Implications, consequences and potentials of President Putin's upcoming visit to Armenia - November, 2013

It's set. Although the travel itinerary has not yet been officially released, according to a radio broadcast by the Voice of Russia and a credible source in Yerevan, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin is expected to be in Armenia on a state visit on December 2, 2013. There are preparations already being made in Yerevan and in Gyumri ahead of his visit. 

Before I go on about President Putin's state visit to Armenia, I would like to take this opportunity to call on the Armenian authorities to crackdown on the nation's Western-led political activists, provocateurs and agitators ahead of the Russian President's arrival. 

According to recent "Radio Liberty" reports, along side Raffi Hovanissian's and Paruyr Hayrikian's idiots, a well known psychologically disturbed political activist in Yerevan is also expected to protest President Vladimir Putin's arrival in Armenia on December 2. The following is a video clip of this character in action a little over one year ago -
"Political activist" Vardges Gaspari:
Just think, how would have this clinically insane animal been treated by police in a place like New York or Los Angeles? Needless to say, had he tried to pull this kind of crap off against policemen in the US they would have turned him into a mangled doormat in a heartbeat. This Vardges Gaspari character is actually a fairly good example of the quality of Armenia's so-called political opposition today. Therefore, I would like to reiterate my call to Armenian law enforcement authorities to do all they can to stop our Captain Americas, EUrofags, nationalist nutjobs and self-destructive peasantry from embarrassing us all once again on the international stage.

Now, back to the main topic.

A little over one year ago there were widespread reports that Vladimir Putin's visit to Armenia was imminent. But the visit back then never materialized due to outstanding disagreements between Moscow and Yerevan over Yerevan's "complimentary politics" at the time. Now that Armenia's counterproductive foreign policy approach that has kept the country politically unstable and economically stagnant for the past twenty years has been corrected as of September 3, I expect a visit by President Putin. I really hope to see large numbers of our people turnout to greet him, I hope to see Armenian officials going out of their way to make him feel comfortable. The man is after all a living legend and in many ways, a savior. The Armenian nation needs to welcome him with open arms. 

More importantly: This is the perfect occasion to embrace - and have the ear of - perhaps the most powerful man in the world today. Are we as a people truly grasping the implications and the potentials of this state visit? 

This is the perfect occasion to begin pushing Armenian national interests amongst top level Russian officials. This is the perfect occasion to get together a delegation of Armenians from around the world and hold closed-door meetings with one of the most powerful men on earth. This is the perfect occasion to begin discussing Javakhq, Artsakh, Western Armenia, the Black Sea, common borders with Russia, the problem of Western operatives in Armenia, etc. This is the perfect opportunity to lure Russian businessmen and industrialists (by whatever means necessary) to setup shop in Armenia. In fact, it is also being reported that hundreds Russian businessmen will be attending an economic forum in Yerevan during the same time President Putin will be visiting. 

As I have been proclaiming throughout Cyberia for nearly ten years: The Russian-Armenian community is the single most important Armenian Diaspora on earth and the Russian Federation is a historic opportunity for the fledgling Armenian state, an opportunity to help it breakout of its mountain prison. The historic merger of Armenian and Russian national interests in recent times is an opportunity that needs to be thoroughly explored and fully exploited. 

Once more I'd like to remind the reader that the keys to Armenia's future successes (and failures) in the south Caucasus are found within the highest offices of the Kremlin. Instead of the constant complaints and fear-mongering over Russia's growing influence in the south Caucasus, Armenians would do well to accept reality and embark on a pan-national effort - similar to what Jews do in the West - to promote Armenia's national interests within the Kremlin. 

Armenians have wasted twenty years pursuing Western fairytales with only crony capitalism, oligarchy, political instability, closed borders, cultural decline, population loss, demoralization and abject poverty to show for it. Moreover, politically and thus economically, Armenia has stagnated and languished as a result of staying in the middle. While this "complimentary" approach to international relations made a lot of sense in the 1990s while the Great Game in Eurasia was in its height and no one side was dominant, maintaining it in today's political climate in the south Caucasus is counterproductive to Armenia. Yerevan has to adapt to the changing times. Thankfully, it is beginning to. 

For better or for worst, Armenia is wed to Russia. 

I believe it's for the better. With its Orthodox Christian and Slavic national culture, powerful military, massive landmass, immense natural wealth, a large and an increasingly affluent population and easy accessibility for Armenia, the Russian Federation is an ideal ally for Yerevan and an ideal environment for Armenian scientists, businessmen, industrialists and more importantly - Armenian political activists.

