thirteen months, Bashar Assad is more or less on top of the revolt in Syria’s main cities, excepting the Idlib province and one or two pockets in and around Homs. He used the extra days afforded him by Kofi Annan’s deadline for the ruthless purge of the last remnants of resistance in small towns and villages, cetain that Moscow, the UN secretary - and Washington, by default - would do nothing to stop him.

Should current circumstances shoot off in unforeseen directions – for instance, a Syrian government poison chemical or biological weapon attack causing hundreds of dead, over and above the 9,000 confirmed by UN figures – Obama might be forced to resort to limited military action, pulling in the Turkish army. This has not yet happened. That the Russians are not letting the grass grow under their feet, turning Middle East bushfires to their advantage and closing one American Middle East option after another, appears to be a minor consideration in Washington up until November.


Russian Black Sea Fleet and the Air Force Su-27 fighters will be stationed in Abkhazia

According to Itar-Tassy, Russia and the Republic of Abkhazia are in the a national consultation to establish military bases, and soon to sign a formal agreement. The Republic of Abkhazia report quoted presidential spokesman Kulisidi Yang’s words, “Last year, Abkhazia and Russia signed a” friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance agreement ‘, according to this agreement, the two being set up two military bases in Abkhazia to conduct consultations, according to the current situation of the talks in the next few months will be reached in the Abkhazia region of Bohm Bor Gudauta Chomsky and the establishment of the Russian Air Force base in the establishment of the Russian naval base in Ochamchira agreement currently being conducted on a number of technical issues final consultation. “Kulisidi Yang said, the main naval base Ochamchira Russian Black Sea Fleet deployment forces, the Air Force base area than Gudauta naval base early in use. According to Russian sources, Russia hopes to deploy in Abkhazia, including the Su-27 fighters, Su-25 bombers and military transport aircraft, including 20 aircraft.

reported that during the Soviet era, Soviet Air Force fighters, bombers and transport aircraft have deployed in the Bohm Bor Sharansky airport. According to the agreement signed between the two countries in 2008, will be built up in Abkhazia and 3,700 in the Russian Air Force bases. Bohm Bor Chomsky airport is the Black Sea coastal areas important military objectives is the largest military airfield outside the Caucasus. Russian Air Force deployed in the cluster do not need here costs too much, because there have the necessary ground support facilities. Bohm Bor Chomsky airport runway length of aircraft movements is 4 km, has to accept all types of fighters and military transport aircraft capacity.

According to reports, the Russian military bases in Abkhazia, Georgia has aroused anxiety.


Russia Tries to Undermine Javakheti

Soon, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will be complete. The line passes through the Javakheti region of Georgia before entering Turkey. This is the same area where Moscow is trying to undermine the sovereignty and people of Georgia, hoping to inspire the ethnic Armenia population to declare yet another "independent state" on Georgian territory.

According to a Russian newspaper, the ethnic Armenian population in the region wants to separate from Georgia and declare its independence. The paper names Georgia’s efforts to join NATO as the major reason for their complaint, as when Georgia is granted membership it will "automatically" become a major Turkish ally, which is supposedly unacceptable to the Armenian population in Javakheti. This is the opinion of Agas Aramyan, the leader of an organization called Javakhk Diaspora in Russia, but not necessarily that of the people living in the region itself.

So far, such provocative statements had been ignored by the Georgian leadership. But on Monday, Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze deigned to comment, saying that ethnic conflicts in Georgia are in the interests of the Russian Federation. She also mentioned that Armenia successfully cooperates with NATO. But the idea of separatism is still promoted by certain forces supported by the Kremlin, which is actively trying to implement this project.

Officially, Yerevan is taking a wise policy. The government there has not made any anti-Georgian statements; on the contrary, it is trying to develop good neighbourly relations between the two states. This position is shared by the Georgian side as well, as these countries are fated to be neighbours forever – thus it is in our mutual interest to preserve good relations.


Turkey's Neo-Ottoman Foreign Policy

How does Turkey’s ruling Islamist party react when it gets a report it doesn't like from the United Nations? By yanking diplomats, threatening military conflict with a neighbor, and menacingly eyeing that neighbor's new yield of natural resources. If the General Assembly ever does something really provocative and votes on a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide or the right of Kurdish self-determination, you can bet that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will make the prison guard in "Midnight Express" look like Florence Nightingale.

Reacting to the leaked UN Palmer Report on the 2010 flotilla fiasco, which found that Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip is legal and that the passengers aboard the "Mavi Marmara" were cruising for a bruising, Erdogan’s government has taken to issuing thuggish pronunciamentos. At issue is the fact that Israel refused to apologize to Turkey for killing nine Turkish nationals in the Mediterranean. Israel reckons that to do so would be an insult to the commandos who abseiled onto the "Mavi Marmara" only to be bludgeoned, stabbed, and shot.

Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) has tried to have it both ways on the flotilla. It banned its own members from participating in order to distance itself from what was obviously a blockade-running provocation. Yet ranking AKP members are on the board of IHH, the Turkish "charity" that organized the event.

Anatolian Chest-Poundings

And Erdogan's refusal to let the 2011 flotilla start out from Istanbul -- at the urging of Washington -- complicates the government's claims of having no control over a supposedly independent NGO. Needless to say, bilateral relations with Israel have gone from lousy to dire. “The eastern Mediterranean will no longer be a place where Israeli naval forces can freely exercise their bullying practices against civilian vessels,” one Turkish official said, promising a military escort for all future “aid” ships to Gaza -- assuming, that is, that these ships can outfox the savvy Israeli lawyers who made the sequel set-sail a busted flush.

From the sound of it, Turkey now wants to become the chief maritime bully. Part and parcel with its “more aggressive strategy” in the eastern Mediterranean is its attempt to stop Israel from mining its huge natural gas and oil fields, recent discoveries which some experts predict will make the Jewish state one of the largest -- and wealthiest -- energy exporters in the world. The threat by a NATO member to skirmish on the high seas with a major U.S. ally follows other Anatolian chest-poundings.

Earlier in the week, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, whose foreign policy vision used to be known as “no problems with the neighbors,” announced that Ankara would be expelling all Israeli Embassy officials above the rank of second secretary. Erdogan wants to visit Gaza in the coming days to increase “international attention” on Israel’s siege of the strip. This from the man who previously said that he doesn’t think Hamas is a terrorist group. Erdogan's visit is sure to impress upon Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas which party the AKP would like see ruling the Palestinian state the UN is about to recognize.

A Dirty Little Secret

Finally, Erdogan vowed to suspend all military relations and defense industry trade between Turkey and Israel. Years ago, this might have been significant. Yet here’s a dirty little secret: Greece, which diplomatically facilitated the second flotilla’s deep-sixing, is fast replacing Turkey as Israel’s favorite regional military partner.

Not only is flight distance between Israel and Greece the same as that between Israel and Iran, but the Hellenes have got S-300 antiaircraft missiles that the mullahs have been itching to buy from Russia in order to deter an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Joint Israeli-Greek military exercises are therefore seen as very valuable at the moment. The Israelis and Palestinians have had their share of Turkish strong-arming, but so have the Syrians.

Indeed, the reason that a Syrian National Council was hastily announced on Al-Jazeera late last month, following weeks of oppositionist wrangling and backbiting at a conference in Istanbul, is that a faction of Syrian youth activists had grown tired of seeing the AKP trying to make their revolution a Muslim Brotherhood-led affair. (What better way to minimize the Islamists than to propose a secular French sociologist chairman of a Syrian National Council, as a group of youth activists did last month?)

Erdogan did happy business with Bashar al-Assad while he could, but he now wants to make sure that any post-Assad state consists of loyal Sunni ideologues. That'd be one way to undercut Iran’s influence in the Middle East, and never mind that the people bleeding and dying in Syria are mostly apolitical kids who don’t trust neo-Ottoman power brokers any more than they do former regime apologists.

Turkish intelligence and the Muslim Brotherhood are also trying to co-opt the Syrian Free Army of rebel soldiers, according to Syrian sources. "They are the only ones connected to them," one opposition activist told me recently. "I'd rather the Syrian Free Army connect to the CIA. Tell your NATO friends that I extend them an open invitation to Syria."

Michael Weiss is the communications director of The Henry Jackson Society, a foreign policy think tank based in London. The views expressed in this commentary are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of RFE/RL


Turkish Factor: Moscow conference reviews geopolitical threats and dynamics in Mideast and former Soviet space

Turkish Factor: Moscow conference reviews geopolitical threats and dynamics in Mideast and former Soviet space

The Turkish factor in the Middle East and post-Soviet countries was the main issue of research at the conference held at Moscow’s Strategic Research Center recently. Expert in Turkish studies Ruben Safrastyan says Russia has concerns over the Turkish factor and is trying to define its role in the region. “The conference was the first step that will lead to a closer investigation of Turkey’s role in geopolitical developments and, most importantly, what threats the Turkish factor is posing,” says Safrastyan, head of the Institute of Eastern Studies at the RA National Academy of Sciences, who participated in the conference.

He says after the collapse of the Soviet Union scientific relations between Russia and Armenia had seen a decline. However, today, when Moscow is becoming an extremely important factor in the Middle East, the mutual ties in the sphere are being resumed and strengthened. At the conference the Institutes of Eastern Studies of both countries’ National Academies of Sciences signed agreements. Safrasyan says the conference will become a fulcrum for enhancing cooperation with Russian institutes in particular, which has to do with the Russia’s activated regional politics.

Twelve reports were presented on how the Turkish factor influences many countries’ domestic political affairs, among them Georgia and Azerbaijan. By a number of reports, experts from different countries clearly demonstrated Turkey’s backstage activities. In his report Safrastyan touched upon the Turkish factor, structure and dynamics, stressing that Turkey had intruded into South Caucasus. After the collapse of Soviet Union it has shifted its policy and has been following it in relations with Russia, Middle East and CIS countries.

“The Turkish factor has turned into Turkish expansion by peaceful means and spreading of pan-Turkism and Islamism,” he says. “Turkey has started consolidating its positions in the geopolitical struggle. However, in most cases, those positions do not match with the ones it actually has. The next couple of years will show whether Turkey will remain within its frame or will go beyond it and by doing so pose a threat to geopolitical processes. ”

Safrastyan stresses that the Turkish factor has to be thoroughly researched, and measures taken, to prevent it from strengthening. He does not rule out Turkey’s potential military involvement in Syrian affairs, which would endanger the Syrian Armenian community.

“If hostilities burst out in Iran Turkey might be part of it as well. This fits into the so-called “trade relations” with the United States” the main purpose of which is to keep the United States from using the word ‘genocide’,” he says. In his report Safrastyan raised an issue, saying that although Russia had long recognized the Armenian Genocide however was lagging behind France which is trying to adopt the law on criminalizing genocide denial. “The key message was that Russia, too, has to start a similar process,” he says. “A number of countries are following the evolution of the issue, so if France passes the bill, quite possible, that several European countries might accede as well.”

The Azeri press, particularly the online newspaper, covering Safrastyan’s Moscow report, qualified it as “an attempt to drive a wedge between Turkey and Russia.”


Whoever Opposes Azerbaijan is Georgia’s ‘Enemy,’ Says Saakashvili

In discussing “problems” Georgia and Azerbaijan share with “unresolved conflicts,” Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said “whoever opposes Azerbaijan” is Georgia’s “enemy.” In an interview published in a special issue of The Business Year magazine devoted to Azerbaijan, the Georgian leader described the relationship between the two countries as a strategic partnership.

“Georgia and Azerbaijan should stand side by side, taking into account our geographic position and common history. We share a common vision, we have strong ties. I am convinced that our countries will be able to create a better future through unity, good relationships and shared success. Both our states have serious problems with regard to unresolved conflicts, and whoever opposes Azerbaijan and Georgia is an enemy of both our countries. Our strength lies in unity, and this is not just words, but reality,” he stressed.

“In recent years Georgian-Azerbaijani relations have reached their peak, and we will continue to work in this direction. Undoubtedly, the foundation of these relations was laid by Heydar Aliyev, and we seek to maintain this trend in the future. Thanks to the incredible efforts of President Ilham Aliev, our ties are constantly strengthening. We are absolutely convinced that this relationship will contribute to stability and the development of our region. I am convinced that this is a new start of the great partnership of friendship and brotherhood,” Saakashvili said.

Azerbaijani-Georgian friendship has a long history and has stood the test of time, the Georgian leader continued. “In January 2008, when Georgia was left without electricity or gas, for reasons still not clear to me, Azerbaijan helped the Georgian people in that cold winter though it had to cut gas supplies to its own population. Georgia will never forget this help of the Azerbaijani people. We will not forget this help because it was provided in the most difficult time for Georgians. And it’s not just the result of a strategic partnership, but also a symbol of our brotherhood. In fact, we have established federal links. The two countries have no problems,” the head of the Georgian state said.

Speaking about successful joint projects, the president highlighted the importance of the construction of the railway from Baku via Tbilisi to Kars in Turkey. This project demonstrates geopolitical transformation in the region, as “a completely new strategic relationship is created not only between Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, but also with Central Asia, China and Europe”. “In essence, this is a modern version of the Silk Road. This project will certainly guarantee the successful long-term development of our countries. Our relationship is more than just a regular connection. Georgia and Azerbaijan have been friendly countries for many years,” Saakashvili said.


Georgia’s Chokehold on Armenia Reaches Critical Level

While Armenian news media outlets have been concentrating on the French Senate action criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide, closer to home relations with neighboring Georgia are causing heartaches for citizens and government officials alike. Relations are tense, to say the least. Georgian authorities are cognizant that they have the upper hand in their bilateral relations with Armenia; they are using that advantage to help tighten the noose which Azerbaijan and Turkey have put in place through their blockade. That policy is nothing less than the continuation of the Genocide by squeezing Armenia out of existence.

By virtue of its NATO ambitions, the Tbilisi government is doing anything and everything to ingratiate itself to Ankara and Baku. Unfortunately, Armenia is at the receiving end of that policy. Georgian actions have bearings on three different areas: a) regional politics, b) domestic abuses of human rights in Georgia and c) a planned depopulation program in Javakhk. Because of the blockade, Armenia is restricted in its access to the outside world, which impacts negatively on its economic development.

One outlet for Armenian is Iran, which remains precarious, because of sanctions and threats against that country by the United States and the European Union. In the event of a conflagration, Armenia will be devastated. The other outlet is, of course, Georgia. The Tbilisi government is using that leverage against Armenia cynically.

Every excuse is being used to restrict the movements of people and goods to the outside world through Georgian territory: road conditions, weather, tense relations with Russia, etc. Recently many citizens of Armenia were stranded on the Georgian borders with Turkey and Russia because of weather conditions. Their ungraceful Georgian hosts took the opportunity to impose exorbitant taxes on those citizens. These seem minor issues, but many Armenians travel to Turkey through Georgia to bring goods for sale to Armenia in order to provide for their families.

But besides such low-level harassments, high political games are at play. At one point, Mikheil Saakashvili’s government toyed with the idea of a federation with Azerbaijan to further strangulate Armenia. During his last visit to Baku, the Georgian president assured President Ilham Aliyev that Georgia would side with Azerbaijan should a war break out. The only problem that Azerbaijan has at this moment is with Armenia (if we discount the late president of Azerbaijan Abulfez Elchibey’s dream to wrest Northern Azerbaijan from Iran).

To add insult to injury, recently Georgia’s deputy speaker of the parliament, Friton Dotvan, announced in Baku that “Azerbaijan and Georgia will return their occupied territories, because those are their own.” The reference is, of course, to Nagorno Karabagh, which is being equated to South Ossetia and Abkhazia, all casualties of reckless actions of war-mongering leaders in Georgia and Azerbaijan.

The next level of political harassment in Georgia is against citizens of Armenian origin. For centuries, Tbilisi had been a hub of Armenian culture. Georgian jealousy has reduced that community to a shell of its former self and that discriminatory policy is still on-going. Armenians are not only being denied equal economic opportunities under different, at times cryptic statutes, but their schools are forced to close down and their churches are being usurped and re-consecrated as Georgian churches.

In 2009, the 14th-century St. Kevork of Mughni Church collapsed; despite repeated requests to the government to shore up the building before the collapse, the government took no steps to help. The Georgian authorities have yet to make good on their promises to rebuild the church. At this time, the destiny of St. Nishan Church in Tbilisi is at stake. Recently an “accidental” fire broke out, causing the collapse of one wall. In the late 19th century, there were 29 active Armenian churches in Tbilisi; today there are only two. St. Nishan is among the six Armenian churches claimed by the Georgian Orthodox Church. During the visit of Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II to Georgia both President Saakashvili and Patriarch Illya II had promised to resolve the contentious issue, which to this date remains unattended.

The Georgian government, in its desire to join NATO and the European Union, had promised to discontinue trampling minority rights. One of the issues the Georgian government had pledged to HH Karekin II and the international community was to recognize minority churches as legal entities. Now that issue has turned out to be a catch-22. The legalization of the Armenian Church in Georgia has been tied to the legalization of the Georgian Church in Armenia, where there is no restriction whatsoever, not only for different religious groups, but even fanatical sects. But it turns out that the Georgian Church does not intend to take the initiative to seek legal status in Armenia, thus leaving the legal status of the Armenian Church in Georgia in limbo, because of a lack of reciprocation.

