Unprecedented Russia-led CSTO War Games in Armenia - September, 2012

The Russian-led CSTO finally made its grande debut in the south Caucasus. The war games dubbed “Cooperation 2012” in Armenia was a highly significant affair due to its size, its scope, its participants, its symbolism and its geostrategic implications. By sending a large contingent of "rapid reaction troops" into Armenia to carry out major war games, Moscow is sending a clear message to Washington and its Turkic/Islamic whores in the region that any encroachment in the south Caucasus, any encroachment on Armenian territory, as well as any full-scale attack against Iran, will result in a swift and violent response by the Russian Federation.  

Former Armenian Minister-of-Defense General-Mayor Arkadi Ter-Tadevosyan (also affectionately known as Komandos) was right when he recently stated during a press conference that these unprecedented military exercises in Armenia showed the world that Yerevan plays a very important strategic role in the region and that "Russia has its personal interest (in Armenia)". For the first time in perhaps one thousand years, the national interests of a major superpower is fully aligned with that of Armenia's.

But Armenians can't afford to relent. It is very important for Armenian military commanders to continue maintaining high state of combat-readiness in Armenia and in Artsakh. And it is even more important for Armenian officials to seek ways of becoming a ubiquitous presence within the walls of the Kremlin.  

Why the Kremlin?

While Armenia's military is Yerevan's tactical advantage on the battlefield, Armenia's alliance with the Russian Bear must be its strategic advantage on the global stage.

Nevertheless, with the recent military exercises successfully carried-out in Armenia and with an even larger one currently taking place in southern Russia, Moscow is clearly marking its territory. I am glad to report that this territory includes our fledgling homeland in the south Caucasus. Now, with the Bear clearly and officially looking to preserve its vital interests in the Caucasus region at all costs, Armenia can go forward with the peace-of-mind knowing that its borders are well protected. 

Again, I would like to reiterate the following point:
Armenia's military is Yerevan's tactical advantage, Armenia's alliance with the Russian Bear is its STRATEGIC advantage.   
Syria's descent into bloody chaos, clashes between the Kurdish PKK and Turks increasing in frequency and intensification, and with the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance and Iran continuing to rattle their sabers, the climate in the region has been significantly heating-up in recent times. Seeing a clear and present danger on its strategic southern doorstep, Moscow is therefore carefully preparing its field-of-play in an effort to either prepare for war or discourage one from erupting in the first place. The following are video clips of the recent military exercises in Armenia -
В Армении прошла тренировка КСОР ОДКБ: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1syA38lkZF0
ՀԱՊԿ զորավարժությունների մեկնարկը: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2qE9kGmNGc&feature=player_embedded
Հայաստանում մեկնարկեցին ՀԱՊԿ-ի զորավարժությունները: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hb7IVnIY6WY
ՀԱՊԿ-ի զորավարժությունները ավարտվեցին: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KT1WSJ0Yuhw
Perhaps the most poignant move taken by CSTO officials was to have their visiting troops travel to the Armenian Genocide memorial at Tsitsernakaberd on the outskirts of Yerevan to pay their respects to the 1.5 million Armenian martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. Let's be frank with ourselves here and admit that CSTO troops did not have to do what they did. After all, they arrived in Armenia as a foreign combat contingent to carry-out important military exercises, not to lay wreaths in memory of Armenian martyrs. In fact, had CSTO troops not visited the genocide memorial, it would not have even been registered by Armenians.

The fact that they did, however, speaks volumes about the symbolism those organizing this event wanted to convey to the world. 

The fact that they did means Moscow is sending Turks, as well as Armenians, the strong message that Russia and its allies officially acknowledge the tragedy that befell Armenians of the Ottoman Empire at a time when the Russian Empire was dying at the hands of Bolshevism.

The presence of Russian troops in Tsitsernakaberd proclaimed to the world that Russia today is standing ready to defend Armenia against her many enemies!

Yet, despite the powerful sight of seeing CSTO troops paying their respects to Armenia's 1.5 million martyrs, for some very strange reason I have not seen ANY coverage of the event in the English language press (including Armenian ones). I have done several internet searches and I have not been able to find any coverage of the event in the English language.

Why is this?

Had a homeless dog from the United States payed an official visit to the genocide memorial, it would have made FRONT PAGE news in all Armenian papers and our "proud" and "recognition" obsessed Amerika-Hay community would have had a collective orgasm! Yet, as pointed out, the military representatives of various Eurasian nations, none the least of which is the Russian superpower, pays tribute to Armenian martyrs and most of Armenian society is either indifferent or unaware? 

Something's very screwed-up here folks.

Every Russian official that has visited Armenia has officially visited the genocide memorial on the outskirts of Yerevan. But just how much media coverage did then President Dimitry Medvedev's visit to Tsitsernakaberd attract? Very little. How much media coverage did Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's visit to Tsitsernakaberd attract? Very little. How much media coverage did the Russian Patriarch's visit to Tsitsernakaberd attract? Again, very little. Russian visitations to the Armenian Genocide memorial complex has gotten very little coverage in the Armenian press simply because our idiots are too busy looking Westward. Our genocide recognition obsessed diasporans are in fact too busy wasting their limited resources in an anti-Armenian vipers nest like Washington, and Armenian community representatives in the American empire are too busy trying to fool our sheeple about genocide recognition being just around the corner in Washington every four years.

Does anyone else see anything terribly wrong here? 

The "Hay Dat" has been at a dead end in the West for many years. It's high time we Armenians wake-up from our Eurotic fantasies and American dreams and move on to greener more eastwardly pastures. As a result of the media blackout CSTO troops received when they visited the Armenian Genocide memorial complex (intentional or unintentional does not matter at this point), I have decided to post several pictures of the momentous event in question at the bottom on this page to keep its powerful memory as well as its message alive.

Nevertheless, these Russian-led moves on the grand chessboard of Eurasia is no doubt keeping senior policymakers up at nights in places such as Washington, Brussels, London, Tel Aviv and Ankara. Armenians can now sleep better knowing that with the help of Moscow Yerevan is finally beginning to breakaway from Western institutions. Armenians can now sleep better knowing that when the proverbial shit-hits-the-fan in the Caucasus, Armenia would not be alone against the combined weight of Western-backed Turkic and Islamic nations.

Whatever happened to Pan-Turkism?

Seeing military representatives of Kazakhstan in Armenia, I couldn't help but think of what happened to Ankara's age old wet-dream called Pan-Turkism.

Ankara had revived its pan-Turkic dreams when the Soviet Union collapsed some twenty years ago. Taking advantage of a severely weakened Russian state at the time, Ankara had joined Western intelligence services and radical Islamists from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in helping the Chechen insurgency throughout Russia's vulnerable underbelly throughout much of the 1990s. Moreover, Ankara was enthusiastically trying to make political and economic inroads into various Central Asian states that had Turkic heritage.