We Armenians need to collectively work on turning Armenia's national interests into an extension of Russia's foreign policy. We need to work on this more obsessively and more persistently than we have worked on gaining genocide recognition in the Western world. The geostrategic foundation, the political basis to merge Armenian and Russian national interests currently exists to begin this very process. It also helps greatly that Russian society is by nature Turcophobic and Islamophobic. We Armenians simply need to begin seeding the Armenian and Russian landscapes with this long term goal. 

Do Armenia's sons and daughters have the foresight to take advantage of this historic opportunity, or is the legendary Armenian mind only reserved to be used for personal matters or in competition against other Armenians? 

I really hope I'm wrong but being that Armenians will be Armenians (i.e. Armenia's biggest obstacle), I have a feeling that those who will make the most effort and the most noise come early December will be our political opposition freaks and Captain Americas. Therefore, we can all expect a frenzy of anti-Putin hysteria by our nation's Western-led political activists and psychopaths masquerading as nationalists. The following is one of their early attempts: The Lord's Prayer has been blasphemed and turned into anti-Putin hate speech -

God Putin?

Well, I wouldn't call him God, but he did singlehandedly save Syria from certain death. No? I wouldn't call him God, but he is helping Iran survive against the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance and friends. I wouldn't call him God, but he has kept Turks away from Armenia's borders. I wouldn't call him God, but he has helped an impoverished Armenia maintain military parity (some may even say superiority) against a big spending, oil rich Azerbaijan. I wouldn't call him God, but he has helped Armenia stay afloat by providing hundreds-of-thousands of Armenians work opportunities throughout the Russian Federation. I wouldn't call him God, but he has allowed billions-of-dollars worth of money transfers to Armenia. I wouldn't call him God, but he has invested billions-of-dollars in Armenia. I wouldn't call him God, but he has made Russia Armenia's biggest trade partner. I wouldn't call him God, but he has provided Armenia with very affordable fuel oil and natural gas. I wouldn't call him God, but he has helped Armenia keep its atomic power plant open. I wouldn't call him God, but he has recognized the Armenian Genocide. 

I wouldn't call him God, but he has been responsible (in fact more so than the entire Armenian Diaspora combined) for Armenia's survival in a nasty and unforgiving place like the south Caucasus. 

Despite the fact that Moscow has fully embraced Armenia as an ally and has accordingly protected Armenia from all regional predators, I expect many of Washington's shameless street whores to spread fear, hate and disinformation ahead of President Putin's visit. I can just hear our Captain Americas and psychopaths posing as nationalists: Armenia is losing its independence... Armenia is being taken over by Russia... Armenia is being forced back into the Soviet Union... Armenia is becoming a dirty Russian province... Armenia is being enslaved by Putin... 

And we didn't have to wait long: The following are some more early attempts to cast a dark shadow on President Putin's upcoming visit. One comes by the way of Washington's longest serving agent in Armenia Paruyr Hayrikian; one by Igor Muratyan, an imbecile working at Lra-glir; one by David Shahnazarian, a former Levon Petrosian official (you know, the ones who put Armenia in much of the mess it is in today); one by US agent John "the horse face" Hughes' ArmeniaNow; one by a disgruntled Georgian at the Western-funded EurasiaNet, and one by a bimbo activist on Facebook -
Paruyr Hayrikian says Armenians oppose Customs Union, plans protests:
Igor Muradyan says Armenian hate for Russia is not new but is acquiring a radical content:
David Shahnazarian says membership in Customs Union runs counter civilization:
Agent John Hughes' ArmeniaNow sounding the alarm about Russian schools in Armenia:
Armenia's Gyumri Becomes Putinville:
Armenia Vs. Putin:
They are trying to prepare their field of play. We can expect to see more activity as President Putin's arrival date nears. And mark my words, in the coming days, Richard Giragosian and Raffi Hovanissian will also be farting through their mouths. Unfortunately, we may also see ARF officials participating in Uncle Sam's anti-Putin circus. Having been left out of serious politics in Armenia, it seems that the old "revolutionary" party will be participating, at least to some degree, in the anti-Putin hysteria. This is yet another desperate attempt by the ARF to find that ever elusive niche in Armenia's political landscape. Because I expect more political wisdom, backbone and substance from a political party that has been around for 125 years and espouses nationalism, I will single out the ARF for further criticism.

ARF concerned about Russia’s anti-Western drive?