Every day a new scandal breaks out, forcing the Armenians to forget the existing ones. The most recent scandal is the potential sale of the poet Hovhanness Toumanyan’s Tbilisi house which in 1899 was baptized as Vernadoon, where writers, poets, artists, editors gathered rendering it a hearth of Armenian culture. Writers Ghazaros Aghayan, Avedik Issahakian, Levon Shant, Derenik Temirjian and others have been permanent guests. In the 1930s, Toumanian’s descendants had turned over the house to the government of Soviet Georgia, including a valuable research library. After taking over that cultural sanctuary the Soviet government of Georgia had put it to “good use” by converting it to a macaroni storage. And today, the democratic government of Georgia has put the facility for sale and the buyer is a Turkish-Georgian company, which intends to convert it into a hostel for Turkish guest laborers. Armenians in Armenia and Georgia are appalled and they are trying to salvage that cultural icon.

The third level of pressure is on Javakhk Armenians. Javakhk is a historic Armenian territory that fell into Georgian hands during political upheavals in the region, before the region’s absorption into the Soviet Union. The Russian government maintained a military base in Javakhk. Armenians depended heavily on the base for economic sustenance and for security guarantees. Moscow decided to evacuate the base prematurely, driven by its own political motivation, leaving the Armenian community to the tender mercy of the Georgians.

Javakhk is a depressed economic area. There are no proper roads, living conditions are substandard and the authorities manipulate the situation in such a way that the condition of the Armenians is further aggravated. Political activists like Vahakn Chakhalian are jailed, organizations are banned in this country, which is a darling of the West for its openness and transparency. There is yet another threat hanging over the heads of the Armenians; the Tbilisi government is planning to resettle in Javakhk Turkish Metzkets exiled to Central Asia by Stalin. That will further exacerbate the ethnic tensions in the region, which is the intention of successive Georgian administrations.

Anti-Armenian policies in Javakhk are so strong now that they don’t even allow textbooks from Armenia to be used by Armenian students there. What is the Armenian government doing to confront these provocations? Unfortunately, Yerevan’s hands are tied; first, Armenia does not wish to jeopardize its access to the outside world through Georgia. And then, the leaders in Armenia remember that history repeats itself. We are at a political juncture where we were during the first independent republic (1918-20). Armenia cannot confront its hostile neighbors on three sides.

Recently, Minister of Culture Hasmik Poghosian gave an interview citing all these problems and highlighting the importance of Georgian-Armenian relations. She has dispatched a commission to study the situation in Georgia and seek solutions. That very much outlines the position of the government, which soft-pedals all relations with Georgia. Following the visits of Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian and even President Serge Sargisian, similar pronouncements were made. A deceptive formula is being promoted to hide the intentions and grievances of both sides that there are no problems between the two countries that cannot be solved.
We need to be aware, however, that not only are the issues not being solved, but that Georgia is able to easily apply more pressure to keep up its chokehold, its political fig leaf not withstanding.


What Does 'Confederation' Mean In The South Caucasus?

On July 18, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili met with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, in Batumi and mentioned the idea of a “confederation” between the two countries. The phrase quickly got people wondering what exactly the president had in mind. Analysts have been raising questions and offering ideas ever since.

Journalists and political commentators from the countries of the South Caucasus have examined the idea (whether they endorse it or not) in the context of confrontational geopolitics. In August, Russia and Armenia agreed to extend the pact on the presence of Russian military bases in Armenia until 2044. At the same time, they expanded the format of bilateral military cooperation: henceforth Russia is obliged to defend Armenia from any external threat, which Yerevan expects primarily from Azerbaijan. In short, Armenia has become an even closer Russian ally than it was previously.

The discussion of a possible Georgia-Azerbaijan confederation was immediately placed in the traditional context of the “vertical” axis of Russia-Armenia (and, possibly, Iran) and the “horizontal” axis of Georgia and Azerbaijan (and, possibly, Turkey). And they don’t forget overseas allies, asserting that, of course, the idea of a confederation comes from Washington and is aimed at containing Russia. In a nutshell, after the failed Turkish-Armenian rapprochement, everything has come back to its place: we loved to talk about all these things back in the 1990s. But what concrete political and legal steps would be necessary to realize this “confederation” project? I haven’t heard anything specific about this yet.

First, let’s take a look at exactly what Saakashvili said, some two months ago. “A few years back I said that we must form confederative relations,” Saakashvili said. “In fact, relations between our countries are far beyond the relations that two countries ordinarily have. We are a continuation of one another.” In short, the Georgia-Azerbaijan confederation, according to the president, is not a project for the future, but a description of the present. That is, the term shouldn’t be viewed in strictly legalistic terms, but as a rhetorical figure of speech that signifies “particularly close relations between countries.”

What’s more, people in the president’s entourage insist that the same could be said of Georgia-Armenia relations: there as well, the level of closeness is very high. Of course, the Armenian side welcomes the use of this term (even rhetorically) considerably less. To be sure, it would be hypocritical to speak about an equivalence between Georgia-Azerbaijan and Georgia-Armenia relations. Under the circumstances of the cold war with Russia, Georgia can’t be pleased by the intensification of Russia-Armenia military cooperation. There’s no getting around that.

Enemies And Friends

Nonetheless, neither Georgia nor Armenia would benefit from drawing strict geopolitical conclusions from the two clear facts that Russia and Georgia are enemies, while Russia and Armenia are allies. Likewise, Russia and Azerbaijan do not intend to become enemies just because Azerbaijan and Armenia are enemies and Armenia and Russia are allies. The geopolitical formula that the “friend of my enemy is my enemy” does not apply in the Caucasus today. And thank God.

Since the August 2008 war with Russia, Georgia has placed more significance on regional relations and has actively sought to intensify ties with all the countries of the region without regard for their relations with one another. There is an element of competition with Russia in this. Russia’s policy of not recognizing the Saakashvili government is an effort to isolate Georgia internationally. Moscow wants not only to undermine Tbilisi’s support in the West, but also to exclude Georgia from regional connections.

Saakashvili is taking countermeasures, so far generally with success. Of course, one can always argue about what “success” means, but under the present circumstances Georgia views any sign of warming relations with the countries of the region as a success - and, at the same time, as a failure for Russia.

Russia is actively working to draw Azerbaijan into its sphere of influence with various economic projects. While Turkey and Armenia were flirting under Western patronage and Azerbaijan felt forgotten and rejected by its closest friends -- Ankara and Washington -- it seemed that some sort of geopolitical shift was possible. But the accelerated construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad and new steps toward realizing the Nabucco pipeline project show that the Georgia-Azerbaijan-Turkey axis of cooperation is still functioning. It is such projects most of all that are the real content of the rhetorical term “confederation.”

But, on the other hand, the opening in March of the Russia-Georgia border crossing at Verkhny Lars is not a sign of the warming of Russian-Georgian relations (as Western experts want to believe). It is an expression of Armenia-Georgia cooperation, since that road is needed most of all by Armenia. What difference does it make whether such a friendship is or is not called a "confederation?"


Global Insights: U.S. Must Strengthen Ties With Azerbaijan

This month marks the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and the post-Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, a country that is currently playing a vital role in sustaining NATO forces in Afghanistan, supporting Georgia and other U.S. friends in Eurasia, and helping to moderate Iranian and Russian ambitions in the energy-rich Caspian Basin region. But Washington needs to prioritize its ties with Baku to strengthen the partnership and to make sure that Azerbaijan and its fragile neighbors in the geopolitically vital South Caucasus region remain strong and stable.

Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Azerbaijan was among the first countries to offer the United States unconditional support in the war against terrorism, opening its airspace to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Since then, its airbases have provided landing and refueling support for U.S. military transports to Afghanistan. Azerbaijan has also assumed a lead role in allowing NATO countries to deliver material to their troops in Afghanistan through the Northern Distribution Network, which passes through its territory.

More quietly, Azerbaijan is helping to prevent Iran from expanding its influence in Eurasia. Located on Iran’s northern border, Azerbaijan is understandably leery of a direct confrontation with Tehran, in part because of concerns over Iran’s large population of ethnic Azeris as well as Iran’s illicit subversive activities in Azerbaijan. But behind the scenes, Azerbaijan is providing the United States and Israel with intelligence on Iran’s nuclear activities. And Israel recently announced a major arms deal with Azerbaijan designed to bolster their mutual security.

Baku has even sought to reduce tensions between Washington and Moscow over the issue of ballistic missile defense to counter the Iranian missile threat by offering them both shared use of the Russian military radar installation based in Gabala. As U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rubin correctly put it after talks last month with Azeri officials in Baku, “Azerbaijan is with us” on the Iranian issue.

Meanwhile, when it comes to European energy security, not only does Azerbaijan export enormous amounts of natural gas from its own production, but it also serves as a vital land corridor for Caspian and Central Asian energy deliveries to our European allies. These deliveries decrease Europeans dependence on Russian and Iranian energy sources and also help reduce the cost of U.S. energy imports by dampening the effect of Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz or curtail its own oil exports. U.S. energy firms have a major presence in Azerbaijan’s energy sector thanks to the government’s preferential treatment of U.S. energy companies. This partnership has helped propel the country’s GDP from $1.2 billion in 1992 to $54.4 billion.

Azerbaijan was recently elected to serve as a nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council. Already its diplomats have supported U.S. efforts, opposed by Russia and China, to force the brutal Syrian government to end its killing of innocent civilians. In the next two years, the United States could conceivably need Azerbaijan’s support in future votes -- to impose additional sanctions on Iran, for instance, or to roll back North Korea’s nuclear program.

One means to ensure that the U.S.-Azerbaijani strategic partnership remains solid is to help resolve Azerbaijan’s territorial dispute with its western neighbor, Armenia. The two countries fought a brutal war in the early 1990s over the breakaway separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a conflict that continues to fester: Nagorno-Karabakh’s status remains uncertain and both nations confront each other in a dangerous face-off that periodically flares into violent military skirmishes along the border.

Azerbaijan has used some of its energy riches to build a powerful military that many experts believe could forcefully seize the disputed territories, which in addition to Nagorno-Karabakh include adjacent Azerbaijani territory currently occupied by Armenian troops. Although Azerbaijani officials have emphasized that they would like to settle this dispute through peaceful means -- perhaps within a comprehensive framework that would also achieve a normalization of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey -- they have indicated that they cannot accept the status quo indefinitely. The 2008 Georgia War shows how these supposed “frozen conflicts” in the former Soviet Union can abruptly thaw and explode.

Fortunately, the United States has strong ties with Armenia, another good friend of the West. Like Azerbaijan and Georgia, Armenia participates in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program and contributes troops to NATO missions, including in Kosovo and Afghanistan. And the United States provides democracy assistance and other aid to Armenia.

In October 2009, Armenia and Turkey signed an accord, brokered by the U.S., to establish diplomatic ties. The protocol, which called for the reopening of the countries’ border and would also work toward reducing tensions between the two countries, was the first major step toward reconciliation that Armenia and Turkey had taken in the past 16 years. The Armenian parliament approved the agree,emt within the timeframe cited in the documents, but the Turkish government is awaiting a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to do so.

The Obama administration should step up its efforts to promote a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement as a means to prevent any collateral damage to U.S. security and energy interests in Eurasia that would ensue from another Armenia-Azerbaijan war.

The current structure for seeking a negotiated settlement -- the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which includes the U.S., Russia, France and the OSCE -- has failed to make enduring progress despite more than a decade of efforts. The administration should appoint a high-level envoy of the sort that is routinely sent to the Middle East, to present concrete bridging proposals directly to the parties in conflict.

Congress can support this effort by repealing an outdated provision of the 1992 Freedom of Support Act (Section 907) (.pdf) that prohibits direct aid to Azerbaijan’s government. Whatever its value was in ending the original Nagorno-Karabakh war, the provision is now impeding U.S. diplomatic flexibility and weakening U.S. influence in both Armenia and Azerbaijan, including efforts to promote their democratic development and sustain their autonomy from foreign influence. With respect to democracy, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe states that Azerbaijan does not meet its criteria for free and fair elections. In addition, the U.S. State Department has been critical of the human rights situation in Azerbaijan. Sustained U.S. diplomatic engagement with Azerbaijan and the other South Caucasus governments could help overcome these deficiencies, which are unfortunately widespread in the post-Soviet states. It would also promote their political development and strategic autonomy.

Ideally, Congress and the administration should support a negotiated settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with financial and diplomatic support to both states, ranging from enhanced trade benefits to full-scale U.S. diplomatic representation to U.S. efforts to promote Armenian-Turkey reconciliation. Azerbaijan has shown its willingness to be a friend to Washington, and right now, America needs all the friends it can find in this strategic region.

Richard Weitz is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a World Politics Review senior editor. His weekly WPR column, Global Insights, appears every Tuesday.


Navy Special Ops Demos Training in Azerbaijan

The high-speed maneuvers off the coast of Baku similar to those Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike Jensen said special warfare combat crewman would use to evade enemy fire--highlighted a visit here by participants in the 2004 Joint Civilian Orientation Conference. Spinning "donuts" in the Caspian Sea aboard special warfare rigid inflatable boats provided a thrilling introduction to Navy special operations for a group of U.S. civilian leaders here June 9.

The U.S. civilians' visit here was part of their whirlwind visit this week to military sites to observe U.S. military operations and meet the men and women who carry them out. The conferees, from business, academia and local governments throughout the United States got a close-up view of cooperative training between U.S. Navy SEALS and their Azeri counterparts.

According to Army Brig. Gen. Thomas Csrnko commander of Special Operations Command Europe, the joint combined exercise is the part of an ongoing program to promote cooperation and understanding between the two countries' militaries. This was the third three-week training session between U.S. Navy SEAL Team 2's Hotel Platoon and Special Boat Team 20 from Little Creek Amphibious Base, Va., and the Azeri Navy's 641st Special Warfare Naval Unit, headquartered here.

Capt. 1st Rank Zaur Kaziyev, director of Azeri Naval Intelligence, told conference participants the training is "a big step forward" for Azerbaijan as it sets its sights on qualifying for NATO membership. The country currently participates in the Partnership for Peace program, which helps prepares countries meet NATO requirements. "This training forges friendships and enhances cooperation between Azerbaijan and the United States," Kaziyev said. "I hope to see more of it in the future."

Increased cooperation between the two countries is critical, explained Crsnko, as Azerbaijan gains strategic importance and becomes increasingly important to the stability of Eurasia. A pipeline that will transport oil from the country's largely untapped offshore reserves to Turkey is expected to be completed next year, and a gas pipeline is also under construction.

Petty Officer Nick Rappo said he's encouraged by the skill and motivation he's witnessed among the Azeri SEALS participating in the combined training qualities Csrnko said will become critical for them to protect their country's pipelines. "These guys are highly motivated and extremely eager to learn," Rappo said. "We've built a rapport and established a strong working relationship."

During their visit to the 641st Special Warfare Unit's training facility, U.S. civilian leaders witnessed snapshots of the cooperative training, including close-quarter combat drills and a stress course that requires shooters to race the clock as they move over, around and even under obstacles while engaging targets. The civilians also got the opportunity to live-fire U.S. special operations weapons, handle both U.S. and Azeri weaponry and communications equipment, and chat with the SEALS about their mission.

Jim Schloeman, president of the Transport Museum Association in St. Louis, Mo., called the opportunity to observe the training and ride in a rigid inflatable boat "awesome." "But it's really these guys who are awesome," he said. "I'm dazzled by these guys. I'm impressed that they're so unassuming, while it's obvious they have supreme confidence in their ability to do their jobs. That's pretty incredible."

Barbara Kellerman, director of research at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, called it "really stunning" to see the caliber of the Navy SEALS working with the Azeri Navy. Kellerman said her participation in the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference has opened her eyes to the magnitude of the U.S. military mission around the world. "I've never been as struck by the reach of the American military," she said.

But after visiting Navy SEALS here, Army National Guardsmen in Bosnia, and airmen at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Kellerman said she's particularly impressed by the professionalism of the U.S. armed forces as a whole something she said much of the American public doesn't fully appreciate. "A trip like this gives you a good appreciation of the armed forces both their reach and quality," agreed Carlos Saladrigas, chairman of Premiere American Bank in Miami. "It's been a truly incredible experience."



MPRI, Inc., Alexandria, Va., is being awarded a $19,000,000 not-to-exceed firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity contract to provide a laser marksmanship device/system to meet the training needs in basic rifle marksmanship and preliminary marksmanship instruction for the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve, U.S. Army National Guard and the Governments of Columbia and Azerbaijan. In addition, this contract provides for new equipment training and total system performance responsibility type warranty for up to three years per device. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Army ($5,707,000; 92 percent) and the Governments of Columbia ($631,550; 7 percent) and Azerbaijan ($86,418; 1 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Alexandria, Va., and is expected to be completed in September 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity (N61339-07-D-0007).


McCain and Lieberman Meet With Syrian Rebels

After months of advocating direct military intervention against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) have made a surprise trip to the Turkish-Syrian border to meet with leaders of the Free Syrian Army and visit Syrian refugees who have fled violence in their own country. The senators’ trip was strategically and politically planned. On the first official day of the ceasefire agreement brokered by UN envoy Kofi Annan to end attacks by government forces and halt the insurgency vying for international support, the visit is meant to give legitimacy to the Syrian opposition fighters and rally Washington to arm them. “We respect Mr. Annan’s desire to find an end to the killing in Syria.