As Armenians slept in the comfort of thinking that they had won the war against Azerbaijan, the entire Caucasus region was in fact on the very verge of a drastic transformation. By the mid-1990s, Russia was on the very verge of defeat and the Caucasus was on the verge of having a serious Turkic/Islamic makeover. Had this Western/Turkish/Islamic agenda in the Caucasus succeeded, Armenia would have either been overrun by its Turkish neighbors, or, as a best case scenario, Armenia would have become subordinate to its Turkish neighbors. This thought is something that our ultra-nationalistic idiots have a very hard time wrapping their rigid minds around. But the fact remains that if Russia was defeated in the north Caucasus, not even a million of our big-talking "fedayees" would be able to stop the Caucasus from turning into a Turko-Islamic cesspool.

Armenians today need to put aside their massive egos, debilitating emotions and political illiteracy and come to the somber realization that Russia's health as a nation-state is key to Armenian life in the Caucasus. Ethnic nationalist Russians ruling in Russia is as important to the health and well being of Armenia as ethnic nationalist Armenians ruling in Armenia, if not more so. No Russia in the Caucasus means no Armenia in the Caucasus. And as a Diasporan Armenian who has been around for quite a few years, I reserve the right to say the following: Armenia CAN survive without ANY support from the Armenian Diaspora, but Armenia will NOT survive the lose of Russia.

Although we were all again fast asleep to realize it, Ankara's imperial dreams died a quiet death when the great leader of the Russian nation Vladimir Putin became president in 2000. With Vladimir Putin's FSB assisted ascension to power, which was in fact a bloodless coup d'état in the Kremlin, the entire Caucasus region was saved from a very tragic fate. The following two blog pages are regarding this very important and troubling topic -
By the early years of the new century, the Chechen insurgency in the Caucasus had been ruthlessly crushed by Russian forces, foreign Islamic radicals were scattered far-and-wide, Western intelligence operatives had quietly disappeared from sight and Turks basically ran back to their Anatolian nests with their tails between their legs. In the end, Pan-Turkists and the West had only managed to recruit Azeris and, ironically, Georgians. Therefore, Russia's cleansing work was somewhat left incomplete. Although Azerbaijan has been a toothless baking dog and Georgia has been mutilated and humiliated by Moscow, Tbilisi and Baku today continue providing Western, Turkish, Islamic and Zionist interests with a firm foothold in the south Caucasus.

For the Caucasus region to enjoy Pax Russicana again, Tbilisi and Baku need to be cleansed of their aforementioned infestations.

And speaking of Tbilisi:

For a long time Georgian state media had been warning that Moscow will try to cause trouble ahead of their next parliamentary elections which is due to take place in Georgia on October 01, 2012. The timing of the recent abuse report that came out of Georgia is connected to this, in my opinion. It is not a secret that many within the Georgian political opposition are either pro-Russian or sympathetic to Russia. It is also not a secret that Saakashvili's oppressive government is growing more-and-more unpopular inside Georgia, despite the tens-of-billions of dollars that have been pumped into the regime to keep it afloat (much of it in international loans). Therefore, sooner-or-later, as in Serbia, as in Ukraine, as in Kyrgyzstan, there will no doubt be a counter-color revolution in Georgia. It's only a matter of time. The nation that Saakashvili's Anglo-American-Judeo-Turkish mercenary government put together (a government that many Armenian idiots are in awe of) is an artificial fabrication, a house-of-cards on the verge of collapse. Georgia has been an anti-Russian geostrategic experiment that is doomed to failure. Sooner or later, Tbilisi will be brought back under Russian orbit and its tie-eating "political corpse" will be put on a one-way flight to Washington, Ankara or Tel Aviv - dead or alive. And as far as the abuse report is concerned, where jail guards are said to have raped their inmates with broomsticks, if true, I guess in addition to Turkish and Israeli consultants, the Saakashvili government is also employing NYPD advisers as well... The following RT reports clearly shows that Moscow can also play the "humanitarian" game -
Whistleblower: Saakashvili knew of torture in Georgia prison: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxoLEwMK12c&feature=plcp
With Georgia brought back under the fold, the Caucasus will be just one Azeri revolution away from achieving a lasting peace. The only way to end the madness and help the Caucasus is to bring it back under Moscow's orbit. Western fairytales such a "democracy" and "human rights" serve as red herrings, they are meant to divert the sheeple's attention away from serious geopolitical matters. The only way to resume the development of the greater Caucasus is by defeating of the West's destructive "Great Game" in the region and by imposing a genuine peace. Most of Armenia's problems today are more-or-less rooted in its economic isolation. The only way Armenia will remedy its many sociopolitical ailments is through unhindered trade relations with the Russian Federation and other regional nations, and through genuine peace in the Caucasus. 

Tbilisi and Baku today are serious obstacles getting in the way of all this.

Therefore, despite what our Captain Americas want us to believe, the key to Armenia's development is not the pursuit of "gay rights" in the country, the key to a better Armenia and a better Caucasus is regime change in Tbilisi and Baku.

Nevertheless, thanks to the resurgence of Russia, Pan-Turkism has again been relegated to something akin to a wild fantasy. But being that, however, Armenia is in a neighborhood of the world were Turkic and Islamic forces remain dominant, Armenians don't have the luxury of ignoring Ankara's expansionist desires, even if they again seem a bit far-fetched. 

Pan-Turkism continues to live, albeit in a dormant state. The moment, however, Russia is weakened again, Pan-Turkism will revive.

Armenians need to fully grasp this simple yet troubling reality of the Caucasus region. This reality is what our Hollywood-struck peasantry (especially in the American-Armenian community) have a hard time understanding. Despite all the silly talk by diasporans that most or many Armenians in Armenia are Russophiles, the fact remains that Armenia today is absolutely rife with dangerous Russophobes and agents of the West. While Russia may have the allegiance of the top leadership in Armenia, the West is controlling Armenian society through an army of NGOs, opposition politicians, political activists, rights advocates, propaganda outlets, television programming, and pop culture. Russia controls the head, the West controls the body. This is a serious long-term strategic problem for Armenia and something that not many today are recognizing.

Under lofty banners of "democracy" and "human rights" Armenia is currently being seeded for political unrest by Western agents and their hypnotized/zombified servants. In being encouraged to pursue silly Western fairytales, the Armenian sheeple is essentially being made to chase its tail. It's all meant to be distraction to their geostrategic agendas. Although Moscow has only now gotten around to preparing its field-of-play in the south Caucasus, the West has been preparing its field-of-play in the region for many years. Having already hijacked the government in Tbilisi and attained the cooperation of the dictatorship in Baku, the West is currently seeding the Armenian landscape for an "Arab Spring" like uprising ahead of the next presidential elections there. 