Party leader Vahan Hovhanessian made some curious statements at a Russian-sponsored event in Armenia recently. Excerpts of his nonsense can be read in the following news report -
Armenia’s political elite concerned about Russia’s pronounced anti-Western drive:
Since this Vahan character is in the business of being "concerned" about others people's business (in this case about Russia's "anti-West" policies), was he equally concerned during the past twenty years when the West had been actively trying to undermine the fledgling Russian state with an anti-Russian drive of their own? Is Vahan worried that the West is comfortably in bed with Turks and Azeris? Is Vahan concerned that the West continues to carry-out policies that are overtly hostile towards Armenia and Russia? Has Vahan been concerned about Western policies against Syria and Iran?

Nevertheless, Vahan's comments are like Russian officials telling Armenians that the "political elite" in Moscow is concerned about Yerevan's "anti-Turkish" policies, a
nd that Armenians are keeping themselves isolated due to their bad relations with Turks and Azeris.

Vahan went on to say Russia is left alone? Alone? Aren't two of Russia's largest trading partners Germany and Holland? Isn't Russia in the G8 and the G20? Isn't Russia in the World Trade Organization? Doesn't Moscow supply the EU with over 50% of its energy needs? Don't Westerners go crawling to Moscow for things like Syria and Iran? Doesn't China have very close relations with Russia? Besides, who needs toxic "partners" like the political West? Besides, why should an Armenian "nationalist" care about Russian-Western relations? Why is Vahan so worried? Does Armenia have borders with the EU? Is Armenia entering the EU? And what EU nation does Armenia have such a large economic relationship with that Armenia's "political elite" (what a laughable term) is so worried about Russian attitudes towards the West ruining it for Armenia?

Vahan thinks Armenia will lose a large segment of its vast diaspora simply because officials in Yerevan have been farsighted enough to remain firmly within the Russian orbit. If Vahan is correct in this assumption, then good riddance! Who needs a diaspora like that?

Vahan claims that after the Russo-Georgian war in 2008 (when it became obvious that the Russian Bear had roared back into the south Caucasus with a vengeance, mind you) Armenian officials suddenly realized that they have to "diversify" their economy? After Russia's historic return to the south Caucasus, Armenians thought of "diversifying" by looking Westward? Really?

Do these political imbeciles parading around as Armenia's "political elite" live in the same world the rest of us live in? Oh, and this Vahan character is said to be from the ARF's "pro-Russian" faction.

And it's not only Vahan and the topic is not just Russia. 

Just recently, ARF representatives were on a landmark visit to Istanbul to attend a "Socialist International" meeting where open borders and trade relations between Turkey and Armenia were discussed. The following is Asbarez's whitewashed article about the event in question -
Is this what Vahan had in mind when he was talking about "diversifying" Armenia's relations? During their historic visit to Istanbul (kept hush-hush for the most part), did our pseudo-nationalists make the same kind of bellicose statements against Turks as Vahan did against Russians in the Russian-sponsored venue in Armenia?

Also just recently, the ARF was politically irresponsible enough to shamelessly join Raffi Hovanissian's Heritage Party and vote for a bill in the Armenian parliament calling for the recognition of Artsakh's independence, even after Artsakh's leadership and top level Armenian military officials had been warning against such a haphazard step because of it being fraught with serious risks -

ARF's political pandering at the expense of Artsakh:
In other words, the ARF, like all other political opposition freaks in Armenia, seems to be in the business of exploiting Artsakh's difficult political predicament for self-serving political gains. Can someone now please remind me what the @$%# is the ARF good for anymore?

Let's extend a hearty welcome to President Putin

Regardless of what our Western-led, self-destructive peasantry and political imbeciles will say or do in conjunction with President Putin's upcoming state visit to Armenia, the Armenian nation will be deeply honored to host an illustrious leader like him on Armenian soil. Let's all do our part in extending a hearty welcome to President Putin. His visit to Armenia was very long in coming. But let's not take his lateness too personally because that is just how he is -
The last time President Putin visited Armenia was back in 2005. The trip back then was very brief and barely covered by the news media. Moreover, there was no hysteria by Armenia's Western operatives back then because the Russian President had not yet fully begun his campaign to roll-back Western gains in Eurasia. However, it was widely thought at the time that the trip's main purpose was to ensure Armenia's political allegiance to Moscow. Having finally crushed Russia's Western-backed oligarchy and defeated the Western-backed Islamic insurgency ravaging the Caucasus by the early years of the new millennium, Putin's 2005 visit to Armenia was coming at a pivotal time in history when Moscow was just beginning to get-off its knees, shake-off its 1990s filth and begin the gradual process of reasserting itself in regional politics. 