Unfortunately, Bashar al-Assad does not share this goal. That fact has been clear to many of us for months, but it should now be undeniable for everyone,” the senators said. Their statement intentionally omits any mention of the fact that elements of the opposition have flouted and rejected Annan’s peace plan, refusing to cease violence. Other elements of the opposition – which is too fractured and unorganized to have a single voice – have rhetorically accepted Annan’s plan, while acting very differently. This, incidentally, precisely describes Assad’s approach, which the senators do not forget to mention.

Allying with the rebel fighters in a bid to oust the Assad regime is a grave mistake for the U.S. The opposition is unorganized, has itself committed serious crimes, and contains elements of religious extremists. Using them as a proxy to topple the Assad government, then, seems tactically impossible. It’s also strategically dangerous, considering they have no capacity to form a government post-Assad. Finally, ousting Assad fits rather conveniently into America’s imperial plans for the Middle East, especially since it would isolate Washington’s foremost enemy Iran.

But intervention would escalate killing. Syria, like Iraq after the American invasion, would likely descend into chaos. The U.S. and its allies – like the Assad regime – have endorsed the peace process, while refusing to halt their own reportedly non-lethal aid to the Syrian rebels. Such a policy is probably prolonging the conflict and was not authorized by Congress or any international body. This not only prolongs conflict, but opens the floodgates for yet another war of choice by the Obama administration.


Israeli Military Practicing for Military Occupation of Lebanon

Though most of the Israeli military’s efforts right now are focused on planning to attack Iran or planning another ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, units of ground troops are also being put through “special training,” according to officials, with an eye toward a military occupation of Lebanon. One of the top ranking officers involved said that in the next war Israel had to capture some territory because “this is the only way the concept of victory can be established.” The troops are being trained to operate as occupiers in populated areas. Which, since Israel has been occupying the West Bank since 1967 would be something the military is already familiar with. Officials, however, say a full-scale military occupation of Lebanon would require effort above and beyond the “patrols or raids on Palestinians” that the military is used to. The commander of the mission said a major goal is “to distinguish between militants and uninvolved civilians,” and said the soldiers would have to “use their discretion” on when to shoot apparent civilians.


Russia’s Gunboat Diplomacy: Russian Warships to Patrol Syria’s Coast?

On April 13, the Russian RIA Novosti news agency quoted a high-ranking source in the Russian defense ministry as saying, “A decision was made to deploy Russian warships near the Syrian shores on a permanent basis.” The source announced that Russia’s naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean had “nothing to do” with Syria. Russia’s naval maneuvering has everything to do with geopolitics. This news comes at a troubling time, as a fragile ceasefire holds in Syria. Russia, which acts as Syria’s political sugar daddy and weapons supplier, has continually vetoed attempted U.N. condemnations of the Bashar al-Assad regime’s bloody clampdown on the opposition.

There is practically nothing the Russian warships can do to save Assad. However, the continued naval presence sends a strong signal of a new geopolitical assertiveness and support for a regime that has lost all legitimacy on the international stage. This gunboat diplomacy is sure to aggravate the odd coalition of the U.S., the Europeans, the Gulf monarchies (including the powerful Saudi Arabia), and the Islamist forces (such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists) that are opposing the Assad regime. Perversely, Russia’s support for the Assad regime will further radicalize the Sunni Muslims in Russia, from the Northern Caucasus to Tatarstan, including radical Muslim communities called jama’ats in the Russian cities.

Together with Beijing, Russia has repeatedly torpedoed sanctions aimed at Damascus. Russia continues to arm Syria not just against its neighbors but also against a possible escalation in fighting. Since the Assad regime is broke, it appears that its friends in Tehran are picking up the tab. With President-elect Vladimir Putin about to take power in May, Russia is clearly ignoring the reset policy pushed forward by the Obama Administration and the outgoing president, Dmitry Medvedev. As Stephen Blank of the U.S. Army War College and I wrote in our Issue Brief “Reset Regret: Russian Global Strategy Undermines American Interests” last year:

Russia defends Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime despite its bloody repression of its own citizens. This is, among other reasons, because Russia has signed an agreement with Syria to return Soviet naval bases in Latakiye and Tartus to Russian control. Therefore, Russia obstructs U.N. resolutions of censure against Syria.… Despite the “reset,” it is in U.S. interests to find out to what degree Moscow orchestrates or participates in joint activities among these problematic states, including arms sales from Iran and Syria to Hamas and Hezbollah.… U.S. policymakers should reassess the “reset” and develop regional strategies that counter Russia’s (and China’s) agendas. Such policies should increase pressure on Iran, the most anti-American regional power, and [its satellite] the Assad regime in Syria.


Russian Warships to Patrol Syrian Coast

Russian warships will be continuously deployed for patrol duty off the Syrian coast in the Mediterranean, a high-ranking source in the Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday. “A decision has been made to deploy Russian warships near the Syrian shores on a permanent basis,” the source said. The Russian Kashin-class guided-missile destroyer Smetlivy is currently deployed near the Syrian coast. “Another Black Sea Fleet ship will replace the Smetlivy in May,” the source said, adding that several Russian warships were on their way to the Mediterranean. “This may be the Pytlivy frigate or one of the amphibious assault ships,” he said, adding that “deployment of a Black Sea Fleet task force to the region cannot be ruled out.”

The United States, France, Great Britain, Germany and some other countries have deployed more warships to the Mediterranean since the outbreak of unrest in Syria in February 2012. More than 9,000 people have been killed in the violence, according to the United Nations. On Thursday, the Syrian government declared a ceasefire with opposition fighters as part of a U.N.-brokered peace plan. The Russian military has repeatedly underscored the need for Russian warships to patrol the Mediterranean on a permanent basis. In Soviet days, up to 50 warships from the Fifth Squadron of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and other Soviet Navy units have been deployed in the Mediterranean on a permanent basis.

Over the winter months, a Russian task force, led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, has been deployed to the Mediterranean. The ships returned to the Russian Northern Fleet’s home base of Severomorsk in February, after two-month naval exercises. Other Russian ships currently on patrol duty in the Mediterranean are the Kildin surveillance ship, as well as the Iman tanker vessel and a floating workshop deployed near the Syrian port of Tartus.


Echoes of War Across the South Caucasus

As the standoff over Iran's nuclear program intensifies, South Caucasus leaders are pondering contingencies since the consequences of open conflict or prolonged tensions are potentially serious for all three nations. Over the past several years, Iran has become an increasingly influential player in the South Caucasus as Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia have each sought to diversify their economic and political ties away from their traditional alliances - none more so than Armenia, which now relies on Iran as a major trading partner and investor.

However, with tensions on the rise in the Persian Gulf, and with threats by Iran to disrupt oil supplies passing through the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for the sanctions that have been slapped on it by various countries over its uranium-enrichment activities, South Caucasus capitals are pondering what role they would play should the standoff get hot. While some analysts see opportunity for the region, others worry the three small countries could get pulled into an unpredictable conflict.

Out of the three, Armenia is the most concerned with preserving the status quo, said Sergey Minasyan, head of the Political Studies Department at the Caucasus Institute in Yerevan, the capital and largest city of Armenia. Minasyan said Armenia's relationship with Iran had been "a constant dynamic" since its 1991 independence. Landlocked Armenia has been geographically isolated since its conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s, during which Turkey also cut ties and closed its border with Armenia in support of its Turkic Azeri brethren.

At the time, despite their ideological differences, the Islamic Republic backed Christian Armenia over Muslim Azerbaijan and, along with Russia, has been a source of important political support. Furthermore, about one-third of Armenia's trade passes through Iranian territory. Armenia's only alternatives are land routes passing through Georgia to Russia and the Black Sea, however, heavy snows and avalanche threats regularly close the Armenia-Georgia and Georgia-Russia border crossings.

Iran has also been a key investor in Armenian business and infrastructure, feeding the country natural gas through a recently completed pipeline and an oil pipeline is in the works. Yerevan views these links as key to preventing a near total dependence on Russia for commerce. In its 2011 report, "Without Illusions", the Yerevan-based Civilitas Foundation said that both the Karabakh war and the supply disruptions caused by the 2008 Russia-Georgia war proved that Armenia's "only reliable access to the world was through Iran".

Minasyan said Armenia had also served as a "proxy" for Iran in developing business and political contacts in ways that bypass its official isolation. Still, Minasyan said that amid the occasionally violent stalemate with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, the biggest consequences for Armenia of a weakened or preoccupied Iran would be political, not economic.

"For the medium term, it would be possible to replace that trade using Georgian routes. But the more important - the more dangerous - would be the geopolitical results of closing the border if something happened in Iran. On the other hand, another very important issue is that not only Armenia is afraid of the possible consequences of a new crisis with Iran. For Azerbaijan, it's also a problem. Some experts are thinking that we will have a crisis in Karabakh if something happens in Iran, but politicians and experts in Azerbaijan are more afraid of that outcome than in Armenia," he said.

Indeed, Azerbaijan's rocky relationship with Iran has hit an historic low in recent months. Iran has long warned Azerbaijan against exploiting energy resources near Iran's Caspian waters, and, in 2001, used military force to halt a BP-sponsored project near the dividing line. Since then, the two have traded barbs over ideological differences related to Azerbaijan's stolidly secular observance of Sunni Islam, and Iran's devotion to theocratic Shi'ite governance. Iran also worries that Azerbaijan might play on the discontent among Iran's sizable, but repressed ethnic Azeri minority.

Last month, Azerbaijani government websites were hit by a wave a cyber-attacks, which were responded to in turn with attacks against Iranian state websites. Then, on January 25, Baku announced it had foiled an Iranian plot to assassinate the Israeli ambassador to Azerbaijan and attack a Jewish religious school in the country. The suspects were captured after one allegedly met with his handlers in northern Iran and was promised US$160,000 for the mission. The capture came days after top Iranian officials had promised retribution for the assassination of a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist, and bore a striking resemblance to Iran's alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

Iran regularly accuses Azerbaijan of collaborating militarily with both the US and Israel. After the nuclear scientist was killed, an intelligence official in Tehran was quoted as saying, "None of those who ordered these attacks should feel safe anywhere." Stephen Blank, a research professor at the United States Army War College, said that the threats Iran regularly made to Azerbaijan should be taken seriously, including those saying that the country would be "targeted and destroyed" if it allowed the US or it's allies to use Azerbaijani territory or air bases for an attack against Iran.

Azerbaijani airspace is already a key link in the Northern Distribution Network supplying North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and coalition forces in Afghanistan, and Azerbaijan has signed a number of defense deals with Israel, but none of these arrangements were directed against Iran thus far, Blank said.

That may not matter, however. "I think Iran is driven by a different calculus. I don't want to leave anyone with the impression that we are dealing with people who are deranged, because they're not. But [...] Iran is driven by this kind of obsession of anti-Semitism and anti-Sunni thinking and I think it manifests itself in their policy," Blank said. "Second, they have discovered that terrorism is an instrument that works."

Lincoln Mitchell, a professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, said, on the contrary, that the region would stand to benefit from a US-Iranian escalation because it "puts [the South Caucasus countries] in the driver's seat, particularly Azerbaijan, with its relationship with the US". "Azerbaijan plays a make-or-break role in this, and Azerbaijan can make any attempt by the United States to do anything in Iran extremely difficult, or it can make it considerably easier. So, the growing tension between Iran and the United States gives far more leverage - particularly to Azerbaijan - than they have now," he said.

Mitchell said that in increasing its utility to the US, Azerbaijan could alleviate Western pressure on Baku over democracy and human-rights issues. Georgia, while it does not share a border with Iran, may also come into play.

Since coming to power in the 2003 "Rose" revolution, President Mikheil Saakashvili has placed NATO membership at the forefront of his foreign policy agenda. After Georgia's brief war with Russia in 2008, those aspirations appeared to be dashed, but Saakashvili has not given up hope, deploying as many as 1,700 soldiers in Afghanistan's most violent province as a part of the NATO war effort.

However, Georgia has also sought to strengthen its ties with Iran since the war, signing a visa-free travel agreement with the Islamic Republic and opening up greater economic, academic and commercial links in various agreements with Tehran.

Still, Mitchell, who worked as the chief of party at the National Democratic Institute's office in Georgia from 2002-2004 and has authored a book on the Saakashvili regime, said that Georgia would likely acquiesce to any requests by Washington to use Georgian territory in support of American operations against Iran.

In an election year, Georgian opposition politicians and former Georgian president Eduard Shevarnadze have publicly accused Saakashvili of potentially dragging the country into a war with neighboring Iran. But David Smith, a senior fellow at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies in Tbilisi, said such claims "are reaching really far" and attributed the worries to political polemicists.

Blank said that while there had been very few statements made about the situation publicly, officials in all three countries were nervous about the rising tensions. "They are clearly concerned, as are the Russians, about the fact that they're being dragged into a contingency outside their area that they don't really have anything to say about," he said.

Russia has responded to the standoff by announcing military exercises in the North and South Caucasus that are unprecedented in scale. While Russia regularly runs military drills in the North Caucasus, the "Kavkaz-2012" maneuvers will also involve Russian units in Armenia and the Georgian breakaway republic of Abkhazia. It had also reinforced its military presence throughout the North and South Caucasus for an indefinite term in response to the crisis, Blank said.

Over the past year, Russian officials have often warned that foreign intervention in either Syria or Iran could lead to a "wider conflict" in the region. Viewing both Syria and Iran as countries on the periphery of its spheres of influence, Blank said Russia was now attempting to reassert its claim over the South Caucasus, its traditional buffer zone against the Middle East.

With the baseline of regional tensions raised, Mitchell said that the rhetoric in both Russia and Georgia would likely turn increasingly more provocative, as both countries' leaders had a track record of using external distractions to boost their personal popularity. While most of talk remains just that, he said the confluence of the regional events could lead to "a potentially explosive situation".

So far, the South Caucasus has been exempted from pressure to freeze its relations with Iran. Azerbaijan was even granted a special exemption as European officials and energy lobbyists convinced the US Congress not to include the development of Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz natural gas field in its list of forbidden economic activities with Tehran, although the Islamic Republic owns a 10% stake in the venture.

However, Blank said that the South Caucasus should not count on being able to stay neutral forever. "I think they will come under pressure to move back from their relationship with Iran if the situation continues to remain at a high level of tension. On the other hand, I think a war would be a worse contingency for them," he said.


The Next Stage of Russia's Resurgence: The Caucasus States

The former Soviet republics in the Caucasus -- Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan -- have very different attitudes toward Russia's resurgence. Armenia depends on Russia for its security and is one of Moscow's most loyal allies. Georgia bore the brunt of Russia's resurgence in 2008, when Russia invaded two breakaway Georgian republics (where Russian troops remain stationed), and is likely to resist any further encroachment of Russian influence. Azerbaijan is cooperative with Russia but uses its energy wealth and support for pipeline projects that would not serve Moscow's interests as leverage against its large neighbor.


Armenia, located in the South Caucasus, serves as a territorial buffer for Russia to the south. It also gives Moscow a strategic foothold in the center of the Caucasus because it borders both Georgia and Azerbaijan, as well as Turkey and Iran.

Russia's Levers

  • Political: Russia supports and is allied with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and his Republican Party of Armenia. Moscow also has ties to former presidents Levon Ter Petrosian and Robert Kocharian.
  • Social: Armenia represents an Orthodox Christian foothold in the predominantly Muslim Caucasus. Also, a large Armenian diaspora of 1.5 million to 2.5 million people lives in Russia.
  • Security: Russia is Armenia's security guarantor against Azerbaijan in the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. More than 5,000 Russian troops are stationed in Armenia in Russia's 102nd Military Base in Gyumri, and Russia has extended its lease of military facilities to 2044. Armenia is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Rapid Reaction Force.
  • Economic: Russia owns most of the pipeline, energy, rail and telecommunications assets in Armenia. Remittances from Armenians working in Russia amount to around 10 percent of Armenia's gross domestic product.

Russia's Successes, Obstacles and Ambitions

During the past two years, Russia strengthened its military presence in Armenia by extending its lease of military facilities to 2044 and getting permission to move Russian troops throughout the country. Russia also manipulated normalization talks between Armenia and Turkey in order to strengthen its relationships with Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Russia's goals for Armenia for 2012 and beyond include maintaining its current levers in Armenia and preparing Armenia for possible integration into the Common Economic Space and Eurasian Union. Russia also wants to sustain the divisions between Armenia and Azerbaijan (and Baku's ally, Turkey).

Armenia's Position and Strategy

Any government in Armenia will operate in a difficult environment, both geographically and ethnically. Armenia is almost completely mountainous and is surrounded not only by three major powers -- Russia, Turkey and Iran -- but also Georgia, Azerbaijan and other smaller but independently minded ethnic groups. Armenia must, at a minimum, maintain internal consolidation in order to defend itself within the region, but it must also look for an external power patron to protect it from the larger powers. But given Armenia's location and lack of strategic natural resources, balancing external powers against each other to extract concessions is not much of an option.

Armenia has chosen Russia as its external power patron, with Moscow controlling much of the infrastructure in the country. Russia also has a substantial military presence in Armenia that serves as Armenia's security guarantor from Azerbaijan (its adversary in the Nagorno-Karabakh territorial dispute) and from Turkey and Iran (whose borders the Russian military patrols).