We are fortunate, however, that recent events in Libya, Syria and Iran have finally begun opening Armenian eyes. More-and-more Armenians are beginning to recognize true intentions of the "democratic" West. Therefore, Washington's campaign against Armenia may be blunted.

With that in mind, I'd like to present again the following partial list of individuals and organizations that all self-respecting Armenians need to keep a wary eye on:

Policy Forum Armenia, Civilitas, ARF branches in the United States, the so called "Sardarapat" movement, the so called "Heritage" political party, Radio Liberty/Azatutyun Radio, ArmeniaNow, Hetq, Lragir, Haykakan Zhamanak, Asbarez, Aravot, Armenian Weekly, Richard Giragosian, Ara Manoogian, David Grigorian, Raffi Hovanissian and family, Levon Petrosian and gang, Hayk Demoyan, Paruyr Haykiryan, Ara Papyan, Arman Babajanian, Onnik Krikorian, Karen Hakobian, Zaruhi Postanjyan, Jirayr Sefilian, Levon Parseghyan, Nanore Barsoumian, Edik Baghdasaryan, Georgy Vanian, Liana Aghajanian and Arthur Sakunts.
Four little, very common yet troubling examples of what I'm talking about:
Ara Papyan recently stated that joining the Eurasian Union would be "worst" than going back to the Soviet Union. This is the same character that wants Armenians to think that armed with a piece of worthless paper, Armenia can convince Western powers that eastern Turkey belongs to Armenia. Moreover, I guess in his self-righteousness Papyan also does not realize the obvious fact that Armenia is small, poor, remote, landlocked, blockaded and surrounded by enemies, and that the EU (already falling apart at its seams) will never get to the Caucasus. Apparently, this Papyan character is so confident in Armenia's "capabilities" as a nation-state that he is willing to say a resolute NO to an economic union that may in fact be Armenia's only rational/realistic option today, and its only hope for finally breaking out of its economic stagnation, which is in fact the root of all its socioeconomic problems. Every time there is a serious discussion about the Moscow-led Eurasian Union in Yerevan, we see Armenia's Western operatives plainly revealing themselves.

In an interview several years ago, Hayk Demoyan, unfortunately the director of the Armenian Genocide memorial located at Tsitsernakaberd, made the following absurd statement. I'm paraphrasing - "it has greatly benefited Armenia every time Russia has pulled out of the Caucasus." I guess this absolute idiot got his history degree from the University of Ankara. Armenians suffered near total annihilation when Russia was forced out of the Caucasus due to the Bolshevik revolution. Without a Russian presence in the Caucasus not even a million Demoyans can stop Armenia from becoming a Turkish/Islamic playground.
In 2005, Paruyr Hayrikian, the famous "nationalist" leader with very close ties to Washington going back to the Soviet period, wrote an open letter congratulating Georgia's Western-backed dictator Saakashvili for having been able to expel Russian troops from Georgia, shamelessly adding that he looked forward to Armenia doing the same. Hayrikian's only purpose in life in Armenia has been to drive a wedge between Moscow and Yerevan, and to promote an essentially American neoconservative agenda inside Armenia. Hayrikian's direct ties to Washington and his hostile rhetoric against Russia are very revealing in that they show who this beloved "nationalist leader" in Armenia serves in reality.
Two years ago in an article appearing in a Western journal called the Foreign Policy Journal, Raffi Hovanissian, one of Washington's most important transplants in Armenia, questioned Armenia's membership in the CSTO. Raffi also suggested that Moscow should pay Yerevan for using military bases in Armenia, and demanded that Moscow treat Armenia as an equal partner. Well, in my opinion, when Washington begins treating its very numerous slaves around the world "equally", I'll begin looking into whether or not Moscow has been treating Armenia unfairly. It's absolutely outrageous that this OJ Simpson-looking-fat-slob is questioning Armenia's crucially important membership in the CSTO and asking for "rent money" from Moscow! Raffi's silly hallucinations is similar in nature to a small cat looking in the mirror and seeing a lion, and then demanding from it's neighbor, a real lion, that it be treated equally. Having said that, the amount of free and drastically discounted modern weaponry Armenia receives from the Russian Federation costs many billions of US dollars. The figure in question is probably more than the "rent" money of all of Armenia's military bases put together. Moreover, and much-much more importantly, the military protection that Russia provides Armenia against many regional threats is in fact PRICELESS! I'm not even going to talk about Russia being by-far Armenia's largest trading partner and leading investor. Moscow has been treating Armenia with white gloves. Therefore, what the #%@$ is this Raffi talking about?!
That was a rhetorical question. We all know that Raffi and friends want. There is an active agenda to push Western policies in Armenia, and Washington has employed many Armenians to do this work. Therefore, as we can all clearly see, self-destructive and suicidal behavior of Armenians are continuing in Armenia. With "respectable" and "patriotic" public figures such as these types of vermin in our midst, Armenia does not need any external enemies. Therefore, let it surprise no one that Moscow keeps Armenia on a short leash. In fact, I hope this leash was even shorter because I have very little confidence in the ability of Armenians today to do the right thing for Armenia.

And speaking of having very little confidence in Armenians, I'd like to now say a few words to our so-called "Civil Society" advocates:
The region of the world where Armenia unfortunately finds itself in is on the verge of exploding. We are in a phase that is eventually going to lead to a major international clash and this clash will most probably begin somewhere within the vicinity of Armenia. Therefore, please put aside your massive egos, petty concerns and childish fantasies and stop distracting the rest of us with your "democratic" and "humanitarian" nonsense. In fact, we are getting sick of your nonsense. The fact that many of you maintain ties to Washington and Western funded NGOs is more than enough reason to have you expelled from Armenian society altogether.
To reinforce the message I'm trying to convey, I have posted two very revealing articles at the bottom of this page. The first one is the two year old desperate rant by Raffi Hovanissian I briefly mentioned above, and the second one is by Arman Babajanyan, a Soros-funded, draft-dogging, homosexual, "rights" advocate with a very nasty attitude and a taste for color revolutions in Armenia. Please make sure to read their political spin, distortions of truth and their pathetic attempts at playing on Armenian emotions. This is essentially how Washington's whores operate inside Armenian society. Reading the stinking crap of theirs may also help the reader come to the very somber realization that Armenians are indeed Armenia's worst enemy, as well as the reason why Armenia has remained small, poor, embattled and under constant threat - externally and internally.