Prior to his 2005 visit, President Putin was in Armenia in 2o01, which was merely a year after his election. The following picture is a video still of him laying flowers at the Armenian Genocide memorial at the time -

It certainly feels like the Russian President's visits to Armenia was a very long time ago. Times have certainly changed since then and this time around the official visit trip and its geopolitical implications promises to be momentous. Due to recent political developments in the Middle East, Armenians (even the more rigidly ignorant ones) no longer need to be convinced of Russia's crucial role in the region anymore. The Great Czar of Eurasia will be in Armenia to build on the foundations he laid back in 2001 and 2005. President Putin will be in Armenia to bolster the small, landlocked, blockaded and embattled nation's political standing in the south Caucasus and to further cement bilateral relations between the two brotherly former Soviet nations.

Coming a year after the CSTO's large scale military exercises and on the heals of the recent announcement by Yerevan that Armenia will seek to join the Russian led Customs Union, Vladimir Putin's appearance in Yerevan will be yet another powerful message to Turks, Azeris and Western officials alike. The news of his impeding visit was preceded by the unprecedented announcement by the commander of the Russian 102nd military base stationed in Armenia that Russian troops under his command reserve the right to intervene on Armenia's behalf if Azerbaijan attacks Artsakh. Other very positive news developments have also been preceding his visit. Some of the articles in question are posted below this commentary. Please make time to read them.

Why they hate him

Although many millions of people around the world today have begun recognizing President Vladimir Putin's and Russia's crucially important role on the international stage, his true greatness will only be recognized after he departs this world, when future generations look back and rationally assess the turbulent times we are currently living in. Men like Putin come about very rarely. In fact, pivotal leaders like him appear during times of great upheaval.

Sometime during the 1990s, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is believed to have said that the natural wealth found in the vastness of the Russian Federation was too much for one country to posses. It is very obvious that the West would have loved to indefinitely live-off the carcass of the Soviet Union, and they managed to do so somewhat during the 1990s. But President Putin's rise to power put an abrupt end to their plans. Within a few short years he turned what in essence was a failed state into a great world power once again.

Under the brilliant leadership of Vladimir Putin, the Russian Federation has managed to rollback virtually all of the West's advances in Eurasia and begin its multi-pronged advance to bring back under its umbrella regions traditionally considered to be its spheres of influence.

The Bear's return has been astounding.

In a few short years, Moscow was able to: nationalized virtually all of Russia's national assets, including its vast natural wealth; chase out all of Russia's problematic Western/Israel backed oligarchs; begin shutting down many of the nation's meddling Western NGOs and propaganda outlets; reverse the nation's population shrinkage; create a growing and vibrant middle class; defeat the Western/Turkish/Saudi Arabian backed Islamic insurgency in northern Caucasus; monopolize the distribution of Central Asian gas and oil; secure Europe's and China's  energy needs; win the allegiance of Central Asian republics; evict US forces from former Soviet territory in Central Asia; develop unprecedentedly close relations with China; stop military aggression against Syria; support Iran's nuclear development program; stop Washington's missile defense shield deployment; stop NATO's advances in Eastern Europe; end Western, Turkish and Israeli military presence in Georgia; liberate Abkhazia and South Ossetia; place Russia-friendly leaders in Georgia; keep Turkey and Azerbaijan out of Armenia; end Ankara's pan-Turkic dreams in the Caucasus and Central Asia; place a Russia-friendly government in Ukraine; ensure Armenia's long term allegiance; and lure Armenia into the Customs Union. And just recently, Moscow has managed to put Kiev and Moldova on the path to joining the Customs Union as well -
Thousands of Moldovans rally against Euro-integration:
The grossmeister in the Kremlin has played his chess pieces brilliantly on the Eurasian chessboard. As a result, the Russian Bear is back on the global scene as a major competitor to the West. There continues, however, to be some unfinished business in places such as Serbia and Kosovo. All in due time. Nevertheless, dumbfounded and reeling from their setbacks in recent years, Western policymakers are still trying to figure out who is this Vladimir Putin and what went wrong with their grand plans. The following scene from inside Georgia in 2008 probably best describes the resurrection of the Russian Bear - 
Russian Soldiers Burn American Flag:
I dare the well informed reader to imagine the political state of world today without the existence of the Russian Federation. I dare any rational individual to imagine where Armenia would be today had Russia been pushed out of Armenia in the 1990s. I dare any rational individual to imagine where the entire Caucasus would be today had Russia been defeated there. I dare any rational individual to imagine how much worst the situations in the places such as Syria, Lebanon and Iran would have been today had Russia been eliminated from the global political stage. Russia's resurgence as a global power not only saved Armenia by stopping the Caucasus from turning into a Western-financed playground for oil companies, Turks, Azeris and Islamists, it also saved the world from the clutches of the Anglo-American-Zionist global menace. 