Other external powers have very limited influence in Armenia. The country maintains an economic relationship with Iran and has tried normalizing relations with Turkey (which, along with Azerbaijan, has economically blockaded Armenia), though these talks have failed because of Russia's manipulation and the wider geopolitical balance of power in the region. Although Armenia would like to open its borders with Turkey, Russia's security guarantee against Azerbaijan is more important. There is a sizable and influential Armenian diaspora in the United States and France, though its implications are more economic than political, as Armenia is firmly in Russia's orbit and not part of the Western-oriented camp in the former Soviet Union. Barring any substantial weakening of Russia's geopolitical position, Armenia can be expected to remain loyal to Moscow and to continue participating in Russia's regional initiatives.


Like Armenia, Georgia is important to Russian security because its location in the Southern Caucasus makes it a territorial buffer from powers like Turkey and Iran. Georgia also flanks restive Northern Caucasus Russian republics like Chechnya, borders the Black Sea and possesses strategic ports.

Russia's Levers

  • Political: Certain Georgian opposition leaders have espoused the need for closer ties with Russia, and some have met with Russian officials. Russia has weak ties to Georgia's government and business community, however.
  • Social: Georgia has no significant Russian population. However, approximately 80 percent of the country is Orthodox Christian.
  • Security: Russia occupies the breakaway Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, with about 3,500 troops stationed in each area. Also, Russian intelligence has penetrated Georgia proper. However, Georgia remains committed to NATO and EU membership and has stayed outside of Russia's alliance system.
  • Economic: Russia financially supports Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and around 1 million Georgians live in Russia and send remittances back to Georgia.

Russia's Successes, Obstacles and Ambitions

Since 2010, Russia has built up its military presence in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and extended its lease of military facilities there by 49 years. Russia's relationship with important NATO members, particularly Germany and France, has kept the alliance from any meaningful interactions with or presence in Georgia. However, Russia has not been able to create or support a viable opposition movement capable of truly challenging the anti-Russian president of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili.

In the coming months and years, Russia wants to increase the likelihood of the formation of a viable opposition movement in Georgia. It also wants to prevent the West, particularly the United States, from re-engaging in the country.

Georgia's Position and Strategy

Like many former Soviet countries, Georgia is split internally, both in geographic and political terms. Georgia has two breakaway territories, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and two regions with autonomous tendencies, Adjara and Samtskhe-Javakheti. Internal political consolidation is needed to overcome these autonomous tendencies, but that alone is not enough.

Georgia needs an external power patron to counter and potentially overcome Russia's influence and presence in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. For cultural and historical reasons, neither Iran nor Turkey is an attractive option for Tbilisi, so Georgia has chosen to take its chances with the West, particularly NATO and the U.S. security guarantee membership in NATO implies. However, given the region's geopolitical complexity and the strategic threat Russia poses to Georgia, the West has not been willing to become a reliable ally that guarantees Georgia's security against a resurgent Russia. While Georgia explicitly opposes Russia's resurgence and actively lobbies for Western engagement, it has not been able to receive significant assistance from the West.

This does not mean Georgia has no alternatives to Russia; it has partnered with Azerbaijan and Turkey to form a southern corridor for energy and trade that goes around Russia. But these alternatives are limited to economics and politics and leave Georgia militarily isolated and vulnerable. Lacking NATO membership, Georgia has sought to purchase weapons and build up its own military with help from the United States and Israel, but Russia has been able to obstruct these efforts.

As long as Russia maintains its strong and resurgent position, Georgia is unlikely to get the closer security relationship with the West that it wants. Russia will continue to have difficulties building political and economic ties inside of Georgia proper, but as long as it has its military foothold in the breakaway territories, Georgia's ability to challenge Russia is severely limited.


Azerbaijan, like the other former Soviet states in the Caucasus, serves as a territorial buffer for Russia from the south. It also borders the Caspian and has significant energy resources. Azerbaijan is an important part of a southern corridor that could undermine Russia's importance in the areas of trade and energy.

Russia's Levers

  • Political: Russia dominates the negotiation process between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the territorial dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh. Moscow's political ties in Azerbaijan are limited compared to Armenia, but it does have strong connections to the political and security elites in Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • Social: Russia has few ethnic or social ties to Azerbaijan, as most of the population is ethnic Azerbaijani and Muslim.
  • Security: Russia has a radar installation in Garbala. Its military presence in Armenia and Georgia helps to keep Azerbaijan in check, and Russia has a significant intelligence presence in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is not part of Russia's alliance system, but it is also not part of NATO (though it has a bilateral security partnership with NATO member Turkey).
  • Economy: Russia does not control Azerbaijan's energy resources but has offered to purchase all of its natural gas. Azerbaijanis working in Russia send home remittances, but the effect of these remittances on the Azerbaijani economy is minimal.

Russia's Successes, Obstacles and Ambitions

Since 2010, Russia has been able to limit Azerbaijan's expansion of energy projects like the Nabucco and Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy pipelines that work against Russia's interests. Russia has also manipulated Azerbaijan's relationship with Armenia and Turkey to its advantage in the wider region. However, Azerbaijan has not sold all of its energy supplies to Russia (it only delivered 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Russia in 2011), and it continues to increase exports to other countries and pursue other southern corridor projects.

Russia's goals for Azerbaijan include preventing Azerbaijan and Turkey from developing a stronger relationship in terms of energy and security. Russia also wants to expand and extend its lease for the Garbala radar station and continue to prevent pipeline projects from coming to fruition.

Azerbaijan's Position and Strategy

Like the other two former Soviet states in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan must have internal consolidation if it is to face the challenges of its difficult environment. Azerbaijan proper is consolidated via a centralized authority and security apparatus. However, its breakaway territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is supported by Armenia and secured by a military guarantee from Russia that undermines Azerbaijan's sovereignty in the territory.

Unlike Georgia and Armenia, Azerbaijan has had some success in its second imperative of balancing powers to preserve the sovereignty it has. It owes this success largely to its energy resources. Azerbaijan is the only country in the Caucasus that has avoided having foreign troops on its soil; it has leveraged its energy resources for this purpose. Azerbaijan exports energy to nearly all directions -- to Russia, Iran and the West via Georgia and Turkey -- but not to Armenia.

In terms of security, Azerbaijan knows it cannot be oriented toward Russia, which supports Armenia, or toward Iran, which historically possessed territory that is now part of Azerbaijan and has a large Azerbaijani minority in northern Iran. Therefore, it has partnered with Turkey for military and weapons deals, though Azerbaijan knows this is not enough of a deterrent to match Russia and the country prefers to keep some distance from Ankara. Baku has proceeded cautiously, despite the rhetoric about taking back Nagorno-Karabakh by force. It has focused on building up its energy sector and using its energy revenues to build up its military and economy.

Azerbaijan will continue using its energy and the accompanying pipeline projects in order to protect its sovereignty from its large neighbors, especially Russia. It will be able to maintain this strategy in 2012, and despite Russia's efforts to undermine its energy options Azerbaijan will be the most difficult country in the Caucasus for Russia's resurgence to penetrate, though Baku will certainly not be immune.


Russia's Energy Plans for Turkey


Russia is interested in building natural gas storage facilities in Turkey, officials from Russia's Gazprom said March 20. Over the winter, Gazprom redirected natural gas from its storage facilities in Europe after a spike in demand in Turkey. Now, Gazprom wants to build underground natural gas storage facilities in Turkey to help when supplies dwindle in the future.

Gazprom's proposal is part of Russia's larger strategy -- in both Turkey and Europe -- to increase Moscow's energy leverage with its customers. Although Ankara will be wary of giving Moscow more influence in Turkey, there is little it can do at the moment to withstand the Kremlin's strategy.


Energy is one of the cornerstones of the Russo-Turkish relationship. Russia provides approximately 58 percent of Turkey's natural gas supplies, making it Turkey's largest natural gas supplier. Ankara has long sought ways to reduce its dependence on Russian natural gas, since Moscow traditionally uses its energy supplies as political leverage with many of its customers. For its part, Russia wants to keep Turkey tied to it through energy and to prevent other suppliers from helping Ankara diversify its natural gas sources. Thus, Russia wants to increase its leverage in its energy relationship with Turkey.

Russia is working on a complex strategy to strengthen its position relative to its Western energy customers, particularly in Europe. The first element of the strategy is to move Russia away from its primary role of natural gas supplier and increase its ownership of other natural gas-related assets. The second element is to lock many of Moscow's customers into 10-to-15-year contracts, which Russia has made more appealing by offering natural gas at a discount.

Russia is in negotiations to purchase electricity networks in Germany, natural gas distribution networks in Greece, and electricity and distribution networks in Italy. Moscow has also shown interest in the natural gas distribution networks in the Czech Republic. Russia has struck tentative deals with Germany, Italy and others on 10-year contracts with natural gas price discounts of between 10 and 30 percent. Amid Europe's financial difficulties, the discounts are welcomed. Russia knows that many long-term energy diversity programs are under way in Europe and so is trying to prepare for when those become operational by striking long-term deals.

This European strategy appears to be expanding into Turkey with Gazprom's announcement of interest in building natural gas storage facilities there. Turkey is already on Gazprom's list of countries that could take part in renegotiations on natural gas price contracts, according to Stratfor sources. Russia and Turkey's contract on supplies sent via the Blue Stream pipeline is set to expire in 2013, though the contract on Russian supplies that transit Bulgaria has many years left. Turkey could enter into larger negotiations, like the Europeans, and receive a discount of 10 percent or more. The problem is that Russia will insist on a long-term contract, likely spanning at least 10 years, and Turkey will resist such a deal because it anticipates an increase of natural gas supplies from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz II project in approximately 5 years.

In the short term, however, the possibility of cheaper natural gas and Russia's constructing natural gas storage in Turkey are attractive ideas. Russia's offer comes as Turkey is in a pricing dispute with its second-largest natural gas provider, Iran. Turkey currently pays Iran $505 per thousand cubic meters (mcm) of natural gas -- a steep price compared to the $400 per mcm it pays Russia. Turkey also regularly experiences reliability problems with supplies from Iran, especially in the winter. While Ankara has been careful to maintain a working relationship with Tehran to help Iran circumvent sanctions, Turkey also would likely be interested in more security if more problems arose with Iranian supplies, particularly amid increasing sanctions on Iran from the United States and Europe.

Moscow would be more inclined to provide a greater discount on natural gas supplies to Ankara if the negotiations included Russia gaining assets in Turkey, as it would if it built natural gas storage facilities there. Such facilities could relieve the stress on Turkey's supplies should issues with Iran grow more problematic. Cheaper natural gas and more secure supplies from Russia make Moscow's offer attractive to Ankara. However, either agreement would give Russia greater leverage in Turkey, since Russia would own assets in the country and Turkey would be locked into a long-term contract.

Ankara could want to diversify its natural gas supplies away from Russia and prevent Moscow from gaining more energy -- and ultimately political -- leverage in Turkey. But Ankara has little recourse against Russia's strategy right now. New natural gas supply options -- increased supplies from Iran, the Azerbaijani expansion of Shah Deniz II or liquefied natural gas alternatives -- are years away, and problems with Iran are jeopardizing Turkey's current supplies. Russia might be the only option Turkey has in the short term.

Source: Russia's Energy Plans for Turkey | Stratfor

'World Attention Needed For Russian Pressure On Armenia'

Interview with Nika Chitadze, Georgian political scientist.

Q: What are the main threats for security in the South Caucasus?

A: With regard to the main threats for the security in the South Caucasus, can be consider the following:

Political Threats: Internal conflicts and occupation about 18% of the territory of Georgia in August 2008 and territory of Azerbaijan in May, 1994. This factor endanger Georgia’s and Azerbaijan`s sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-violability of borders and jeopardize establishment of constitutional order on the whole territory of those countries. Illegal arms and drugs trade, trafficking and other transnational crimes have found fertile ground on the occupied territories. Moreover, Russian occupants in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Regions and representatives of the separatist regimes systematically violate human rights on the uncontrolled territories, especially in the occupied regions of Georgia, which are mostly populated by ethnic Georgians in Gali district of Abkhazia and Akhalgori district of South Ossetia. Moreover, these territories can be used by terrorist groups for achieving their aims.

Russian Federation’s military forces are present on the territory of two historic regions of Georgia (Abkhazia and South Ossetia) without any political or legal ground and in Armenia-Giumri base. Their presence has a negative impact on the security environment and stability of entire region. International terrorism is a serious threat to the national security of South Caucasus states, especially considering that Region finds itself in the region close to the terrorist bases of the North Caucasus and Middle East. Among the New Challenges should be pointed out about: New forms of terrorism, such as bio-terrorism; Possible proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction, its components and technologies necessary for its development; Illegal arms and drugs trade, trafficking, smuggling and other transnational organized crime, Information related challenges.

Q: What kind of changes in Russian policy in the South Caucasus do you expect in near future?

A: In case of Georgia, it is expected that Russia will continue to cause destabilization on the territory of Georgia, thus to weaken Georgian statehood. It can be implemented by creating destabilization near the occupied zones, implementation terrorist attacks against infrastructure on the territory of Georgia, to support pro-Russian political forces etc. The deterioration of the political situation in Georgia will cause loosing the trust of the western states toward Georgia and failure of the further integration of Tbilisi to European and Euro-Atlantic structures and implementation of the energy projects, which are bypassing Russian territory. In case of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Russia will try again to play the role of mediator in the resolution Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but at the same time will do nothing for the getting any progress in this direction.

Q: Do you believe in reconciliation process between Georgia and Russia in a soon future, and what are preconditions for that?

A: Even now, there are some contacts between Russia and Georgia. For example, according to 2011, Russia – among of the foreign-trade partners of Georgia, is at the 5-th place (mostly because of trade of electricity). At the same time, it was re-opened the ground state border between Russia and Georgia in Lars since 1 March, 2010. There are thousands of Russian tourists, who travel to Georgia within the whole tourist seasons. There are restored the direct flights between Tbilisi and Moscow. Despite of it, it is less expected the restoration of normal relations between two countries until the Russian President will be V. Putin and until Russia will not stop the implementation of the imperialistic policy against Georgia.

Q: What should be done by Georgia and Azerbaijan separately or together to get back the occupied territories?

A: Georgian experience is likely to discourage Baku from using its armed forces to regain Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku understands that the Russian-Georgian war is a good illustration of what a military conflict with Russia’s ally may entail, especially taking into consideration the fact, that Armenia is a member of CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization, and Russia has legal obligations to protect Armenia in case of war. So, alternative to avoid the conflict with Russia by Georgia or Azerbaijan and de-occupation of occupied territories should be further strengthening cooperation between Georgia and Azerbaijan in the different fields, and by this way to provide the further socio-economic development of both countries, which can increase the interests of the inhabitants at the occupied territories toward the positive processes in Georgia and Azerbaijan.

In this regard, the Baku-Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki-Kars railway, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline, probably TANAP (gas pipeline which will provide the transportation of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey via Georgia) projects, furthermore the creation of the closer ties in the framework of GUAM will create the convenient base for the de-occupational process in the future. Together with it, it is necessary the more attraction of the international community for the implementation pressure to Russia and Armenia for the making progress for the resolution of the conflicts in South Caucasus.

Q: How may possible war in Iran influence a situation in the South Caucasus?

A: There are some threats, that if the war in Iran is started, in this case Russia will take advantage and for the providing security in South Caucasus and protection of the Russian military base in the bordering with Iran country - Armenia – Giumri base, will invade in Georgia and by this way will revenge the west-first of all USA, for the military operation against Russia`s ally-Iran. But this scenario is not very reliable, because, in case of war in most of the case is expected, that USA (probably together with several European allies, first of all UK) will implement the air bombardments against nuclear and military objects and will not be involved in the ground operations against the country, territory of which prevails 1 million square kilometers and is able to mobilize about 12 million reservists.

Furthermore, in case of war, there is less probability, that USA will use air spaces of Georgia and Azerbaijan, because US air bases are deployed on the territories of the Persian Gulf countries – Saudi Arabia, Kuweit, Bahrein etc. So, from the strategic and geographic point of view, for the military company the more convenient for the US will be implementation the military actions from the Persian Gulf.



  1. Lesss than 4 years ago, the 58th Russian Army in the Southern Military District received its marching orders soon after the Georgian attack on the break-away region of South Ossetia. The Russians soldiers put to good use the old Soviet equipment they had at their disposition and smashed the Georgian military in a few short days. While they lacked the latest in sophisticated modern weaponry, they did not lack in courage, morale and fighting spirit.

    Fast forward to 2012 and what a difference! Soon after the 08.08.08 brief war, the Kremlin ordered a complete overhaul to the units based in the Caucasus region. These units who were previously expected to conduct only local anti-guerrilla warfare against Islamic extremist started reequipping themselves with late model weapons designed to take on powerful armies...and all that happened in a relatively short period of time.

    Less than 4 years ago, the spearhead units of the 58th Army were using the good old T-72 tanks to rout the Georgians. Today they have the latest T-90 model in their inventory. The motorized infantry got the BMP-3 model ( instead of the BMP-2) and the artillery units have added MSTA-S self-propelled guns to the older units. Long range Smerch rocket launchers and S-300 air defence missiles are part of the modernization and capabilities enhancement program. Latest reports indicate that this re-equipment of the military units that are based between the Black and Caspian Seas is just gathering momentum. Seems like the more sabre-rattling is heard around Iran-Gulf-Syria, the more the Russians are arming and preparing themselves. Among the last report: Units near Rostov are going to get the first 20 Tornado-G artillery rocket systems that have just entered into production to replace the Grads. And a new brigade equipped with S-300V anti-aircraft missile system is being formed (The S-300V model has nothing in common with the well publicized S-300).