Not wanting to end on a sour note, however, I want to take this great opportunity to salute the historic bond that has existed between Russia and Armenia for over two hundred years. Starting two hundred years ago the Russian nation began giving us Armenians the historic opportunity to reestablish a nation-state and maintain our national presence in a Turkic/Islamic infested south Caucasus. For two hundred years, Armenians have been returning this favor by giving Russians the peace-of-mind knowing that Turks and Islamists will never infest the strategic south Caucasus.
Finally, I would like to say that the Russian nation today may just be the last hope the world has for the preservation of western civilization, apostolic Christianity and the traditional nation-state. The Russian-Armenian alliance today is the last front in the Caucasus against American imperialism, NATO expansionism, Globalism, Islamic fanaticism, Zionism and Pan-Turkism. My sincere wish is to see this alliance between these two brotherly peoples last for at least another two hundred years.

September, 2012

Unprecedented Russia-led War Games Begin in Armenia


Russia-led regional security group began large-scale military exercises in Armenia on Saturday, the most significant war games ever to be staged in the ex-Soviet state, the defence ministry said. Around 2,000 troops from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan are conducting five days of exercises run under the flag of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), Moscow's answer to NATO.

"The military exercises are unprecedented in the history of the Armenian armed forces," Armenian Defence Minister Seyran Ohanian said at the launch of the Interaction-2012 sessions.

The aim was to create "a regional force that can neutralise potential threats", he said. However the exercises could unsettle neighbour Azerbaijan, which is locked in a bitter unresolved conflict with Armenia over the disputed region of Nagorny Karabakh. It does not want Moscow to side with Yerevan in any renewed outbreak of fighting. Another neighbour, Georgia could also be unnerved by the close presence of Russian troops.

Georgia was defeated by Russia in a brief war in 2008 and still sees the Kremlin as a military threat. Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will also be involved in the exercises, said a statement from the Armenian CSTO office.

CSTO between “Cooperation 2012” and “Indestructible Brotherhood 2012”


“Cooperation 2012” military exercises of rapid reaction forces of CSTO that will be held in Armenia are moved from the beginnings of September to mid-September. As the secretariat of the organization reports, the change in the dates of the exercises is connected with “technical reasons” on the side of the accepting country. As CSTO spokesperson Vladimir Zeinetdinov said, the four-day long exercises that will kick off on September 15 will elaborate collective approaches to the use of forces and means for collective security in the Caucasus region.

The first military groups have already approached the place of active exercises on Baghramyan polygon. Over 2000 military personnel from various Special Forces of Armenian, Belarusian, Kazakhstani, Russian and Tajikistani operative departments will participate in the exercises. The observers from international Red Cross, the UN, the OSCE and the CIS will also be there.

The personnel of the Russian military base in Armenia are also leading to the place of the exercises. More than 100 soldiers and 30 parts of technique were transported there with the railroad. During the active phase of the exercises the joint forces should be on self-defense from a potential opponent and later initiate counteroffensive. The working group at the National Security Service of Armenia ensured that Armenia now is fully ready to hold “Cooperation 2012” exercises.

“The work that is now being done is fully satisfactory to hold the military exercises on a due level, but there is a need of cooperation between different state structures, taking into account that various institutions are engaged in this process, like ministry of Defense, Police, Emergency Service and National Security service,” the Secretary of National Security Council Artur Baghdasaryan said.

CSTO peacekeeping forces will conduct collective exercises “Indestructible Brotherhood 2012” this October on the polygons Iliski, Shoshkala and Bereg, in Kazakhstan. ITAR-TASS reports citing Colonel Nikolay Donyushkin from Russian military forces.

The collective exercises will be held on 8-17 October. “Their aim is to preserve peace in the region of collective security,” Donyushkin said. He also stated that more than 1000 personnel will participate from Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is planned to simulate the separation of belligerent sides, preservation of cease-fire regime, prevention of weapon smuggling into the region of conflict, preservation of humanitarian aid.

Colonel indicated that a week before the exercises CSTO peacekeeping forces will organize a leading coordinative center.

CSTO Exercises Rapid Reaction Forces in Armenia


Russia is staging a number of military exercises in September and October as part of the training year for its Armed Forces, designed to road test elements of its ongoing conventional forces reform, promote defense cooperation and strengthen the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Although the operational-strategic exercise, Kavkaz-2012, held in Russia’s South Military District (MD) is likely to receive much greater attention due to its scale and possible strategic implications, the smaller CSTO exercise in Armenia is arguably more significant and complex (Interfax, September 17).

The CSTO exercise in Armenia, Vzaimodeistviye-2012, held from September 15 to September 19, is designed to test the organization’s 20,000-strong Collective Rapid Reaction Forces (Kollektivnye Sily Operativnovo Reagirovaniya—KSOR), at a time when the need for a display of CSTO unity is vital following Uzbekistan suspending its membership on June 20. However, this exercise, long planned and part of the pattern of annual joint training for the KSOR, is also part of the wider summer military training program for the Russian Armed Forces and needs to be understood in this broader context (Interfax, September 4).

In July, joint exercises were held between Kazakhstan and Russia—the operational-tactical command post exercise, Aldaspan-2012. Also in July, Slavyanskoye Sodruzhestvo-2012 was staged in Ukraine involving a Ukrainian-Belarusian-Russian tactical training exercise. The Indra-2012 joint Russian-Indian training exercises were held in the Eastern MD, and Russia will hold an annual joint exercise with Mongolia this month, Selenga-2012. While by October in Kazakhstan, the first joint exercise for CSTO peacekeepers will be staged. Among these exercises, by far the greatest attention and controversy surrounded Kavkaz-2012, with NATO calling on Moscow for more transparency concerning that exercise (Krasnaya Zvezda, June 14). 

The operational-strategic exercise Kavkaz-2012 started on September 17 and will conclude in southern Russia on September 23. According to Army-General Nikolai Makarov, the Chief of the General Staff, the exercise will involve 8,000 personnel, 200 military vehicles, 100 artillery pieces and 10 combat vessels; it will include defense ministry forces and other security forces drawn from the power ministries such as the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the interior ministry (RIA Novosti, September 17).

In this wider scheme of Russian military training, it would be easy to overlook the significance of the CSTO’s KSOR exercise in Armenia. Despite the Armenian defense ministry postponing the start of the exercise from September 8 to September 15, Vzaimodeistviye-2012 is unique for a number of reasons. KSOR has held annual military exercise since its formal creation as a new CSTO force in June 2009, but this exercise marks its first use in the South Caucasus. It also comes at a time when the CSTO is in crisis in the aftermath of Tashkent’s suspension of membership, with its official exit from the organization expected to be accepted by the other members later this year. Finally, the force structure and countries represented in Vzaimodeistviye-2012 raises salient questions about whether some CSTO members would operationally deploy forces to the South Caucasus during a crisis, and if so what that might involve (Interfax, September 17).