Vladimir Putin's appearance on the political stage was, in a strong sense, God sent. What President Putin and his supporters in the Kremlin managed to accomplish during the past decade was in my opinion one of history's most important turning points. I firmly believe that President Putin will someday be ranked amongst the world's finest rulers for the man turned me, an Armenian nationalist and an American libertarian - into a Russophile.

At the end of the day, I firmly believe that western civilization, apostolic Christianity and political sanity on earth will prove to have been preserved as a result of the emergence of the Russian Federation as a superpower reasserting itself in global affairs. The Russian Federation today is the last and only front against the Anglo-American-Zionist global empire; it is the only front against Pan-Turkism; the only front against Islamic extremism; and the only front against the world's newest form of Bolshevism - Globalism. 

They loved Gorbachev because he killed the Bear. They adored Yeltsin because he allowed them to feed on the carcass of the Bear. They now hate Putin because he resurrected the Bear.

The need for greater Russian involvement

Deeper Russian involvement in Armenia simply means closer, more effective political, economic and financial cooperation between former Soviet states - and not the lose of Armenia's "independence" as our Western funded Russophobes are desperately trying to convince us. I'd like to once again remind the reader that unlike a genocidal West, the Russian nation has preserved (unfortunately in some cases) many-many ethnic minorities within its national boundaries. Unlike many of our Captain Americas, Cold War rejects and nationalist nutjobs, I do not fear the return of Bolshevism nor do I think the Russian nation has the appetite - or is stupid enough - to seek the resurrection of the Russian Empire. 

Thus, when we talk about greater Russian involvement in the context of former Soviet republics, what we are essentially talking about is a Russian-led confederation of independent states closely working with each other. Suggesting anything else is utter nonsense derived from Western propaganda, political illiteracy and/or paranoia. There has been other, somewhat unexpected, positive developments coming out of Yerevan's decision to move closer to Moscow. Washington and Ankara are all of a sudden expressing desires to reengage Yerevan in financial and economics matters -
Turkey issues new roadmap, relations with Armenia included:
ANCA Welcomes Results Of U.S.-Armenia Economic Talks:
In my opinion, this is Uncle Sam's attempt at salvaging what little influence it has left in Armenia. They even seem to have their partners in Ankara softening their approach to Yerevan as well. In other words, with Yerevan no longer afraid of Western threats and no longer dependent on US bribes and handouts, Washington is readjusting its approach to Armenia to preserve at least some of its dwindling presence in the country. Interestingly, even the "Millennium Challenge" bribe program has been unexpectedly renewed. Mind you that this was one of Washington's largest aid programs in Armenia and it was suspended around 2009 due to "serious concerns about corruption in the Armenian government". Is Armenia less "corrupt" now in the eyes of Washingtonian reptiles? Of course not.

It's basically Uncle Sam's turn to start kissing some Armenian ass.

Having taken some twenty years to get its act in order, a resurgent Moscow is now strongly invested in Armenia and it is flaunting it for the world to see. I'm very glad that Moscow is finally making its full presence felt in the south Caucasus. I am extremely satisfied that Armenia, Moscow's only reliable partner in the south Caucasus, has become the epicenter of Russian activity in recent times. As a result, an independent Armenia's borders have not been this secure in well over one thousand years, and  Armenia's political weight has risen significantly. 

There is an important nuance here that also needs to be recognized: Armenia's recent rise as a regional power has only been possible due to the near total control Moscow has had over Armenia's energy and military sectors. In the world of realpolitik, Moscow would be much less willing to empower Armenia had it not been able to secure Yerevan's total dependence. Why trust anyone? Moscow will only trust Yerevan if it can verify Yerevan's allegiance to it. The only way Moscow can do so is if it keeps Yerevan dependent on it by controlling sensitive sectors within Armenia. 

Armenia's near total dependence on Moscow is an opportunity in disguise. 

Armenians can strengthen Armenia militarily and economically by ensuring that Moscow remains fully and unequivocally convinced that Armenia will be staying firmly within its orbit for the foreseeable future. Armenians can strengthen Armenia militarily and economically by convincing top level policymakers in Russia that a more powerful but fully dependent Armenia in the south Caucasus  can be exploited by Moscow to achieve a strategic balance of powers between Armenians, Georgians and Turks and can project Russian power throughout the region via Armenia. 

As I have said, as long as the Armenian language remains Armenia's national language and as long as Armenia is able to maintain its homegrown armed forces, I prefer deeper Russian involvement inside Armenia.