    It is not just the Russian ground forces that are affected. South based air force units are receiving more than their fair share of new aircraft & helicopters (Su-30, Su-34 and Mi-28). Reequipping the Navy takes a longer time as it takes years to build new warships. Nevertheless, they are on their way. The Caspian flotilla which is traditionally considered as the weakest and least important Russian fleet is indicting into service a brand new frigate and a brand new corvette this year. The Black sea coastal defence units have received new BAL anti-ship missile complexes and shipyards around the Baltic sea are building up to six frigates and 6 submarines for the Black Sea fleet, these will start entering service from 2014.

    By writing the above lines, I'm probably just scratched the tip of the iceberg. I haven't even started talking about the new military bases in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and elsewhere, the new soldier's barracks and facilities, etc. etc. What is happening with the Russian units between the 2 seas is a reflection of the Kremlin's geopolitical calculations, strategies, aspirations and intentions.... And Armenia is a part of all that.

  2. Արեւորտի. Ինչպէ՞ս կը գնահատես Քոչարեանի իշխանութեան ժամանակաշրջանը:

  3. Քոչարյանի իշխանութիւնը համարում եմ որպես «անցումային» կառավարութիւն - շատ վատից դեպի ավելի լավ: Նաև պիտի ասվի որ շատ կարևոր Ռուս-Հայկական ռազմավարական հարաբերութիւնները կայունացան և արմատվեցին Քոչարյանի օրով: Մի խոսքով, Քոչարյանի իշխանութեան ժամանակաշրջանը շատ կարևոր և բուժիչ փուլ եր մեր երկրի համար: Այնուամենայնիվ, իր վերադարձը այսօր անիմաստ է:

  4. Nothing against Russian-Armenian alliance but I fear Armenia losing its independence again. Its all about politics. When the day come when Russia wont need Armenia they will not protect us. Before that day comes Armenia must be smart enough to balance its relationship with Russia by making ties with the West also.

  5. Very well written and thought out essay. Indeed the world has become a battlefield thanks to the drug trafficking, Red Shield central bankster gang. I just found your site and look forward to more non-mainscream media garbage from your side of the world.
    I agree with you that a lack of knowledge about these scumbags is THE main obstacle to their defeat. I always wonder why people like Putin, Chavez etc don't spell out the whole conspiracy to as wide an audience as possible. If you look at Telesur (Chavez's TV network) the content is sorely lacking substance. I think it's because they're retransmitted by zioconned satellites but they should overcome that. Trying to accomodate these bastards (like Rotscum's Oleg Deripaska's Rusal and other venturesinside Russia) is NOT the way to go. These "leaders" need to change the game dynamic by placing their populations on a war footing. Fuck these zioconned NGOs. Jail them for treason. The zioscum know that a fully informed population is the death knell to their imperialist plans (which is why they control the media).

    Keep up the good work. By the way, Putin needs to give all free countries nukes to defend themselves. PERIOD.

  6. Thank you for reading. I fully agree with the spirit of your comments. The world is definitely heading towards a multipolar reality. That is essentially why the Anglo-American-Zionist gang and their lackeys around the globe have been on a bloody rampage in recent years. In this regard, the rise of Russia was a God sent. By the late 1990s it looked as if the world was going to be their playground. Putin's rise changed all that, most probably forever. Thus, in a sense, Putin's Russia was God's answer to demons in places like Washington, London and Tel Aviv. Nevertheless, the reason why global opposition leaders such as Chavez, Ahmadinejad and Putin are not as aggressive against the global crime syndicate in question is simply because the Western alliance still controls much of the world's most important levers. In other words, the world still fears the political West because it is not yet fully free of its grasp. As powerful as Russia is militarily, Kremlin officials realize that when it comes to commerce, finance and the influence of propaganda they remain vulnerable to West.

  7. I love most of your threads about Armenia even though I'm not from Europe at all. I'm not sure if part of Armenia's need to take a risk to benefit from it would include forming a potential partnership with the Kurds in Turkey. I mean, the Turkish government has been fighting the Kurdish separatists for a long time, and although Armenia might balk at such a suggestion, could they actually pull it off?

    Did Armenia ever experienced a color revolution though? I know what it's like to witness a color revolution. I came from a country that might have had started the trend for color revolutions, in 1986. Since then, color revolutions is just synonymous with regime change. I am optimistic though, that Armenia's leadership would get its act together and do something before the Western powers reinforce unilateralism into the entire planet.

    On the other hand, would a larger Armenia possibly match the very same size as the Armenia that Woodrow Wilson had envisioned?

    Curious Observer

  8. the problem is I don't see Armenian officials exploiting Russians. They are just submitting to their will and doing what they say... They are missing on many opportunities.

  9. Had you been reading what I have been writing for the past several years you would have seen that what you brought-up has in fact been one of my complaints as well. Having said that, however, it's WE as a PEOPLE (not just government officials) that need to better utilize/exploit our strategic relationship with Moscow for the benefit of Armenia.

    But talk is cheep. Since you brought it up, please do tell. What "opportunities" have Armenian officials "missed" on? How are Armenians "submitting" to Russian "will"? What has Moscow been forcing Yerevan into "doing" that it should not be doing? In answering me you will have to reach at the very bottom of the barrel to pullout something that will even remotely support your claims.

    You opposition types are very generous when it comes to fearmongering, wanton attacks and destructive criticism. But you seriously lack substance when it come to rationally explaining your position and/or providing realistic solutions. In other words, you are all attitude and hype. Therefore, in attempting to explain yourself you will reveal your intentions as well as your intellectual caliber.

    PS: Please don't forget that this blog deals with geopolitical aspects of Moscow's political resurgence and Russian-Armenian relations. Therefore, «կոշկակարների քաղաքականութիւն» is something that I will not entertain.

  10. My friend, I'm not an opposition type.

    I am merely saying that our leadership has the opportunity in convincing Russians that what they need is a strong and powerful Armenia in the region. We should not be just a fortress for them. We should cut the link between azeris and turks. We need access to the Black Sea and Nakhichevan should lose its border with Turkey. That way, the turkish-georgian-azerbaijani alliance will be forced to look at Armenia in a different manner.

    But sadly, instead of working on that, our leadership is only thinking of satisfying the demands on Moscow. If it were left to me, we would have made Javakhq demand independence and attacked Georgia from the South and Russia from the North.

    And Moscow, seeing that Armenians are selling everything to them without gaining anything in return, has successfully taken the whole country under its dependence. At least the Kremlin should understand that a powerful Armenia is more inportant to them than a dependent Armenia.

    Just because I critisize our leadership doesn't mean i'm anti-Russian. But next to being pro-Russian, i'm also pro-Armenian.

  11. If you are not an "oppositionist" then I apologize. For me, that term has devolved into becoming a slur of sorts.

    At face value, I agree with some of what have written. The responsibility to convince Russians of the strategic value of a larger and a more powerful Armenia to the Russian Federation fundamentally rests on our shoulders. I have covered this matter in my most recent commentary, as well as previous ones. For additional thoughts on Russian-Armenian relations please read the following commentaries:

    Claiming that Armenia has sold "everything" to Russians without getting "anything" in return is very a silly comment to make. This is a good indicator that you have not properly assessed or measured your thoughts regarding this matter. Guess what? In the big geopolitical picture, we have an Armenia today essentially due to us Armenians allowing Russians to setup shop in Armenia. Besides which, they payed good money for much of the abandoned Soviet-era infrastructure they purchased in Armenia. Besides which, had they not done it, who would have? Washington? Beijing? Ankara? The all-mighty Armenian Diaspora?

    Please. I think you are giving Armenia way too much weight. I don't even want to discuss the big-talking-under-performing diaspora we have. The Armenian-American diaspora, in particular, is fast becoming a serious liability for Armenia these days.

    It's time we stepped down from our imaginary high horses and begin seeing our tiny, impoverished, landlocked and remote nation in the hostile Caucasus for what it really is - an embattled nation-state in serious need of financing and protection. For geopolitical reason, the financing and the protection must come from Moscow. Taking money from Washingtonian institutions such as the IMF and USAID come with dangerous political strings that Yerevan simply cannot afford to play with.

    Therefore, who was going to put up billions of dollars to purchase, upgrade and put into use our dilapidated nuclear power plant, our telecommunications network, our major factories, our military industrial complex, our railroads, etc? The only rational/safe answer to this question was, is and will continue being - Russia. Personally, I'm glad Moscow has taken over Armenia's infrastructures. In fact, I want them to delve even further into Armenia. I want to raise Armenia's importance to Moscow by allowing Russians to invest deeper into the country. I want them to protect Armenia as if it's Russia. And since Moscow is invested in Armenia, it's up to us Armenians to exploit their presence.

  12. There are only a handful of truly independent nation on earth today. A vast majority of nations on earth are dependent, in varying degrees, on one political entity or another for survival. In fact, even political heavyweights such as Washington, Beijing, Brussels, Tel Aviv and London are for the most part interdependent. In contrast, the Russian Federation, the largest and the most naturally wealthy nation on earth, is one of those rare political entities on earth that is to a very large degree self-sustaining. And with its strategic alliance, the Russian Federation is providing us Armenians with a historic opportunity. But it's our responsibility to exploit it for Armenia's benefit.

    Nevertheless, how can you expect the Kremlin to unconditionally and blindly trust anyone? In a certain sense, "trusting" got them the disaster of the 1990s. As a general rule in politics, nations simply don't trust nations - unless they are culturally, financially and politically tied/fused together. In fact, as intimate as Washington is with London and Tel Aviv, there are matters of trust between them as well. Therefore, talk about "trust" has no place in any discussion about geopolitics.

    Having said that, an Armenia that is saturated with Western agents, idiots and Russophobes - and a nation that is merely one Color Revolution away from becoming a Western/Turkish lackey in the region - will not be blindly trusted by Kremlin officials. Moscow will keep Armenia afloat - but it will make sure of its dependence.

    Think of it this way: What if they allowed Armenians to expand and truly become a powerful nation... then suddenly one day Yerevan decides to breakaway from Moscow. A similar mistake was already done by Moscow when Premier Nikita Khrushchev gave the Crimea to Ukraine in the 1960s. In the 1990s, Kiev back-stabbed Moscow. Generally speaking, in geopolitical calculations, such risks are not taken. Therefore, with regards to Armenia, Moscow will prefer to have Yerevan dependent - just to be on the safe side.

    Again, it's up to us Armenians to use our talents and legendary wits to convince them otherwise, or at the very least make the most of the situation at hand.

    As I said in my commentary, if we want these people to feel confidant about an Armenian expansion, we first need to eliminate our Western agents and Russophobes and then we need to embark on a serious pan-national agenda within the walls of the Kremlin. Until then, Moscow will continue keeping Armenia alive but dependent.

  13. eliminating western agents could be nice, but think about what our Armenians would do. since 90% of the Armenians worlwide do not understand politics, by being witness to eliminations, they would lose even more hope and forget Armenia. That is something today's leadership doesn't want, as its losing its popularity.

    By putting it together with you analysis, I conclude that we will continue to stay in this situation for a long time. our choices are very limited. Today's situation might be the lesser of the worst

  14. You make a good point. But you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette.

    At the very least, Yerevan needs to monitor anyone in Armenia that has any kind of connections with the political West. Yerevan also needs to shutdown Western propaganda outlets disguised as "independent" news organizations. Yerevan also needs to stop dealing with very dangerous Globalist entities such as USAID and the IMF. Like other developing societies around the world, we Armenians are too awe struck by Washingtonian hype, and we are too timid in our thinking when it come to geopolitical matters.

    The hysteria over the protocols was an example of just how disconnected our people are from political reality. We as a people are too emotion and ego driven. We are not planning ahead. We are not initiating. We continue being in a survival mode. We do not take any risks. With such national traits, Armenia will continue being a stagnant nation, and a nation stuck between East and West.

    We also need to recognize that a certain segment of Armenians will continue being politically illiterate no matter what happens. Therefore, Armenian officials simply needs to do what is in Armenia's best long-term interests without worrying about our idiots.

  15. Where did you bring all these great analyses from?? You've convinced me. I had never thought about it this much...

  16. I hope you're not being sarcastic, and I don't know what I've convinced you of... but thank you anyway!

  17. Not I'm not. It's just that I've never heard such an opinion regarding Armenia before.

  18. What opinion are you referring to, if you don't mind me asking.

  19. Russia-Armenia in general

  20. When you said that Armenia's borders have to be expanded to either the Black Sea or Russia, through partitioning of Georgian or Azeri territories, does it also include an additional benefit to Iran in the event of a war between them and Israel? Is a Greater Armenia concept the same as the Armenia President Woodrow Wilson had proposed in 1919? If that is the case, then I don't know why it wasn't already etablished.

  21. I don't know if I would want to use the term "Greater Armenia" for describing historic Armenian lands currently under occupation in Azerbaijan (Nakhichevan and Shahumyan), Georgia (Javakhq) and Turkey (Western Armenia or Wilsonian Armenia). Wilsonian Armenia attempted to addressed only Turkish occupied Armenian lands. For the foreseeable future, however, liberating Wilsonian Armenia from Turkish occupation will be much more difficult than gaining direct access to the Black Sea through Georgia or establishing common borders with Russia through Azerbaijan or Georgia. I personally think our long journey to Western Armenia starts with gaining access to the Black Sea and/or establishing common borders with Russia. The key to all this naturally lies in Moscow. Hence my emphasis on Russian-Armenian relations.

    In a sense, for us Armenians this is a fight to the death. If Armenia remains small, remote, landlocked and surrounded by enemies in a volatile environment, it will sooner-or-later fall apart; or at the very least remain a third-world nation at the mercy of its larger and more powerful neighbors. Therefore, Armenia needs to strategically expand within the next generation or two if it is to have a future worth looking forward to.

    Because militarily and economically Turkey is a very large power, it would therefore be wise for Yerevan to keep its sights on the south Caucasus instead. Naturally, Iran, like Russia, stands to gain from a larger and more powerful Armenia in the south Caucasus. Armenia/Armenians are a natural buffer against Turks, Azeris and Islamists. What I have briefly outlined is what Armenian, Russian and to a lesser extant Iranian officials need to work on as a contingency plan just in case an opportunity presents itself in the near future.

    Ironically, or not so ironically if you really think about it, the biggest obstacle to Armenia's expansion would not be Turks themselves, it would be the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance. For generations, Arab monarchies, Turks and Islamists - and now Kurds as well - have done the West's dirty work in the region. The West exploits these groups as a powerful hedge against Russian and Iranian expansion as well as the rise of pan-Arabism. But the West's greatest fear continues to be Russia. More specifically, Russia realizing its potential is their greatest fear.

    Therefore, the West will side with the devil every time just to make sure that Russia remains contained. And being that Armenia is a natural ally for Russia and to a lesser extent Iran, the West will make sure that Armenia remains contained as well...

  22. How could Oskanian be a western puppet? He was in the Kocharyan Administation.

  23. I don't know if Vartan Oskanin is a "Western Puppet". The term Western Puppet implies an operative working in Armenia under direct orders from Washington. Having said that, Vartan Oskanian and Raffi Hovanissian are both graduate of Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts. The elite university in question (the oldest of its kind in America) is known to have CIA affiliations. Elite universities in the West are where Western intelligence agencies recruit their operatives.

    Regarding what Vartan Oskanian was doing in the Robert Kocharyan administration: Simply put, he was representing Yerevan's Western leanings. By giving Oskanian a prominent position, Kocharyan was pleasing the empire at a time when Moscow was still relatively weak in the region.It is no secret that since its independence in 1991, Yerevan has sought to play both sides of the geopolitical fence. Every Armenian administration, including the current one, has had officials representing the political West. Moscow reluctantly tolerated this situation throughout much of the 1990s and the early 2000s. Things only began to tilt more towards Moscow in Yerevan a few years after Vladimir Putin rose to power in 2000. President Sargsyan's current administration is a good reflection of this tilt towards Moscow. Although Yerevan continues to flirt with the West today, for the first time since its independence, Armenia is firmly in bed with Moscow.

    I recall Vartan Oskanian giving a press-conference in Yerevan sometime in 2007. During the press-conference Oskanian said he will not accept a position in government after the presidential elections in Armenia in early 2008. When asked why, he simply said there were going to be some "changes" in government that he did not want to be a part of... We can only guess what he meant. And if I had to guess I would say he was talking about the institutionalization of Armenian-Russian relations which occurred soon after Serj Sargsyan took power in Yerevan. Under Sargsyan, the last four years has seen a great increase in collaborative relations between Yerevan and Moscow.

    Soon after Vartan Oskanian voluntarily abandoned his position in the Armenian government in 2007 he founded "Civilitas". I am sure he is not getting financing for that "democracy" promoting organization in Yerevan from Moscow or Beijing.

    Anyway, since I have not seen a CIA paycheck made out to Oskanian, I can only look at the man's past, take into consideration his affiliations and observe his actions. And based on what I am able to observe about the man, I can make an educated guess about his role in Armenian politics. My educated guess is that Vartan Oskanian is one of the operatives serving Western interests in Armenia.

  24. I believe that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will not be solved in a way of "pox-zichumner", whomever is the leadership of the country. The oppositions in both countries do not want that, both sides want everything and don't want to give anything.

  25. I agree. "Pox Zichumner" per se will not end the conflict. Only geopolitical circumstances can end the conflict. I would add that Moscow is capable of imposing a new reality on the ground if it chooses to. The status quo is prevailing because Moscow wants it that way.