A spokesman for the CSTO explained that KSOR would tactically deploy to Armenia during the exercise, which involves 2,000 personnel. The force consists of defense ministry elements supported by Special Forces drawn from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan; the exercise is attended by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross and observers from the UN, OSCE and the CIS (Interfax, September 4).

Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan welcomed the servicemen participating in the military drills and expressed his support for the KSOR: “CSTO Rapid Reaction Forces are serious regional forces and can withstand potential hazards. The military drills show how six countries may unite for collective security reasons.” A statement by the Armenian foreign ministry outlined background details about the KSOR, stressing that the 20,000-person force is combat capable and that each CSTO member state attaches importance to this structure and remains committed to further strengthening it (www.armenpress.am, September 15). According to Armenian officials, the military and security personnel also competed in various sports, including rope tugging, soccer and volley ball.

Preparations for the exercise have proved to be extensive, with Russia hosting pre-exercise training for the force elements at the base of the 98th Airborne Division in Ivanovo and with the 31st Air Assault Brigade. The command elements of these elite airborne formations were also holding command-staff training alongside the command-and-control parts of the CSTO forces earmarked for the exercise in Armenia (Krasnaya Zvezda, June 14).

While much attention has been given to Kavkaz-2012, the CSTO military exercise in Armenia is certainly no less important, not least in testing the KSOR but also in the display of political willingness for the CSTO to act in the South Caucasus. Since the KSOR is mandated to act across a wide spectrum of crises ranging from a domestic political crisis to emergency situations or combating terrorism and drug trafficking, the potential for it to see real action has certainly grown compared to the more narrow focus the CSTO has traditionally placed on protecting members from “external aggression.” Nonetheless, given the fact that none of the CSTO members recognized the independence of Abkhazia or South Ossetia, it is unclear what the precise circumstances might involve in order to convince Central Asian members to send forces to a crisis or conflict situation in the South Caucasus.

Russian Defense Chief Praises ‘Strategic’ Ties With Armenia


Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov emphasized the “strategic significance” of his country’s relations with Armenia after meeting Armenian leaders and watching military exercises held by the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) near Yerevan on Wednesday.

Serdyukov joined President Serzh Sarkisian as well as his Armenian and Belarusian counterparts in monitoring the concluding phase of the five-day maneuvers held at the Armenian army’s Marshal Bagramian training ground. Kazakhstan’s top army general also arrived in Armenia on the occasion.

​​They looked on as about 2,000 soldiers from Armenia, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan simulated a joint operation against imaginary “illegal armed formations” invading a CSTO member state. The CSTO troops were backed up by tanks, armored vehicles, artillery systems, helicopter gunships and warplanes firing live rounds.

The drills also involved unmanned aircraft designed and manufactured in Armenia. The Krunk drones were first demonstrated by the Armenian military during a September 2011 parade in Yerevan. Serdyukov praised the course of the war games when he held talks with Sarkisian later in the day. The Armenian president’s press office said they also discussed Russian-Armenian military ties and security “challenges” facing the region.

Serdyukov said Russian-Armenian relations are currently “at the highest level” and are strategically important to both nations after a separate meeting with Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian. The meeting focused on what the two men called a “reorganization” of Russian troops stationed in Armenia.

“We have had quite good meetings today during which we discussed a broad range of issues related to the 102nd Russian military base stationed in Armenia and its reorganization taking place within the framework of a reform of Russia’s Armed Forces,” Serdyukov told journalists. ​​“We are transferring about 10 facilities to the Armenian side,” he said without elaborating. “We also discussed the issue of material-technical supplies to the base and our relationships in that regard.”

The Russian minister appeared to refer to a redeployment of Russian army units in Armenia, which began in early 2011. In an apparently related development, the Russian military announced in June that it will double this year the number of its soldiers serving at the Soviet-era base headquartered in Gyumri on a contractual basis. It is still not clear if the total number of its military personnel will change as a result.

The Russian base is believed to have between 4,000 and 5,000 troops. It is equipped with hundreds of tanks, armored vehicles and artillery systems as well as sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missiles and a squadron of MiG-29 fighter jets.

A Russian-Armenian agreement signed in 2010 extended the Russian military presence in the South Caucasus nation by 24 years, until 2044, and upgraded its security mission. It also committed the Russians to helping the Armenian military obtain “modern and compatible weaponry and (special) military hardware.”

Russia’s Caucasus War Games


Every time Russia comes to play war in the Caucasus, a sense of alert spreads in the neighborhood. And it does not help if the Russians are running around with guns for two separate war games at the same time. Azerbaijan is keeping a wary eye on its sworn enemy, Armenia, as it hosts drills for the Collective Security Treaty Organization (Moscow's response to NATO), while Georgia has its vision trained on the Caucasus-2012 training to the north.

Tbilisi is particularly uneasy to see Moscow mobilize 8,000 troops, 200 military vehicles, artillery and military vessels in the Black and Caspian Seas and Russia's southern Krasnodar region just as Georgia is approaching a critical parliamentary election on October 1. “We all remember the consequences of the 2008 drills, which were much smaller in scale [than Caucasus 2012],” commented Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze. He claimed that the operations threaten the sovereignty of the three Caucasus countries, and, at least in part, are meant to affect their domestic politics.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen must have contracted some of Georgia’s uneasiness during a recent visit to Tbilisi when he requested Russia to clarify the goals of the large-scale exercise. Russian commanders said that both drills are not directed at any country in particular, but, rather, are a routine event meant to prepare against a theoretical enemy. Commenting on the ongoing CSTO drills, Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian said training in Armenia, which brought together troops from Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, is designed to create a “regional force to neutralize a potential threat,” RFE/RL reported.

But everyone in the Caucasus knows who is whose “potential” enemy. Azerbaijan and Armenia are now closer to renewed hostilities than ever over Azerbaijan's highly controversial pardon of the axe-murderer of an Armenian soldier. And Georgia and Russia, still smarting from their 2008 encounter, see each other in the lifetime role of neighborhood bully. Given that most of the participants in these games have a recent history of armed conflict, might there be a better way to “neutralize” potential threats than doing dry runs for war?

CSTO military drills in Armenia stir up Azerbaijan’s envy


Azerbaijan is currently hosting large-scale military exercise, with ground forces, air force and navy involved. The drills are commanded by Azeri Defense Minister Safar Abiyev. CSTO Collective Rapid Reaction Force (CRRF) successfully completed Interaction-2012 military exercise in Armenia. RA President Serzh Sargsyan, Defense Ministers of Russia, Armenia and Belarus, Kazakhstan’s army general staff chief and Artsakh Defense Minister, army commander Movses Hakobyan attended the drills. It’s noteworthy that Armenian-made drones “Krunk” were for the first time enabled during the military exercise. The maneuvers involved air defense systems, armored vehicles and artillery, Su-25 attack jets, helicopters and drones, with 20000 people listed. Interaction – 2012 CSTO CRRF military drills were launched Sept. 15 at Marshal Baghramyan firing ground in Armenia.