What I am saying is this: I rather have an Armenia that is economically prosperous and militarily powerful but dependent on Russia - than have an Armenia that is "independent" of Russia but politically unstable, economically depressed and dependent on Turkey. In the harsh realities of the south Caucasus there are simply no alternatives for Yerevan.

Moreover, those, such as myself, who greatly appreciate western/European civilization (not to be confused with Anglo-American-Zionist Westernization or Western Globalism) and want to see its preservation have to come to the realization that the Russian Federation today is gradually turning into the cradle of western/European civilization - as the Western world (i.e. Northern America, Britain and the European Union) commits cultural suicide. 

Nevertheless, Armenia today stands on the verge of becoming a major Russian-backed regional trade hub. Armenia stands poised to be a strategic point between the Eurasian Customs Union and the Middle East, Turkey and Europe. 

But all this came after many years of neglect by Moscow. 

Armenia needs DIRECT Russian involvement, if only to balance out and eventually rid the country of its twenty year old Western poisons,  infectious diseases such as American pop music, American film, religious cults, English language, Western propaganda, Democracy peddling, multiculturalism, multiracialism, atheism, individualism, substance abuse, Holocaust worship, consumerism and ultra-liberalism, to name only a few... 

In my opinion, Moscow is guilty of allowing Armenia to turn into a Western playground during the past two decades. Russian officials cannot continue thinking that by merely dealing with Armenia's top leadership or by coming to control its infrastructure they will have no worries in the country. For much of the past twenty years Moscow executed politics in Armenia via conventional, old world methods - disregarding the nation's base and simply dealing directly with the top and by using strong arm tactics when need be. Such an approach is of course a lot less complicated and a lot less costly. However, such an approach also left a serious void. Because the top leadership in Yerevan were essentially spoken for, Western interests simply began working on the rest of Armenia. Moscow's negligence and "old world" tactics has thus allowed Western interests to embed itself deep within Armenian society. Exploiting the services of an army of political operatives, activists, NGOs, Think Tanks, aid agencies, various government funded programs and western-inspired television programing, Washington began its efforts to hijack the fledgling nation from the bottom up. 

Moscow needs to step into the modern world and recognize the paramount importance of Public Relations, Social Engineering and, more importantly, Soft Power. Russian officials must begin recognizing that their most serious flaw in Armenia has been their severe lack of PR in the country. 

I would like to call on Russian officials get more proactive inside Armenia, for Armenia's sake, for Russia's sake. 

I am nevertheless glad to see Moscow getting noticeably more proactive inside Armenia. Former Russian ambassador to Armenia Kovalenko's recent activity is just one example. Although it seems a bit awkward, we are indeed seeing Western-style Public Relations (PR) coming from the Russian camp recently. Perhaps having learned dearly from the methods with which the political West sometimes gets things done around the world (i.e. before Western leaders resort to blackmail, sanctions, terrorism or war when things don't go their way), Moscow has clearly begun using a powerful tool known as Soft Power as a means of projecting its political agenda as well. 

In the aftermath of President Putin's historic visit, I hope to see deeper cooperation and collaboration between Yerevan and Moscow in all realms, be it business, finance, military, politics, culture or tourism. I expect to see a few breakthrough developments. I hope to see powerful symbolism to be on display during the historic visit. Specifically, I would like to see President Putin lay a wreath at the Armenian Genocide memorial once again. More importantly, I hope to see Armenian politicians, businessmen and activists seize this historic opportunity to engage the Russian president on a personal level and discuss topics that are important to Armenia and Armenians.

As I have mentioned in previous commentaries, we cannot expect or demand Russians to do the right thing with regards to matters pertaining to Armenia. Armenia's current well being and her future is not a Russian responsibility, it's an Armenian responsibility. Therefore, it is up to us Armenians to use whatever levers we have at our disposal to ensure Armenia's survival and prosperity. It so happens that the Russian Federation is Armenia's only real lever today. Therefore, let's wake-up from our EUrotic fantasies and American dreams and use this historic opportunity for the betterment of our Armenian homeland. 

Let's also never forget that for Armenia, independence from Russia will only result in DEPENDENCE ON TURKEY -
George Friedman: "Russian presence in Armenia is bad for Turkey, Keep Armenia isolated":
This troubling geostrategic realization is well known by Western and Russian officials but it seems to escape most Armenians today. The only major political entity in the world today (and for the foreseeable future) that has a strategic interest in seeing Armenia exist as a nation-state in the south Caucasus is the Russian Federation. Recent years have clearly shown us that Yerevan's alliance with the Russian Bear is Armenia's number one security guarantee for without a strong Russian presence in Armenia there won't be an Armenia in the south Caucasus. Recent years should also have shown us (even the most politically ignorant ones amongst us) that Western institutions are a grave threat for underdeveloped and vulnerable nations. 