  26. By the way, Could you tell what is the Goble plan exactly? And who was about to accept swaping territories? Levon, Robert, or Vazgen Sargsyan/Karen Demirchyan?

    Also, what is your opinion on the Madrid Principles?

  27. The Goble Plan was one of the biggest factors in geopolitics in the Caucasus during the 1990s. In fact, the plan had a great impact on Armenia's political evolution. It's very disheartening to see that very few Armenians today are aware of the plan, its dangers and just how close Yerevan may have been in accepting it.

    The Goble Plan is a mid-1990 master-plan conjured up by a senior US State Department official named Paul Goble. The plan in question expected Armenia to give-up a strip of land across her southern border with Iran, going through the town of Meghi, so that they Azeris could pass major oil/gas pipelines through it to Nakhijevan and then to Turkey and beyond. In return, it was said that Azerbaijan would have recognized Artsakh's independence and Washington promised something like a billion dollars a year if Armenia accepted the plan. It was even rumored that Turkey may have returned Mount Ararat to Armenia if Yerevan accepted. I am not sure about the exact details, but it was more-or-less along this line. Thus, you see how serious they were about this.

    With Russia down, Armenia at the time was playing an important role in Washington's regional calculations. Also, don't forget that Georgia was a total mess at the time; its color revolution was still something like ten years away. I personally think Washington began concentrating on Georgia when they gave-up on Armenia. And I think they gave-up on Armenia after the event of October 27, 1999.

    Needless to say, the Goble plan was SUICIDAL for Armenia. Even thinking about it was absurd or treasonous. Already isolated and in a very hostile neighborhood, Armenia was more-or-less being asked to further isolate itself by cutting itself off from Iran and allowing Turks and Azeris to establish a connection through Armenia's southern most tip - and all this for mere promises from the West. The Goble Plan would in fact have helped Turks and Azeris realize their historic dream of establishing a land connection of sorts between them.

    Washingtonian operatives worked very hard for several years to fool Armenians into accepting this plan. In fact, they winded and dined Armenian officials and they toured Armenian community centers throughout the United States to push the agenda. Knowing that Armenian officials in Armenia at the time and Armenian-Assembly types were already in their pockets, they concentrated on working on the rank&file of the ARF, who were by-far the most against the plan.

    I remember sometime back in 1996 or 1997 a US Sate Department representative (a fairly young Irish-American deputy) came to our ARF "akumb" in NY (I was once an ARFer) to give us a lecture about the Goble Plan. It was like a tacky infomercial. Needless to say, the audience ended up giving him a nasty lecture instead. The official eventually lost his cool and left red-faced.


  28. By late 1990s, however, there were signs that Vazgen Sarkissyan and Karen Demirjyan had accepted at least parts of the plan in question. The two most popular Armenians leaders at the time had even visited Washington for talks on the issue. According to rumors at the time, the two Armenian officials had accepted a greater American role within the region and had also agreed to lessen Moscow's already waning influence within Armenia. In a press conference some months before he was killed, Demirjyan even stated that Yerevan would begin treating Moscow and Washington equally.

    All this was coinciding with Vladimir Putin's rise in Russia, which drastically drew Moscow's attention back to the Caucasus.

    Finally, various news services reported that on the morning of October 27, 1999, a very high-ranking US State Department official, Strobe Talbot, was in Yerevan holding undisclosed talks with Vazgen Sarkissyan. The talks were said to have been friendly and productive. Within a couple of hours after this meeting, Sarkissyan, Demirjyan and sever other Armenian law makers were dead. Before he was assassinated in 2006, Alexander Litvinenko claimed in 2004 that the Russian GRU was behind the killings. After the assassinations, the Goble Plan seems to have retired to the history books.

  29. "Madrid Principles" is all about Yerevan playing the diplomacy game and giving the big boys on the block some lip service. I don't pay much attention to such international affairs. If you want to see what going on with Artsakh, take a close look at the reality on the ground in Artsakh.

  30. To understand the Goble Plan better one needs to know the man behind the plan. Paul Goble has worked in many sectors of the US government, ranging from the public diplomacy side via his years at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, to his years with the State Dept. in a traditional high diplomacy role, with a focus the Soviet Union and later the CIS, to his on again, off again tenure with the CIA. His dislike of the Russian state runs deep, and I would say he is more hardcore in how much he wants to weaken Russian when compared to his political masters. This is because he wants to see many of the republics and states which make up the current Russian Federation, fully independent, starting with the republics in the North Caucasus, and ending with those in the Far East of Russia. Ironically, he became very disillusioned with Washington, especially under Bush Sr. for not doing more to weaken Russian when the USSR was collapsing. In his mind, the US missed its golden opportunity to kill the Beast in the East once and for all. Goble's plan was well received in Baku and Ankara for obvious reasons, As Arevordi pointed out. In fact, until a year or two ago, Goble taught at the diplomatic academy of baku.

  31. OK, does the West hate Russia simply because they defy the global agenda? I can understand if Armenia is like the domino that settles the entire Caucasian debacle. Most of the people the Western powers have hired to help bring down the former Soviet Union were WWII collaborators who worked alongside Hitler's forces, so I'm not surprised if their views on Russia were carried over to the Western world.

    Another thing: could Armenia simply forget about having a US-style democratic government and have a quasi-authoritarian regime? Realistically speaking, a democratic regime in Armenia wouldn't weed out Western agents, Russophobes and useful idiots. In fact, they'd multiply like bacteria. Is there a pro-Russian or a pro-Eurasian Union political party in Armenia that could become a potent rival to the Pro-European Union parties that they have? Realistically speaking, could Georgia have a regime change that would result in a pro-Russian regime there?

  32. Anti-Russian political sentiments in the Western world is not new, it in fact goes back many hundreds of years. Western powers of the middle-ages (Vatican, Teutons, Poland, Sweden, etc)took turns invading Russia. Napoleon invaded in the early 19th century. In the mid-19th century, the two main Western powers at the time (France and Britain) even sided with the Ottoman Empire simply to contain Russia... Then they pushed Bolshevism into Russia... Then the Nazis set their sights onto Russia... Western powers have always coveted, feared and/or hated Russia.

    I have written extensively about the severe dangers of democracy for a nation like Armenia. Do a "democracy" search in my bog to locate the commentaries in question. What Armenia needs for the foreseeable future is a top heavy government, preferably with a benevolent/patriotic strongman on top. In other words, we Armenians need our Putin.

  33. I'd like to sincerely thank the person who posted the comments about Paul Goble. One question: In your opinion, is there a geostrategic factor/reasoning behind Goble's Russophobia?

  34. Goble styles himself as an idealist and champion of the little people, the disenfranchised; those lacking an independent state. He sees Russia as the backwards bully on the block, which has yet to lose its imperial conquests. It is hard to tell whether this is a protective veneer he wears to make his Russophobia more PC or if he is genuine about wanting to see independence for the minorities of Russia purely on Wilsonian 'self determination' ideals. His wish to see more states in the world is not just in relation to Russia; Africa, the Middle east, Asia, and Latin America are far game for him too. I would venture to guess a little bit of both. On the one hand, Russia losing a number of its republics to full independence would severely weaken it, and thus it would no longer be a threat to the West, and at the same time Wilsonian types would be happy because more nations would now have independent states to call their own.

  35. You usually say that Armenians/Russians need sociopolitical evolution. Could you clarify by what exactly do you mean sociopolitical evolution?

  36. I always follow it up by adding - "and not a Western funded revolution."

    I think the slogan should be have been self-explanatory.

    To put it in as few words as possible: Development is a slow process; it has to occur naturally.

    In other words, Armenians and Russians need social and political evolution without outside interference and without self-destructive behavior.

  37. Hey Arevordi, I love the blog. I don't agree with some of the minor things you say, such as calling our useful(useless) idiots peasants, or that Armenian's have an Asiatic mentality (mainly because I want Armenia to cultivate its relations with friendly Asian giants like India, China, and the economic powerhouses like Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan... "Asiatic" might offend to them, a better insult word would be Altaic, Mongolian, steppe-derived, etc.). But I agree with your message that Armenia must come first, and that Armenians need to realize that the Western powers are largely responsible for Armenia's past and ongoing troubles. Anyway I wanted to post think you might like. While I despise Armenia's foreign-funded "media", I love the fact that your message is getting through to the masses. Check out the comments on this article: The powers that be have failed their mission, Armenians are not as self-destructive as the Arabs or Iranian exiles, and one of their main tools for manipulating Armenians has stagnated to a stop. John Hughes ought to consider returning to Alabama where he belongs.

  38. Thank you for your words of encouragement... as well as your thoughtful critique.

    To defend myself, allow me to explain that I reserve the term "self-destructive peasants" ONLY for those who act politically stupid/ignorant and for those who act destructive with regards to their homeland. In this day in age there is no excuse for political ignorance. Now, what we CAN argue about is the actual percentage of Armenians that fall into the "self-destructive peasant" category. Based on my life-long observations and experiences, I happen to think that our self-destructive peasantry makeup a significant portion of our people today.

    When I say some Armenians have "Asiatic" mindsets and demeanor, I am simply referring to the classical or colloquial meaning of term Asiatic and not the geographic meaning. I do nonetheless agree that "Altaic" is a more accurate term in describing the kind of people I have in mind. Unfortunately, a lot of Armenians today act more Altaic than Turks themselves. This is the one thousand year old cultural/genetic damage I keep referring to. To fix this very serious problem we must first acknowledge that the problem exists in the first place. Many of our idiots today attribute their Asiatic (Altaic) customs and mindsets to Armenian customs/traditions. This is a serious danger for the health of our nation, but it's a danger that not many today are recognizing.

    Needless to say, I strongly agree that Armenia needs better relations with nations such as China, Japan, Korean and India. In fact, Armenia needs less expose to Washington.

    John Hughes is a CIA operative; these is absolutely no doubt about it. What sickens me, however, is the number of American-Armenians (and some Armenian natives)that adore him, believe him and idealize his work. The horse-faced redneck in question needs to be deported out of Armenia.

    As the global community heads towards a third world war, the sleeping masses are slowly waking-up around the world. What the political West has done in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran have been serious wake-up calls. Their audacity in Libya and Syria has in fact shocked millions around the world. Had it not been for Russia, Syria and Iran would have been turned into failed states by now. Had it not been for Russia, we Armenians would have lost Artskah many years ago.

    With Moscow finally getting its political act together, more-and-more people around the world are now beginning to see that the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance's global death grip is slowly weakening. Just imagine what a political nightmare it would have been today had Russia remained on its knees. Russia is doing God's work. I mean this literally.

    Anyway, putting a dent in their powerful and ubiquitous propaganda will be a serious uphill struggle for humanity. When it comes to the dissemination of information, my little ant-hill (my lowly blog) cannot compare to their massive mountain. But I am motivated and I remain hopeful. I'm hopeful that with social media such as the internet (while they have not yet censored it) more-and-more people can be exposed to political truths. After all, a truth should be a lot easier thing to sell than a lie.

    I'm just doing my part. I wish more people did their part as well. Thank you for reading.

  39. Thanks! That was a very fair response to my minor criticisms. Hopefully as our Republic matures and develops, and as the government puts things in order and expands from survival mode to core development mode, a sense of nationalism/patriotism will wipe away the damage of years of failed western and turkish propaganda designed to destroy Armenia's morale.
    It is my opinion that the majority of Armenians had until recently been in awe of the west due to the economic prosperity and high standards-of-living there, as compared to what they had known in the Soviet Union and especially in the impossibly chaotic early post-Soviet years. For whatever reason (runaway greed or some super-evil master plan that's doomed to fail in any case), the oligarchs of the west have irreversibly destroyed the middle class in the west. That, combined with the impending bankruptcy of all except the Germanic governments, means that soon enough the majority of the Armenian masses currently hypnotized by the idealized image they have of the west will be disillusioned. And foreign agents in Armenia like John Hughes, Raffi Hovanissian and LTP will pretty much be reduced to physically bribing people in order to have any supporters whatsoever.
    Another decade of development for Armenia's economy, combined with the west's decline, and there provocateurs are going to see their pool of radical supporters seriously dry up.
    And yes, hopefully the internet will not be censored.And hopefully the Russian-Armenian Alliance goes on forever, to the maximum interest of both nations. I hope Armenia's leaders have convinced Russia that a prosperous, well-developed Armenia that stretches from Sepastia (Sivas ) to Trabzon down to Tigranakert (Diyarbekir) and Cilcia and eastward to Gandzak (Ganja) and north to Javakhk right up to Tblisi will be Russia's ONLY guarantee for security over the Northern Caucuses and influence in the Middle East. Heck they can take all of our energy, telecommunications, transport and industrial infrastructure and whatever else they want, it’s a small price to pay for having the Republic of Armenia survive against the NATO-armed Turkey, Georgia and Azerbajian axis (Thank goodness for the proud results of freedom and democracy: Turkish F-35's and access to nukes based in Incirlik). And after all Russians make for incredibly good scientists and engineers, they'll just invest in and develop our infrastructure to a whole new level with their advanced technology (as they are currently doing).
    Anyway keep up the blog, it always makes for an insightful and interesting read, and is an especially refreshing change to biased BS other English-language websites.

  40. in case if Armenia is pro-Western, we would lose some Karabakh lands but at least the economy will prosper right?

  41. You made some very intelligent and insightful comments. I don't want to sound arrogant but reading some of what you wrote felt as if I wrote it...

    Yes, Germanic nations are a breed apart from the rest of humanity. I wish we Armenians had more access to all things Germanic. And on that note, for Armenia, Russia is the next best thing.

    We need to make a pan-national effort within the walls of the Kremlin. Yes, a larger and more powerful Armenia would be an impenetrable fortress for Russia... But are Russians willing to trust us with that much power? What if they put Armenia on a pedestal so-to-speak and they get back-stabbed by us? Such types of risks are normally not taken by political strategists. I think "trust" is key to this discussion. There is no such thing as trust or friendship in politics. Everything is temporary and conditional. Therefore, due to their geostrategy, Russian officials will make sure that Armenia survives, but they will also make sure Armenia remains dependent.

    It is essentially up to us to fully exploit the opportunity Moscow is providing us by ensuring our survival in the Caucasus. Unfortunately, I don't see us collectively embarking on such an agenda just yet...

    Moreover, although they control much of the nation's infrastructure, Kremlin officials know that many if not most of Armenia's officials today can be easily bought. In fact, I would guess that a majority of Armenia's current leadership are more inclined to dealing with the political West. If Armenia is in the Russian camp today, it's simply because of men like Serj Sargsyan, Robert Kocharyan and Seyran Ohayan. Therefore, Moscow's position in Armenia is really not all that powerful, and Russians realize this.

    For more on this topic, please read the following commentaries -

    Nevertheless, I do hope that with sociopolitical evolution Armenia will eventually heal many of its new and old wounds. In the meanwhile, however, we need to keep our eyes on Washington's many whores amongst us because they will do their bast to derail Armenia's froward progress. Although the honeymoon between the political West and the world's masses may be over, the former still controls every major international lever.

  42. Agreed. And I'll be the first to admit, while I had my own distaste for the West, most of what I posted I "borrowed" from you and others on the internet.

  43. Please feel free go through the pages of this blog and disseminate any of my work to like-minded individuals you know.

    How long have you been reading my work?

  44. Hey Arevordi, have you heard of this new film called "Here"? It's set in and filmed in Armenia. I was pretty excited to hear at first, but I just watched the official trailer ( So it's a "love story" about some American on duty in Yerevan who catches the eye of a native Armenian girl (based on the true story of John Hughes?). So after the usual love movie bs they finally hit it off, when suddenly the unwitting American comes across a brutish Armenian soldier who accuse him of being a spy and drag his ass to off… So basically Armenia, a country with a super low crime rate (specially compared to the US) and a country which sent troops to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, an ally in the war on terror, is depicted as having an unprofessional, Hezballah type military. It's unpleasant but they really are working hard to throw Armenia in the same lot as they threw Syria, Libya and the "Axis of Evil" countries. I can imagine how many clueless (politically illiterate) Diasporan's will cheer this movie as an example of Armenia getting some mainstream recognition without realizing the insults being hurled at our brave Armed Forces and its soldiers and officers. Everything from this blog rushed to my mind as I watched the trailer.

    (I sincerely wish I had misinterpreted the trailer, but as an Armenian I feel it is my duty to "call a spade a spade")

  45. I knew of the film and I was in the process of writing a little commentary about it.

    Most Armenians are not yet ready to admit this to themselves but the Armenian masses are just as idiotic as any on earth. In fact, our masses, similar to those in Semitic lands, are particularly idiotic. Therefore, our nation's peasantry is just as susceptible to well made/attractive films with damaging/corrosive messages as any other peasantry on earth. Therefore, I wont be surprised if our sheeple, especially the ones in the United States, takes a real liking to this politically motivated propaganda of the American empire disguised as a love story. Just be aware that there is a multi-pronged information war being actively waged against Armenia by the political West. This film is merely a single component of the war.

    I should note that I have nothing against Armenians falling in love with non-Armenians - as long as the non-Armenian component of the love equation is of a compatible culture or race - and the love union remains in Armenia. At the end of the day, what is important not the nationality of a person an Armenian enters a marital union with. What's important is raising a new generation of psychologically health and patriotic Armenians. If an Armenian can marry an non-Armenian in Armenia but raise Armenian children, I have nothing against it. In fact, I would even encourage Armenians to intermingle with Germanic and Salvic peoples. My core problem in this matter, therefore, is with political interests that are using films such as this to exploit human affairs towards self-serving political purposes.