Source: http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/123823/CSTO_military_drills_in_Armenia_stir_up_Azerbaijans_envy

Komandos: “Armenian role has been raised and CSTO trainings proved it”


“Aliyev’s step just aimed to raise his personal image in his state”. Hero of the Artsakh war, Armenian former Minister of Defense General-Mayor Arkadi Ter-Tadevosyan (Komandos) announced about this during the press-conference today while speaking about Safarov’s extradition, pardon and rank of the Mayor. Komandos also added in this context that he did not see any danger of the new war in Artsakh. Speaking about the CSTO joint military trainings in Armenia the speaker said the fact of holding trainings in Armenia proved that Armenian role has raised and the process is going on. “Russia has its personal interest here”. “If there is any aggression against Republic of Armenia then CSTO will react and be involved in the military actions. If there is any attack against Artsakh so CSTO will not be involved in the process”, said Komandos commenting on the possibility of CSTO involvement. Komandos also considers that in case of new war Georgia will assist Azerbaijan. “Georgia has oil interests in Azerbaijan and Turkey and all of you know about it”.

Source: http://times.am/?l=en&p=12624

Military expert: Large-scale military exercises presented Armenia to the world as a guarantor of stability in the region


Panorama.am has talked to military expert Arkady Grigoryan about CSTO Cooperation 2012 exercise and NATO-standard based military drills involving Armenian peacekeepers, held simultaneously in Armenia. Below are some excerpts from the interview.

- What was the significance of these exercises for guaranteeing security in Armenia?

- In both cases, we increased the fighting efficiency of RA Armed Forces and contributed to improving the atmosphere of mutual assistance and trust. The consultants highly assessed the exercises, hailing the military discipline of RA Armed Forces. As Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan noted aptly, unlike our neighbors, we are guarantors of peace, and we strengthen the atmosphere of confidence. In other words, there are countries which create tension, while we ease, balance the tension.

- What was the reason that the Commander of NKR Defense Army attended the exercises, a circumstance that did not slip the attention of Azeri media?

- Many observers from different countries were invited to attend the exercises, and this is common practice. Commander of NKR Defense Army, Movses Hakobyan, was also among those invited. He gave a high assessment to the drills. The NKR Defense Army Commander did not attend other events, and Azeri media reports are absolutely false. It is very difficult to find a common language with a state and society that have inferiority complex and constant fears.

Source: http://www.panorama.am/en/politics/2012/09/24/arkadi-grigoryan/?sw

Russian military objects to pass to Armenia within optimization process


The objects of the Russian military base in Gyumri city in Armenia’s  Shirak Region will pass to Armenia within the process of optimization, Armenian Ministry of Defense informed Armenian News-NEWS.am. To note, the Russian Government approved a project on Tuesday on Russian-Armenian protocols regarding passing the objects of Russian military base on the Armenian territory to Armenia. Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov also talked about it when he was in Yerevan last week. According to unofficial information, strategic objects are not included in the list. 

Russian government has approved the draft protocol on provisions of deployment of the Russian military base in the territory of Armenia, the government press service said.Russia’s ministries of defense and foreign affairs were instructed to hold talks with the Armenian side and after reaching agreement to sign the protocol on behalf of the Russian government without making crucial amendments. The protocol names 30 provisions for deployment of Russian base in Armenia, RBK reported. The 102nd Russian military base is located in Gyumri, Armenia’s second largest city.

Source: http://news.am/eng/news/122527.html

Putin watches war games, tells soldiers to boost Russian defence


President Vladimir Putin oversaw Russian military exercises on Monday and warned soldiers that more conflicts around the world meant they had to "keep their powder dry" and improve Russia's defences. Speaking to soldiers at manoeuvres in the Caucasus Mountain region on the country's southern border, near where Russian troops invaded neighbouring Georgia in a five-day 2008 war, Putin said the use of military force was rising worldwide.

"You are all educated people, you see what is happening in the world. You see unfortunately that the use of force is increasing in international affairs," said Putin, wearing a beige jacket, flanked by Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and the Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov. "That all speaks to the fact that we should keep our powder dry and that Russia's defences must improve," he said from a wooden podium, his eyes fixed on soldiers in uniform.

Putin, 59, has been the primary force behind plans to revamp Russia's fighting forces, injecting the defence budget with 23 trillion roubles ($751.97 billion) over the next decade, at a time when Western counterparts are tightening their belts. Ahead of the presidential election earlier this year, Putin, 59, a former KGB spy, said enemies were trying to provoke conflicts around Russia's borders and the country's allies, arguing that the country needed better weapons.

Putin, who returned to the presidency in May after serving as prime minister for four years, has repeatedly criticised Western intervention in Libya last year and has stymied attempts to introduce harsher United Nations sanctions on embattled Syrian ally President Bashir al-Assad. He has said that events connected to the Arab Spring uprisings have diminished the stature of international law, making Moscow more reliant on a strong army.

Monday was the first day of training exercises named Kavkaz 2012, the Russian word for the Caucasus Mountains. The troubled region has emerged as a focus of hostilities, not only within Russia where insurgents wage near-daily violence to carve out an Islamist state, but also between Armenia and Azerbaijan, where border skirmishes sporadically occur.


The firefights still flare nearly 20 years after a ceasefire stopped fighting between Azeri forces and ethnic Armenians over the disputed Nagorno Karabakh territory. Putin handed out medals to soldiers and watched the exercises, which will run through Sunday and involve 8,000 security personnel using air defence, artillery and some of Russia's most powerful rockets. The war games will use dozens of aircraft and nearly 50 helicopters, simulating invasion of Russian territory. The pro-Western ex-Soviet republic of Georgia criticised the exercises, saying they could destabilise the region.

Russia sent troops into Georgia in 2008, routing the small South Caucasus country's military, after Georgia's U.S.-trained military attacked the pro-Russian rebel region of South Ossetia. The conflict also enveloped breakaway Abkhazia on the Black Sea. Moscow recognised both regions as independent countries following the war. A handful of nations have followed Russia's lead, despite insistence from Tbilisi that the areas are part of its sovereign territory.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/17/russia-putin-wargames-idUSL5E8KHOX820120917

Russian President Oversees Military Drills in N. Caucasus


Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived on Monday at a military training range in southern Russia to oversee the Caucasus-2012 strategic command-and-staff exercises. The Rayevsky range, located near the Novorossiisk naval base, hosts the key military training event in 2012 on September 17-23.