Therefore, Armenian lobbyists, politicians, businessmen and military leaders must be a constant presence within the walls of the Kremlin. While Armenia's military is its tactical advantage, Armenia's alliance with the Russian Federation must be utilized as its strategic advantage on the global stage. Armenia's only hope for progress and survival in the south Caucasus lies with closer integration with the Russian Federation. Armenia's most important diaspora is the Russian-Armenian diaspora. The only hope the Caucasus has for peace and stability is Pax Russicana.

A new era in Eurasia 

Humanity could once again breathe a sigh-of-relief when the great Czar of Eurasia came back into power in 2012. The great son of the great Russian nation had returned to his rightful place. In what turned out to be a landslide victory, Vladimir Putin had again been elected president of the Russian Federation and his rabid enemies worldwide were taking note. As grateful nations such as Syria have found out, the soft approach the Kremlin had flirted with for the previous four years under the leadership of President Dmitri Medvedev had effectively come to an end. The Russian Bear is roaring back with a vengeance and the two century old Anglo-American-Zionist era is today in decline. 

An era of top heavy, nationalistic Eurasian governments are on the rise once again. 

The center of gravity in global affairs is gradually shifting eastward. Finally. The twenty-first century promises to be a muli-polar political period in human history where no single political system reigns supreme. I hope to see someday the rise of a powerful and nationalistic leader like Vladimir Putin in Armenia. I hope to see someday the rise of a powerful and nationalistic government like that of the Russian Federation in Armenia. We Armenians have unfortunately wasted too much of our time and precious resources on pursuing elusive Western fairytales. Western officials have had us chasing our tails with nonsense like "Civil Society" and "Democracy" for too many years. It's actually disturbing how some of our well-meaning idiots talk about “Democracy” as if it’s a drug: Just take it and you’ll be fine, we are told. 

Well, it is a drug. But the problem is that it’s a very toxic drug that has hallucinatory side effects. 

The kind of Democracy being promoted by Western powers around the world in recent decades - with its system of beliefs known as Globalism - are for the Western world today what religion used to be for European powers during the past one thousand years, and what Roman civilization and Hellenism was in the preceding centuries: A means of manipulation, control, subjugation, exploitation and when needed, destruction. 

What has Western style Democracy brought to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria in recent years? Utter chaos and destruction!

What has Western Democracy brought to Europe? Decadence, the lose of identity and the very decline of western and European civilization! 

The political West (i.e. those who do most of the Democracy drug peddling around the world, as well as real narcotics peddling but that's another story) is actually very far from being an actual Democracy. In other words, the West is not what it preaches to be. The Western world is ruled by an elite-based political system where top level military leaders, government officials and financial executives make major decisions. Their well conditioned (i.e. socially engineered) populations are allowed very limited say primarily in some domestic matters. Western official know better than allowing their masses a say in politics.

Before the leadership of a developing countries are capable of allowing their citizenry to safely participate in the nation's political processes, political system in the country first needs to develop well established national institutions and only a tidy number of domestically funded political parties that are subservient to them. Before a government can allow its people a limited say in political matters, it also needs a well conditioned citizenry.

A nation cannot risk playing with democracy when the nation is culturally not ready and politically immature. A nation cannot risk playing with democracy when it does not have a democratic tradition or lacks powerful national institutions. As mentioned above, powerful national institutions overseeing and sometimes guiding the so-called "democratic process" in a political system is exactly how the Western world is currently run. Developing nations such as Armenia are in no shape to risk playing with such a drug.  

In their transitional phase, developing nations need powerful leaders with courage and vision. Until Armenia matures as a state, Armenians need men like Vladimir Putin in power. Until Armenians mature as a people, God save Armenia from democracy and all it's street peddlers. 

A messege to Armenian activists

The Armenian Diaspora in the US and Europe is wasting our time and limited resources in an anti-Armenian viper's nest like Washington and Brussels. The time has come to take our political activism to Russia, which hosts the largest Armenian diaspora and to the the Kremlin, our only natural ally. And instead of acting like a bunch of worthless Arabs complaining about Jews doing this or that, let's for once stop admiring Jews and start learning from them - at least in political terms.

For example: Have our nation's "political elite" or representatives of our age-old Diasporan organizations (primarily the big talking ones) ever thought about contacting the leadership of the Russian-Armenian community to have meetings along the lines of something like this -
Netanyahu aide says Boston bombing, 9/11 are good for Israel:
In the above video we see a government representative from Israel preparing prominent American-Jews for political activism in the US. We see this official cultivating a friendly political field in the US via human assets in the US. What is the main point he is trying to convey? Namely that attacks against Americans by Muslims are beneficial for the Jewish state of Israel for it helps Americans identify with Jews. This is professionally executed political exploitation.