    Every empire has created a story, or a film in this case, about one of its servants falling in love with a native; a third world Armenian native in this case. Armenians now can be proud that the empire has taken a liking to Armenian women as well. I won't be surprised if our "proud" Amerika-Hays will begin falling allover themselves to watch this newest of Pocahontas film. But I hope Armenian instinct in this case can overcome Armenian intellect.

    Generally speaking, films such as this serve as gears in the machine of Globalism. Globalism is a monster that is currently destroying much of humanity's diverse cultures and making them vulnerable to the invasion multi-culturalism, multi-racialism and multi-national corporations. More specifically, films such as this become part-and-parcel of Washington-sponsored psychological operations (psyop) campaign against Armenia. Since this is election year in Armenia and there is a lot at stake for the political West in the Caucasus, the anti-Armenia psyop campaign will increase in volume and in intensity. We are already seeing Washington's assets in the American-Armenian community becoming activated in recent months.

  46. We must not forget that there are readily available funds/grants/awards reserved for anything and everything that serves a Western political purpose in the world. Promotion of the English language, western-based international organizations, US Dollar, American POP culture, homosexuality, sex&violence, genetically modified foods, western psycho-drugs, cults, environmental movements, free trade, multi-culturalism, multi-racialism, militant feminism, "democratic" values, etc... These are some of the tools the empire spends tens of billions of dollars promoting around the world for the sole purpose of subjugating nations without the use of arms. The mechanism of Western Globalism is thus geared towards the promotion of such values. Therefore, if any given purpose/project serves the Western alliance's neo-Bolshevik Globalist agenda, there are will be no closed doors.

    Thus, it should not surprise us Armenians when we get films like this; or get events such as "Azeri film" festivals in Armenia; or get Turkish-Armenian reconciliation efforts; or get public plays such as the Vagina Monologues; or get Western propaganda outlets disguised as independent journalism; or get Western-funded subversive groups disguised as humanitarian organizations; or get vulgar stories about the Armenian military published in books... It there is a cause, legitimate or illegitimate, that could be used to undermine a targeted political system, we can be sure that Washington's operatives are there to organize, fund, encourage and sometimes instigate. It is very unfortunate that the political West has made genuine activism in Armenia a very dangerous affair for the vulnerable republic.

    The cultural, political, economic and financial levers that the political West has been exploiting for decades has created a collective hypnosis of sorts today within most nations around the world, including western nations. These zombified masses of the world are the ones getting economically/politically exploited by those operating behind the levers of the American empire. I personally know many decent, well-educated and well-off Armenians who are victims of this collective hypnosis. As I said, the western populations are not spared. Americans may just be one of the most hypnotized/zombified people on earth. Therefore, westerners are also victims of the political/financial elite of the Western world. European/western culture is in fact dying because of the American empire's Anglo-American-Zionist elite.

    If the Anglo-American-Zionist elite is not defeated within the next few decades, the global community will face the apocalyptic prospect of being force-fused into one language, one monetary system, one race and one culture - as per the wishes of the Anglo-American-Zionist global order. I personally think that one day humanity will lament the fall of the Russian empire in 1918 and defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945. Those two black pages in history essentially gave birth to the abomination currently bringing the world towards a calamity. Until the civilized world finally rids itself of the Anglo-American-Zionist religion of Globalism, until the civilized world finally rids itself of the Anglo-American-Zionist global order's multi-culturalism, mutli-racialism, corporatism, anti-apostolic christian values and Judeo-African culture, it will remain on the very edge of destruction.

  47. Arevordi:

    I'm not sure if humanity would have lamented on the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945. Sure, the defeat of Germany paved the way for a world that is exactly as worse as it its, but say if the Nazis won the war, would the world be better off or worse off? Of course, I liked it better when Europe was a continent of monolithic cultures, but the Zionists have readily admitted to destroying that very same monolithic culture only because they felt that Europe should have owed them for the Holocaust. Unfortunately, if I condemned Zionism, I'd take a risk being condemned by the ADL but it's a condemnation that I'm willing to undertake if I should help return Europe to its pure roots. It's true that the Zionists want to promote multi-culturalism in Europe, but there's a backlash already. We obviously know of the infamous Anders Breivik and his actions against those who support multiculturalism, which exactly provided the backlash the Zionists would have predicted.

    Where I come from, we were the first nation to fall victim under American imperialism outside the New World. I have never forgotten our ancestors who fought bravely against the American imperialists but their policy of benevolent assimilation had weakened us and benevolent assimilation is exactly the policy the Anglo-American elitists have enacted without giving it a reference. However, the globalists have even brainwashed the mainstream 'neo-Nazis' with skinhead culture and punk rock, something that Hitler himself and the original National Socialists would have hated to the very core. And what do you mean by anti-apostolic Christian values? The values espoused by Western Christendom?

    Curious Observer

  48. After the current - Anglo-American-Zionist system of things - passes and humanity can once again look back without today's cultural/psychological conditioning, it will recognize that Germany's defeat in the 1940s caused the downfall of western/classical civilization and gave rise to the global menace we are facing today.

    For centuries, Germanic nations have been at the very forefront of science, philosophy, modernity, education, social planning, warfare, medicine, innovation and the arts. The NSDP movement in Germany triggered a further flowering of culture and science throughout the 1930s. In my opinion, had the Nazis won, classical European culture (as well as German ingenuity) would have been at the very forefront of modern society. At the very least, we would not have had today's ubiquitous Afro-culture, Jew worship, consumerism, materialism, multi-culturalism, multi-racialism, Hollywood culture and third world invasions. And, most probably, we would not have had a thing called militant Islam.

    I have no doubt that if the Germans had been the world's premier power during the last century (instead of who's been in charge), Europe and the world would have been living through a second renaissance. Almost everything you and I hate about the current world has its roots in Western Globalism and the rule of the Anglo-American-Zionist elite; something which developed and evolved as a direct result of Germany's defeat in 1945.

    Don't forget that winners write the history books. Assuming that you are less-than seventy years old, you and I have grown up in a post German world. Therefore, every single thing you think you know about he Nazis are either lies or half-truths. Everything about the Nazis has been presented to us by their enemies. And their lies about the great German/Austrian movement in question continues unabated today because they realize that as soon as they stop conditioning the sheeple's minds, the light of national socialism will shine again.

    When you do some serious research on this topic, and give it serious thought, you'll eventually understand what I mean. But I understand that it will be very difficult to reprogram your thinking.

    The Anglo-American-Zionist global order has ruined Europe, it has ruined western culture, it has ruined apostolic/traditional Christianity and it has ruined the white race. In fact, it is destroying much of the world's races and cultures.

    Apostolic Christianity = pre-Vatican II Catholicism and Christian Orthodoxy (Russian, Greek, Armenian, Ethiopian, etc).

    Can you please tell me what is your ethnic background?

    PS: "Skinheads" and "neo-Nazis" are a disgrace. Please do not confuse a serious intellectual and spiritual movement like NSDP with those white trash.

  49. Arevordi:

    I am an ethnic Filipino who lives in Canada and I thoroughly detested the United States for ruining my country. Of course, my countrymen now value white skin as much as they value anything American. It is the result of the 'benevolent assimilation' that was imposed on us, to make sure that we don't tap on our indigenous spirit when we revolt against our oppressors. It's true that if the Nazis won, there would have been much more culture than it is now, if they did win then Russia would have suffered a lot more. I don't know what would happen to Armenia in a Nazi victory, but for sure Russia as we know wouldn't exist, given Hitler's hatred of the Slavic race.

    Curious Observer

    P.S.: When did the Vatican II Christianity started to develop?


    The ARF's main use is slowing down assimilation in the Diaspora; pushing for some token political support for Armenia in branches of western government that have no real power; and confronting visiting turkish and azeri leaders. The ARF reminds me of Charles Aznavour: their great until they attempt to involve themselves in Armenia's internal affiars.

    BTW I didn't know vagina monologues opened in Armenia, thanks for psoting. So did Armenian language "Cosmopolitan". Subversive powers always target women and manipulate the legitimate problems they face into chaos. The media driven image of the "modern, liberated" woman is false, creates more problems for women without solving any of their existing problems and does irreversible damage to the reproductive rate. Hopefully the majority of our people see through the sham. (I'm sure you already knew this, but its worth repeating.)

  51. @ Anonymous,

    I had a feeling you were Filipino.
    Yes, unfortunately you are one of the many nations on earth that has been totally broken spiritually and enslaved by the global elite.

    Again, let me remind you that EVERYTHING we know about the Nazis has reached us through an Anglo-American-Zionist-Bolshevik prism.

    Nazi Germany's main problem was Bolshevism. While they had little respect for Slavs per se, their geostrategic campaign was against the Jew-led Bolshevism that had destroyed the Russian Empire. I do not think Germany would have destroyed the Russia race, many Russian/Slavs fought for Germany. In fact, Germans had alliances with Japanese, Iranians, Arabs, Africans, Indians... The NSDP officials were professional politicians, and they were highly refined intellectuals. They were not the bloodthirsty animals the victors of the war portray them to be.

    Had Germany won, Bolshevism would have collapsed and a new Russia would have emerged. At worst, Russia would have been pushed back to the Urals. There is no reason to believe anything bad would have happened to Armenia. Several tens-of-thousands of Armenians fought for Germany and there were high level Armenians within Germany getting ready to administer Armenia once the Caucasus fell.

  52. Regarding Armenia and the Nazis, one of the highest-ranking Nazis Alfred Rosenberg certified that Armenians were an Aryan race with a place in the future German-led Europe.

    Rosenberg was an ideologist and historian (rather than a politician) interested in scientific research, he was interested in examining the origins of the Aryan race, especially through ancient Hindu, Persian, Armenian culture and pagan beliefs.

    From what I could gather, the turkish government, following its traditional policy of kissing the ass and feigning friendship with any rising western power (Britain/France, WWI Germany, the 1920s Soviet Union, WWII Germany, the United States) launched some vicious propaganda claiming the Armenians were nothing but "dirty Semites" and that the Germans should kill the Genocide survivors and refugees from Bolshevism living in Europe. Rosenberg responded by doing cultural, linguistic and other research and determining the Armenians were Aryan, which he made official (although I haven't been able to determine if Rosenberg released a Nazi Party document, German government document, Court order or any other official means).

    Three famous quotes by Hitler and Armenia:

    Who today speaks of the Armenians?

    "once so proud
    a people as the Persians, who now had to continue their miserable existence as Armenians

    I don't know about these Georgians. They do not belong to the Turkic peoples...I consider only the moslims to be reliable...All others I deem unreliable. For the time being I consider the formation of these battalions of purely Caucasian peoples very risky, while I don't see any danger in the establishment of purely Moslim units...In spite of all declarations from Rosenberg and the military, I don't trust the Armenians either"

    In any case, Naziism is dead for now, although the collapse of the rest of the western economies has put Germany in a surprising position of power.

    Finally, just to note since this blog is titled "Heralding the Rise of Russia", while Naziism was opposed to the Bolshevism imposed on Russia, there was always fertile ground for competition between Orthodox Russia and Protestant Germany and the cruelty with which the Germans treated Russian civilians and POW conscripts was exceedingly brutal. Ironic that Russia now holds the former Konigsberg, Gasprom influences top German leaders, Russian skinheads adopt the symbols of a fallen German regime that would have slit their fathers and grandfathers throats and raped their mothers and grandmothers without giving it a second thought.

  53. @Sarkis

    Of course this "what if" discussion about NSDP is silly. Having said that, this discussion is also beyond Armenians or any one nationality per se. We are talking about politics and civilization on a global level. We are talking about cultural influences the global community would have been impacted by had Germans won the war. In my opinion, in the big picture, I would have rather had Nazis won the war simply because their cultural values would have been much closer to ours and their politics and their civilization would have benefited the entire world.

    Those comments attributed to Hitler is nothing but rumor. I have not seen a single credible source for them. They could even be wartime Bolshevik psyop. Stalin's henchmen would spread nasty rumors throughout the Soviet Union to scare the people into fight Germans. One particularly nasty rumor was to tell Armenians that once Germans occupied the Caucasus they would allow Turks to finish the job.

    Moreover, even if those comments attributed to Hitler were true, they can hardly be considered hostile towards us. If Hitler did indeed make such comments, it merely means he pitied Armenians due to the truly pitiful state of our existence at the time. Put yourself back in the 1930s and tell me how Armenians would have looked to you, especially if you were a powerful leader leading a powerful nation.

    Again, EVERYTHING we know about the Nazis is what their enemies have said about them, which is why you made that comment Nazis cutting throats and raping women.

    The cutting throats and raping women were a Bolshevik specialty. I have read a lot of archival materials, biographies and books written by reputable western scholars about the war. An objectively look at the time in question reveals something totally different than what Hollywood and the scholastic system in America and the Soviet Union has been portraying for decades.

    I have also spoken to several elderly Armenian men that had lived under Nazi occupation in Romania, Bulgaria, Austria and the Ukraine. These men lament to this day that the Germans lost the war. Every single one of them have said - while the Germans were around: there was no crime, no corruption, no Jews, no Gypsies, the national infrastructure functioned perfectly, wages were payed on time, food was plentiful, the streets were clean, medicine was reliable, etc. And they all say - Germans were very respectful and kind to the locals.

  54. You would be hard pressed to find any credible sources that cite systematic rape of women or massacres of innocent civilians being carried out by German troops. It needs to be said, however, that some special SS units were tasked with rooting out Bolsheviks and Jews in occupied territories. Sometimes criminal behavior took place by these units, and it is interesting that a large percentage of these special troops were in fact natives of the occupied lands. Like I said, you would have a tough time finding German atrocities against peaceful civilians, especially during the early stages of the war.

    But you do not need to look far to realize that Bolsheviks specialized in atrocities -

    And here is a little look at the character of typical German soldiers some seventy years after the war -

    Moreover, let's also not forget how many German and Japanese civilians died as a result of being deliberately targeted by Americans and the British. What's worst, gunning down a few civilians who were accused of sabotage and/or assassinating Germans soldiers or wiping-out entire towns because they could be hiding German arms? What was the real reason American and British air forces razed Dresden to the ground killing tens-of-thousands of innocent civilians a day or two before the war ended?

    Putting aside what they sometimes did to Jews and Bolsheviks on the eastern front, Nazis did not molest peaceful populations anywhere they went. Even according to Russian sources, the very first atrocities on the Eastern front were carried-out against German soldiers and pro-German Ukrainian civilians by the Bolshevik NKVD. And don't forget that it was Bolsheviks at the time that murdered over twenty thousand Polish intellectuals, politicians and officers...

    I am not saying Germans soldiers were a bunch of boy-scouts. When they faced hostility, especially towards the end of the war, especially on the eastern front, they were brutal in their reprisals. This was especially the case for the Waffen SS. Also, during the later stages of the war on the eastern front, none of the sides took prisoners. The eastern front got very ugly very early in the war and it got worst as time progressed. But the ugliness was two sided. Nevertheless, man-for-man and in the big picture, Germans were more civilized than the allies in my opinion.

    For me, the only positive in the war was this: The patriotic fervor that engulfed Slavs as a result of the German invasion eventually helped turn the face of the Soviet Union from a Jewish/altaic one to a more Slavic/western one.

    Anyway, I think we have gotten way-off track here. If there is anything that I think you should take away from this discussion is what I have been repeating: everything we know about the Nazis has been presented to us by their enemies. A culture/civilization that has probably given us more geniuses in music, warfare, science, philosophy, art and engineering than the entire world combined should been an inspiration for the world.

    As you pointed out, relations between Moscow and Berlin have warmed significantly in recent years. There is actually grounds now for an alliance to be formed between the two Eurasian titans. If the Anglo-American-Zionists do not sabotage it, we may see a genuine German-Russian alliance form sometime within this century. Such a thing would be wonderful on many levels. Regarding religion: you are giving it too much political wight. Only when it's politically expedient do politicians resort to using religion as a political tool.

    PS: Russia's skinheads are derived from the nation's undereducated, underemployed and psychologically damaged youth that grew up in the 1990s. Moreover, they were/are being incited by Western powers. They wanted to exploit Russia's ethnic diversity to cause unrest in the country. It's a good thing Putin crushed the movement.

  55. Arevordi:

    There were some German officers in the Wehrmacht who were genuinely supportive of having a new, post-Bolshevik Free Russia, among them (though correct me if I am wrong) von Stauffenberg. If the Nazi Party leadership didn't screw things up with their management, the Wehrmacht officers could have managed it more competently. Of course, the Wehrmacht leadership was more concerned about winning the war against the Bolsheviks than lebensraum.

    The best possible situation in a Nazi victory would have been a rump Russian state within the Arkhangelsk-Astrakhan line dividing the new Germany and the weakened Russia. Also, could a genuine German-Russian alliance be more beneficial to Armenia in the long run?