"These exercises have only one objective to pursue - the Armed Forces must demonstrate their readiness to defend our national interests, they must show that they are ready for a resolute response to any challenges and threats to the national security of Russia," Putin said addressing the troops involved in the drills.

The president also reaffirmed the plans to strengthen the Russian military, to equip it with advanced weaponry and make it a formidable fighting force. Overall, up to 8,000 servicemen, over 200 military vehicles, some 100 artillery pieces and about 10 warships are taking part in the war games, led by the chief of Russia’s General Staff, Gen. Nikolai Makarov. During the active phase of the exercises, the Russian president will watch the troops “practicing mobile defense of a delaying position.”

In early August, deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, Col. Gen. Alexander Postnikov, said the Caucasus-2012 drills will involve the live firing of Iskander tactical ballistic missiles. Georgia has already criticized the drills as an event threatening stability and security of the entire Caucasus region.

Iran Attack Could Spark Caucasus War and Economic Trouble


Russia’s Kavkaz-2012 strategic military training exercise later this month in the North Caucasus region may portend economic problems for the West. This is because the exercise is strategically linked to Russian expectations that Iran will be destabilized by the end of this year. If Iran is destabilized, Russia will uphold its obligations to Armenia under the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Russia could cut a military corridor through the center of Georgia, taking control of all oil and gas lines leading westward from the rich fields of the Caspian Sea. If this is combined with fighting in the Persian Gulf, energy prices may spike.

While some Russian training exercises have preceded major combat operations (Chechnya 1999, Georgia 2008), they are routinely conducted in order to test ongoing reforms. Kavkaz-2012 is the first major exercise to be held in Russia’s Southern Military District since December 2010, when Russia introduced fundamental changes to its Ministry of Defense and joint strategic commands. Georgian officials are protesting that the exercise is intended to influence their parliamentary elections on Oct. 1. Less than a month after Kavkaz-2008, Russian troops fought a five-day war in Georgia. Russia recognized the independence of two Georgian breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, immediately after that August 2008 war.

Russian officials insist that Kavkaz-2012 is a routine exercise, unrelated to events in other countries. They emphasize that the exercise will occur entirely on Russian territory and that they deliberately excluded units from Russian military bases in South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Armenia. Armenia is a member of the CSTO along with Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. In Armenia, from Sept. 3-8, the CSTO will hold its own Rapid Reaction exercise dubbed “Interaction-2012.”

According to Col.-Gen. Alexander Postnikov, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Interaction-2012 is entirely separate from Kavkaz-2012, despite the fact that they are being held barely a week apart on opposite sides of Georgia. During Interaction-2012, representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross will participate in a CSTO exercise for the first time. According to Postnikov, their role will be to “work out issues related to humanitarian assistance in areas where, according to the plan of exercise, a conflict situation will appear.”

Russian officials anticipate that Iran’s nuclear program will be attacked by Israel or the United States prior to the end of 2012. Last winter, Russia evacuated civilians from its 102nd military base near the Turkish border in Armenia. Because it has poor relations with Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, Armenia depends upon Iran for energy and other basic supplies. Since Russia’s 2008 war with Georgia, Russia has supplied its 102nd base by air.
A sustained Israeli or American attack will lead to serious instability south of Armenia’s border. Armenian supplies likely will be cut, and Armenia may see an influx of refugees. Russian military officials doubt that a swift Israeli strike can eliminate Iran’s nuclear facilities.

An attack on Iran probably will be followed by provocations in areas disputed by Armenia and Azerbaijan. Since the early 1990s, the two countries have been engaged in a “frozen conflict” in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The Azerbaijani government is increasingly aligned with both Israel and the United States, apprehensive about Moscow, and covetous of traditional Azeri territory in northern Iran along with Armenian-controlled territory to the west. In the event of fighting in Iran or Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani refugees probably will move northward to Russia. In March, Russia moved over 20,000 troops to positions within 100 miles of its border with Azerbaijan. 

In the event of instability in Iran, a Russian push to Armenia could be motivated partially by CSTO obligations, along with humanitarian concerns. Nevertheless, this would give Russia control of the Baku-Ceyhan energy corridor, bringing oil and gas from the Caspian region to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Because Russia controls the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline, the West’s only other energy corridor from rich Caspian hydrocarbon fields, Russian control of nearly all Caspian energy, together with fighting in the Persian Gulf, could lead to unprecedented energy costs and economic instability in the West.

Does Russia Need a Caucasus Provocation?


The Russian mass media can hardly be called indifferent to Caucasus topics. The region has always been and remains in its focus. However, in recent time information agencies often write about some ambitious geopolitical projects of Russia on three countries of the South Caucasus region. And some Russian and Azerbaijani experts and analysts directly state that in case of the Western coalition’s military campaign against Iran Moscow will try to destabilize and “reformat” the South Caucasus. The arguments are well-known. According to these experts, the West put pressure on Russia in the Middle East. Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria will fall soon. The next victim will be Iran, and in this context Russia will decide to recover its losses and restore influence in the South Caucasus using military force, these experts are sure.

The arguments are dubious. First of all, it is still unclear what the result of the Syrian crisis will be and whether Russia will lose or win. The situation is ambiguous. First of all, almost all deserters in Syria, including top officials and army generals, are representatives of Syrian Sunni. The framework of the military command and special services consists of Alavis, and Syrian President belongs to them as well. There are no centrifugal processes within Alavi elite.

The developments of the civil war don’t look like a triumphal attack of the opposition. The army of the ruling regime managed to clear Damascus from rebels, and now they are clearing the second large city – Aleppo. Even rebels assume the fact that soldiers of the opposition Free Syrian Army have to withdraw from some districts of the city. 8 thousand rebels consolidated in the city have few chances to defeat 20 thousand well-armed elite soldiers of Bashar Assad. Support of the Western audience is useless if you have no appropriate armament and aviation. It seems “the crucial battle for Aleppo,” as the mass media called it, might become a serious failure of the FSA and regional forces supported it. Foreign intervention still seems to be unreal. Of course episodic raids by Turkish army are possible in the Kurdish regions of Syria, but Ankara will hardly dare to attack and capture Damascus.

Nevertheless, if we assume that Assad’s regime falls in the nearest future, the question arises: why are some experts sure that the US and Israel will immediately start a wide-scale military operation against Iran? The military command of both countries is aware of high risks of aggression against IRI, considering the growing military-technical power of the country. Iran possesses sufficient amount of leverages for influencing the US oil interests in the region.

Israel also has reasons for fearing Iran’s response. Many experts believe that this fear holds Tel-Aviv from immediate strike at the Iranian nuclear facilities, because usually Israel doesn’t hesitate in the national security issues. Even effectiveness of such bombing is dubious as the Iranian regime dug its major facilities deep underground, and even the most modern American missiles couldn’t reach them.