    Curious Observer

  56. Fair enough. In order to get a more "fair and balanced" view of Naziism, one can always 1) ignore completely what documentary films, biased books and hollywood movies say about Hitler; 2) read Mein Kampf, its a well-reasoned but complex book and the actual English translation the Nazi's were working on is available from; 3) watch Triumph of the Will and Olympia, they are available from or even as Netflix DVDs; 4) watch "the eternal jew" (

    I agree about the incredible German prowess in the arts, sciences and managing to build decent counties. I agree that the bombing of Dresden and other civilian centers was a major warcrime, as were the atomic bombs the US dropped on Japan. I agree that most massacres against the Bolsheviks were carried out by the local populations which had been terrorized by the Bolsheviks for about 30 years until the Germans liberated them. I also agree that the post war removal of Germans from all of Eastern Europe down to the Caucasus and Volga was genocide.

    It's sad to see that the allies turned Germany into a turk-infested (5+ million!) hellhole, as well as the gay tourist capital of the world. Decades of propaganda have turned a part of the Germans into self-hating nonentities. Hopefully where Germany has stumbled Armenia will be spared from the effects of such propaganda.

    On a final note, you're right that Russian skinheads and modern American white nationalists are lacking in any research or historical education. They are at best a group reacting to the invasion of immigrants they see around them and they are easily manipulated. A look at blogs like Vanguard News Network shows that 1) they just complain over and over about the same "hot-button" issues and 2) they are mostly hostile to Armenians, except for the more educated people running the show in the background.

    Anyway sorry for taking the thread off topic, but it was an interesting discussion.

  57. I know that your blog is mainly about Geopolitics, but can you give me a brief explanation about the different political parties in the upcoming parliamentary elections this sunday? And which political power do you think has the most popularity?

    Hanrapetakan, Bargavach, Orinats Erkir, Dashnaktsutyun, Jarangutyun, Hay Azgayin Congress?

  58. To my anonymous Filipino comrade.

    What you have pointed out is exactly what you will find once you merely scratch the surface of the decades long Anglo-American-Zionist propaganda against Germany. Germany's officer corps as well as many NSDP officials were seasoned professional with sound geopolitical foresight. In fact, what screwed things up were not Nazi officials per se but the anti-German international cartel that was targeting Berlin and causing Nazi officials to react aggressively and sometimes irrationally. This does not, however, mean that Nazi officials did not make serious strategic mistakes during the course of the war. Anyway, what you have shown me here is that you are a true student of history and you don't get your "information" from bullshit sources like the "History Channel".

    I sincerely believe that the war on the eastern front would have come to a stalemate eventually even if Germany won the battle of Stalingrad, did not overextended itself and was better able to protect its industrial centers and resource transportation lines from allied bombing. Although the German war machine was vastly superior to that of the allies, I do not think Germany would have been able to totally defeat the Soviet Union simply because it was too populace and too vast. I think the war would have eventually stopped somewhere in eastern Europe, between the Baltic Sea and the Caucasus. And most probably, a new none-Bolshevik Russia would have emerged as a result.

    Of course it's all somewhat speculative but such an alliance between Berlin and Moscow can be very beneficial for Armenia in three fundamental ways: 1) Besides the Russian market, it would give Armenia access to the very developed western European market via Germany. 2) A more powerful Germany and Russia means a less powerful Turkey, Islamic states and China. 3) With an alliance with Russia, Germany can start exporting some of its cultural values into Russia and beyond as it did during the 19th century. I think these can all have a very positive impact on Armenia's political, economic and cultural development.

    Last note: Since the passing of the British empire in the first half of the 20th century, the following has more-or-less been the geostrategic motto of the Anglo-American-Zionist world: keep America in, Russia out and Germany down. When you give this formula some thought, everything that has been going on in the political world for the last century would make perfect sense.

    To Sarkis86

    There is nothing that I can add to what you have already said other than I am glad there are clear thinking/healthy Armenians out there such as yourself. Individuals like you give me hope and makes my work here feel worthwhile.

  59. To anonymous, who posed a question about Armenian political parties.

    ARF (Dashnaktsutyun): It's American branches in particular are penetrated by Western intelligence agencies. The ARF does not offer any real solutions to Armenia's current problems and it has marginalized itself from politics in recent years. ARF should stick to Diasporan activities.

    Levon Petrosian's kabal: 1990s era criminals and traitors, long been rejected by a majority of Armenians.

    Heritage (Zharankutyun): Run by an agent of Washington and like the ARF it offers no real solutions to Armenia's serious geopolitical and socioeconomic problems. In better times, Raffi would be put to jail or barred from entering Armenia.

    Country of Laws (Orinats Erkir): Silly organization who's leader got caught with his pants down several years ago and has since been kissing ass to survive in Armenia's political scene.

    Prosperous Armenia (Barkavaj Hayastan): Run by a 1990s era oligarch who's entire understanding of the political world is based on money (the US Dollar in particular). Since Washington realizes that Levon has been discredited and Raffi is going no where, "Dodi Gago's" party has been adopted by Washington via Vartan Oskanian. Fearing reprisals from Moscow, the party is also working hard to gain Russian support. It needs to be said that this party poses by-far the greatest challenge/threat to the ruling administration in Yerevan.

    Republican (Hanrapetakan): In my opinion, despite all its flaws, real and perceived, this party remains the only reliable/safe alternative to the above mentioned rabble. They are to me the lesser of all the evils currently on the political stage in Armenia. Due to its closeness to Moscow, this party has recently been targeted by Washington's propaganda machine. Because of the up-coming presidential elections, expect to see the campaign against the party increase in frequency and intensity in the coming months.

  60. Arevordi:

    There was a picture that I saw where two Filipino students were in Germany at the time of Hitler's regime and they were talking to a German officer, though I don't know where the picture is located now. I was also surprised when I learned about African soldiers in the Wehrmacht, dispelling any myths about the Wehrmacht and in turn, the Waffen SS as the primary European based army that could have destroyed Bolshevism.

    On the other hand, the world seriously needs to learn from Germany's best values of hard work, obedience, efficiency and punctuality. I mean, if Russia and Armenia could apply those skills, they could have accomplished a lot of things that even the Anglo-American-Zionists couldn't dare to achieve. Unfortunately, it would take a lifetime to reverse the damage the Tyrannical Trio (Anglo-American-Zionist) had caused upon the rest of the world.

    With regards to Armenia, is it the religious issue the main problem as to why the Turks harbored such hatred towards the Armenians? If it was religious issues the Turks have with non-Muslims, then I'm surprised as to how their Ottoman predecessors were able to survive for a long time with multiple religious faiths living under their rule.

    Curious Observer

  61. Armenians and Russians, as well as the rest of humanity (including the Japanese) can learn a lot from Germanic peoples. Some of the damage cause by the Anglo-American-Zionist global order will prove irreversible and some will require many years to heal or fix... And the first thing that needs to go is the language we are conversing in. As long as English remains a global language, the Anglo-American world's cultural and psychological power over the world's masses will remain very powerful.

    The main Turkish problem with Armenians was, is and will continue being geostrategic. Religion did not play a leading role in what happened to Ottoman Armenians during the First World War.

    Prior to the first great war of the 20th century, a majority of Armenians were located throughout Western Armenia, which for the previous seven centuries had been under Turkic rule. Along with many other nationalities under Ottoman rule at the time, Armenians began demanding independence in the mid-18th century. Turks did not take this lightly. And when the powerful Russian empire began supporting Armenians in their demands, Turks panicked. By the time of First World War, there were clear signs that the Ottoman empire was falling apart. The allies had landed on its western borders and Russian troops had successfully invaded its eastern borders.

    Ottoman officials had already lost control of territories in North Africa, Balkans and the Middle East. The prospect of losing control over historic Armenia (located in the epicenter of the Ottoman empire) was enough for them to react with genocidal force. The systematic genocide of Armenian civilians began in the spring of 1915 and gradually ended in the early 1920s. In that time period, virtually the entire Armenian population of Western Armenia (around two million souls) disappeared from the land. Approximately 1.5 million had died and the rest of the survivors had been scattered throughout the world.

    Of course the political West at the time wasn't too worried about the plight of the Armenians, they also had their hands full with the Germans in Europe. And the Russian empire, Armenia's only true ally, had collapsed by 1917/1918. Armenians were defenseless, isolated and at the total mercy of a bunch of bloodthirsty rulers in a dying empire. Nevertheless, had it not been for the Jew-led Bolshevik revolution, had Russia remained strong at the time, Russian forces would have continued to advance well into historic Armenia and there would not have been an Armenian Genocide and Western Armenia would have existed, at the very least, as an Armenian province within Russia today.

  62. Arevordi:

    If English should not be the language that we should converse in, which language? It's not easy for a non-Armenian to learn the Armenian language, especially the writing system since it could have resembled the Georgian script. We could converse in Russian, but none of us speak the language fluently.

    Was Ataturk's reign as President of the Turkish Republic another factor in the worsening of relations between Turkey and Armenia? It could be, since the Kemalist thought concerned about the Turkish territorial integrity and I'm not sure if the Turkish nationalists were hostile towards the Kurds and other minorities as they were towards the Armenians. Of course, there are stories of Greek exodus from Istanbul due to pogroms.

  63. Please try to think out of the Anglo-American box they have forced you to live in. Had it not been Globalese (English), it would have been some other language. But as long as the global sheeple continues speaking English, their job to condition/exploit/manipulate/lead the global sheeple becomes that much easier. Language is a powerful psychological tool as it conveys culture and mindset to its users. Therefore, English is a catalyst upon which Globalist values (as well as various Western sponsored political projects) travel.

    At the very least, since we are stuck with English for the foreseeable future, what we can do is to use Globalese against Globalism. That's what I am essentially trying to do with this blog.

    PS: Relations between Turks and Armenians could not have been worst at the time. Therefore, Ataturk's rise in Turkey could not have made it worst. Although on a lesser scale, Greeks and Assyrians suffered a genocide as well. Turkish pogroms against Kurds began sooner after the extermination of Armenians in Western Armenia.

  64. Serzh doesn't realize one thing. He is unable to create popularity among his people. As much as I want him to stay in power, since he's Russia's man, I fear that after these elections things could heat up like it did in 2008...

  65. I agree with your assessment of the current political situation. Although I see Sargsyan's presidency as an evolutionary step forward in Armenia, and as a lesser of all the political evils currently plaguing the country, I nonetheless agree that he is not very capable domestically. He is of the old guard, and like the old guard his ways are a bit outdated. When it comes to administering the troublesome sheeple in the country, his modus operandi is very Soviet/primitive in nature. Armenia desperately needs a president like the former Yerevan mayor Karen Kartapetyan. The rumor in Yerevan is that Karapetyan is currently being groomed for the presidency in Russia. According to this rumor, he was taken out of Yerevan to keep him clean/unblemished for the presidency he is expected to assume in the future.

    PS: Russian-Armenian relations/alliance is now institutionalized. The relationship between the two capitols wont change regardless of who takes over, granted that the new regime does not try to tamper with the strategic relationship in question. Trust me on this, Armenia is more important to Russian officials than it is to most Armenian officials. If there is a risk that it may lose Armenia, Moscow will spill torrents of blood in Yerevan...

  66. Even if Levon or Raffi take over?

  67. Although I don't see any chances for Raffi...

  68. In this regard, Levon is a safer politician to deal with than an agent from Washington. Levon is an opportunist. He will deal with whoever, as long as he and his cronies can stay in power. That is why during the 1990s when Russia was weak, Levon was kissing Western and Turkish assess. He is basically a homegrown criminal/traitor. Therefore, if faced with a Levon presidency, Moscow will simply sit him down and set his political boundaries (what he can and cannot do). Raffi, on the other hand, is a totally different animal. Raffi is an agent of Washington. Raffi, his family and his associates such as Vartan Oskanian and Richard Giragosian work directly for Washington. Therefore, he'll die in a car accident before he gets anywhere near the Armenian presidency...

  69. Arevordi:

    Would the prediction of a Russian linkup with Armenia be true after all now that the West has revealed plans to attack Iran? I strongly suspect that the Americans would have a difficult time trying to capture Iran intact since its geography would have made it easier for the Iranian forces to defend their territory, though if Iran is attacked, then Russia could still go through the Caucasus and link up with Armenia and Iran. What would be the end result for the short conflict that would involve Iran?

    Curious Observer

  70. @Curious observer

    I do not think anybody is stupid enough to "invade" Iran. What's being planned by the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance is an aerial attack against Iran, and what's being hoped for is for an internal uprising to take place there. What the end-result will be is anybody's guess at this time. But Moscow has clearly said that if Iran is attacked it reserves the right to militarily move into the south Caucasus via Georgia.


    "If is it true that the best defense is attack, Armenia may also consider the possibility of launching a pre-emptive attack on Georgia in case close relation between Tbilisi on the one side, and Baku and Ankara on the other side, are perceived as a concrete threat to its very existence. In that eventuality, Armenia may even achieve what Israel did with the 1967 six day war: to become a regional power even being the less populated country of the region, making real the dream of a Greater Armenia."

    The future for Armenia seems limitless, as you said, for the first time in 1000 years. It's all up to us to make it happen, and our hands are not tied thanks the impenetrable security provided by the Russian Bear. We have to pray as you said that ethnic Russian, and not bolshevik jews or their successors of today, maintain control of the Kremlin. It seems today that the Renaissance that Armenia began to experience beginning in the late 1700s stemming from the Rise of Russia, and which was tragically cut short during the bolshevik nightmare, is finally getting back on track! Long live Armenia, and long live Russia!

    "According to information released by the controversial website WikiLeaks, during the Russo-Georgian war of 2008, Turkey was even ready to deploy its troops under the status of NATO into Georgia’s territory in case of Russian invasion of Adjara. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and members of the Turkish parliament visited Moscow and met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a document dated August 14, 2008 stated. According to the document, the Turkish delegation told Medvedev that if Russia conducted military operations near the 100-kilometer zone surrounding the Turkish border, Turkey, as a NATO member, would have the right and even the obligation to place its units into military operations and protect the territory of neighbouring member states of the alliance."

    The audacity of the fucking turks! I recall them stating something like this during 2008 war on the mainstream media. I know conflict in the Caucasus creates inherent risks for Armenia, and I don't want to fall into the stereotype Diasporan gung-ho armchair-general calling for a war to break out, but fuck imagine the turks had made saakashvili's error and stepped up to a resurgent Russia... ankara, the evil home of the corrupt, might have ended up as a fucking smoking crater! Imagine the Russians ordering all turks out of Western Armenia, and then ordering those famous turkish construction firms to build a 20 foot high wall running north to south at the border of Sepastia (sivas) and ankara in order to delineate the permanent Armenian-turkish border. It's a fantasy but still a great thought.


Dear reader,

Arevordi will be taking a sabbatical to tend to personal matters. New blog commentaries will henceforth be posted on an irregular basis. Please note that the comments board however will continue to be moderated on a regular basis.

The last 20 years has helped me see the Russian nation as the last front on earth against the scourges of Westernization, Americanization, Globalism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism. I have also come to see Russia as the last hope humanity has for the preservation of classical western/European civilization, Apostolic Christianity and the traditional nation-state. These sobering realizations compelled me to create this blog in 2010. Immediately, this blog became one of the very few voices in the vastness of Cyberia that dared to preach about the dangers of Globalism and the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance, and perhaps the only voice preaching about the strategic importance of Armenia's close ties to the Russian nation. From about 2010 to 2015, I did monthly, at times weekly, commentaries about Russian-Armenian relations and Eurasian geopolitics in general. It was very difficult for me as I had no assistance in this endeavor. The time I put into this blog therefore came at the expense of work and family. But a powerful feeling, dare I say voice, inside me urged me to keep going; and I did.

When Armenia finally joined the EEU and fully integrated its armed forces into Russia's military structures a couple of years ago, I finally felt a deep sense of satisfaction and relief, as if a very heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders. I finally felt that my personal mission was accomplished. I therefore felt I could take a step back, as I really needed the rest. Simply put: I have lived to see the institutionalization of Russian-Armenian alliance. Also, I feel more confident now that generally speaking Armenians are collectively recognizing the vital/strategic importance of Armenia's ties with the Russian nation. Today, no man, no political party is capable of driving a wedge between Armenia and Russia. That danger has passed. Anglo-American-Jewish agenda in Armenia failed. As a result, I feel a strong sense of mission accomplished. I feel satisfied knowing that, at least on a subatomic level, I had a hand in the outcome. I therefore no longer have the urge to continue as in the past. In other words, the motivational force that had propelled me in previous years has been gradually dissipating because I feel that this blog has lived to see the realization of its stated goal.

Going forward, I do not want to write merely for the sake of writing. Also, I do not want to say anything if I have nothing important to say. I feel like I have said everything I needed to say. Henceforth, I will post seasonal commentaries about topics I find important.

To limit clutter in the comments section, I kindly ask all participants of this blog to please keep comments coherent and strictly relevant to the featured topic of discussion. Moreover, please realize that when there are several "anonymous" visitors posting comments simultaneously, it becomes very confusing (not to mention extremely annoying) trying to figure out who is who and who said what. Therefore, if you are here to engage in conversation, make an observation, express an idea or simply insult/attack me, I ask you to at least use a moniker to identify yourself. Moreover, please appreciate the fact that I have put an enormous amount of information into this blog. In my opinion, most of my blog commentaries and articles, some going back ten-plus years, are in varying degrees relevant to this day and will remain so for a long time to come. Articles in this blog can therefore be revisited by longtime readers and new comers alike. I therefore ask the reader to treat this blog as a historical record and a depository of important information relating to Eurasian geopolitics, Russian-Armenian relations and humanity's historic fight against the evils of Globalism and Westernization.

Thank you as always for reading.