Furthermore, the question arises: why do they think that Russia plans to cut through “a corridor from Georgia to Armenia” with a direct entrance to the battlefield between Armenia and Azerbaijan which will appear by that time due to a provocation (which Russia seems to organize by Armenia). The analyst of Baku newspaper Mirror, Rauf Mirkadyrov, states that the war games Caucasus-2012 are a part of “preparation works” of Russia for this provocation. He believes they will involve Abkhazia and South Ossetia. However, several days ago the General Staff of Russia stated that the maneuvers will take place on the Russian territory only.

There is no doubt that Russian army is capable to make a battle march in 150 km to the Armenian border. Also there is no doubt that Armenia would be ready to make a provocation if they were ordered to do it by Moscow. But reasonability of such a step by the Kremlin is questionable. Geopolitical results of the August war 2008 were not really successful for Russia. It controlled Abkhazia and South Ossetia even before it, but after the war and recognition of Sukhumi and Tskhinval Russia actually lost any possibility to influence Georgia. In the international arena there was no success as well. It appeared the Russian-Georgian war was disadvantageous not only for Georgia, but also for Russia. It seems the USA became the only winner of the war, as Saakashvili became its most devoted supporter. Why should Moscow repeat the mistake and make a provocation which will weaken its positions?

Therefore, it seems concerns on Russian plans on provocation in the Caucasus are too exaggerated. Influence in the South Caucasus cannot be restored with confrontation mechanisms.

Source: http://vestnikkavkaza.net/analysis/politics/30042.html

Whither CSTO: Russian Power, Armenian Sovereignty, and a Region at Risk


The second anniversary of blitzkrieg between Russia and Georgia underscores the unresolved geopolitical undercurrents in this region among the seas. Landlocked by the forces of history from the Caspian, the Black and the Mediterranean, Armenia’s pivotal position remains encircled by a neighborhood in strategic turmoil.

The inherent jeopardy flowing from Turkey’s now obviously disingenuous engagement of Armenia, the challenges posed by Azerbaijan’s graduation from its threatening language of war to its launch of a deadly attack in June, and the general escalation of tension across the Caucasus have combined to define the greater region as one at immediate risk of deepening instability.

Against this backdrop of system-wide insecurity, Armenia is now facing a dangerous alignment of outside interests and internal shortcomings. While Yerevan’s “strategic” relationship with Moscow continues to serve as the bedrock for regional peace and security, the nature of the Armenian-Russian embrace is unduly lopsided. The asymmetry of the Russian-Armenian relationship is most manifest in the fundamental lack of equal and mutually respectful cooperation.

After all, Armenia’s hosting of the only Russian military base in the area is no simple act of kindness, and must be anchored in a shared regard for each other’s interests. What is more, the Russian base is the only such facility outside of the Russian Federation where the host country receives neither rent nor reimbursement. Armenia pays for the totality of its costs and expenses. Such a mortgaging of Armenian national security is unacceptable and demands immediate redress.

In the new era, Armenian-Russian partnership, in order to be strategic without quotation marks, must be sincere, really reciprocal and based on horizontal respect, despite the differences in size and experience between the two nations.

A case in point is the information recently leaked by the Russian media and reactively confirmed by official Yerevan that the two states, either bilaterally or under the auspices of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), intend to extend up to 49 years the treaty arrangement for the Russian base and the deployment of forces there. Matters of dignity aside, this flies in the face of Armenian sovereignty, foreign policy independence, and vital national interests. It also flouts the unlimited future potential of an actually strategic partnership between us.

This holds especially true in view of the fact that the existing base agreement does not expire until 2020 and can, if necessary, be extended upon expiration for five or even ten years. Of further consternation is the Kremlin’s military rapport with and sales to Ankara, which stands in occupation of the historic Armenian patrimony, has imposed a modern-day blockade of the Republic of Armenia tantamount to an act of war, and continues to deny and shirk responsibility for the Genocide and Great Armenian Dispossession of 1915.

A more contemporary source of outrage is Moscow’s military support for Azerbaijan, which having launched a failed war of aggression against Mountainous Karabagh and Armenia is today threatening renewed hostilities, completing its occupation of the Armenian heartlands of Shahumian, Getashen, Artsvashen, and Nakhichevan, and continuing with impunity to destroy and desecrate the Armenian cultural heritage at Jugha and elsewhere.

In this connection, in the event that Russia indeed carries through with the reported sale of its S-300 weapon systems or other equivalent armaments to the aggressive, belligerent, and revisionist regime of Azerbaijan, Armenia should withdraw forthwith from the CSTO, of which it is the sole member from the region, or at the very least require full fair-market rent for the Russian base together with reimbursement for water, electricity and other relevant expenses.

And finally, the ultimate achievement of Partnership between Russia and Armenia, and between Russia and the West, will necessarily entail an actual application of the Rule of Law—not only domestic but also international—and hence the recognition of the Republic of Mountainous Karabagh within its constitutional frontiers, as well as of Kosovo and Abkhazia.

Anything else is partisan politics, petty political gain and sui generis dissimulation, all of which might make sense for some and for the moment but at bottom run counter to the aims of peace, security, justice and democratic values for the critical landmass amid the seas. Raffi Hovannisian, independent Armenia’s first minister of foreign affairs, currently chairs the Heritage Party and represents it in Parliament.

Source:  http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/08/13/russian-power-armenian-sovereignty-and-a-region-at-risk/

RF Ambassador to Armenia saying Armenia is nothing without Russia


Armenian political analyst Hovhan Mandakuni covered the issue of Russia’s multi-layered and influential presence in Armenia in his article published in “First Armenian News and Analysis”. The article discusses the frame of a quite sincere interview with the RF ambassador to Armenia Vyacheslav Kovalenko, where the ambassador not only elaborates Russia’s failed policy in Armenia and generally in South Caucasus, but he directly threatens Armenia that in case of taking any step on its own or for its own profit that contradicts Russia, it will lead to painful results for Armenia.

The ambassador announced that Armenia is nothing without Russia. “The cynicism of this announcement crosses almost all the borders, but on the other hand Armenian authorities themselves by their inefficient policy gave Russia the right to say so.”- writes Mandakuni. The analyst disagrees with the Ambassador Kovalenko’s words that Russia is the anchor of Armenian economy. “The matter is that Russia more disturbs than helps the development of Armenia. Russian investment takes away cash from Armenia bringing no new technology instead. Russian capital doesn’t bring any qualitative change”-he writes.

Russian presence in Armenia is secured by the monopole and oligarchic Armenian economy of the last 10 years, which retarded the development and the idea of competitiveness in economy.

Source: http://www.1in.am/eng/opinions_armopinions_2270.html

CSTO Troops Visiting the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex at Tsitsernakaberd