How do Armenians compare? 

When a murder committed by an Azeri in Moscow set-off major riots by Russian nationalists or when a Muslim extremist from the Russian republic of Dagestan blew-up a commuter bus in southern Russia, did we Armenians try to take advantage of the situation at hand by organizing meetings with Russian officials or civic organizations in the Russian Federation to discuss the "growing threat of Muslims, Chechens, Tatars, Turks or Azeris to Russian society"? No. Did we Armenians try to take advantage of the situation at hand by organizing meetings with prominent Russian-Armenians and ask them to exploit the situation via their professional positions within the Russian Federation? No. From what I recall, most of our imbeciles in Armenia and in the Diaspora were instead complaining about "Russian racism" and "Russian xenophobia", thereby siding with Muslims, Chechens, Tatars, Turks and Azeris.

Again, instead of envying or fearing Jews, let's learn from what they have managed to accomplish in the US and in western Europe.

We need to closely engage Russians. We need to closely engage Russian-Armenians. Unlike the desolate wasteland known as the American-Armenian Diaspora, we Armenians have the fortune of having A LOT of prominent Armenians throughout the Russian Federation to work with. In fact, prominent Armenians are found in virtually EVERY LAYER of Russian society. The following is only a partial list:
Sergei Lavrov (Foreign Minister of Russia) 
Artur Chilingarov (Duma spokesman, Scientist, Hero of Russia)
Sergey Avakyants (commander of Russia's Pacific Fleet)
Margarita Simonyan (director of Russia Today, married to film director Tigran Keosayan)
Tigran Keosayan (film director, actor, writer, married to Russia Today director Margaret Simonyan)
Michael Pogosian (director of Russia's United Aircraft Industry) 
Andranik Migranyan (PhD, political scientist, author, professor, director of Institute of Democracy and Cooperation)
Armen Oganesyan (CEO of Voice of Russia radio broadcasts) 
Ashot Eghiazaryan (Russian State Duma member)
Karen Shakhnazarov (CEO of Mosfilm, Russia's largest studio)
Karen Karapetyan (vice President at Gazprom)
Albert Avdolyan (telecommunications tycoon) 
Sergey Galitsky (billionaire owner of Magnit)
Karen Brutents (author, historian, Communist Party Central Committee member, senior KGB operative)
Ruben Vardanyan (billionaore former CEO of Troika Dialog Group)
Ruben Aganbegyan (millionaire owner Renaissance Capital Micex)
Danil Khachaturov (billionaire chairman of RosGosStrakh)
Sergey Khachaturov (billionaire, brother of Danil Khachaturov)
Oleg Mkrtchyan (billionaire industrialist, football kingpin)
Gennady Melikiyan (deputy chairman of Bank of Russia) 
Samvel Karapetyan (billionaire owner of Tashir group) 
Sergey Sarkisov (billionaire owner of RESO-Garantia insurance company)
Nikolay Sarkisov (billionaire commodities trader, brother of Sergey Sarkisov)
Gagik Gevorkyan (president of Estet Jewelry House and new head of the prestigious Russian Jewelers Guild)
Artur Janibekyan (television producer and head of Russia's most successful Comedy Club)
Ara Abrahamyan (billionaire businessman, president of the Union of Armenians in Russia)
Besides a celebrity/whore, a senile billionaire that would rather throw his money away than have some of it "stolen" in Armenia and a pot-smoking rock star turned political activist, who the hell does the one-million strong American-Armenian community have to be proud of these days? Every single one of the influential, wealthy and prominent Russian-Armenians listed above have high level contacts throughout the Russian Federation, and some even enjoy personal relationships with the President of the Russian Federation as well as other top level economic, financial and security officials. Does anyone else here besides me see the great potential we have in Russia? Does anyone else here besides me grasp great implications of what I am suggesting? 

In the following television interview we see billionaire Ara Abrahamyan, one of Russia's most prominent Armenians and one who enjoys a personal relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, sounding the alarm about the lack of political activism by Armenians in Moscow -

It's time to heed to Mr. Abrahamyan's warnings and suggestions. Instead of looking at our compatriots in Russia as "Russified" (better Russified than westernized in my opinion), let's embrace them, let's pursue efforts to working with them. Enough of our primitive ways. Let's aggressively and collectively work on helping better organize our compatriots in Russia. Let's use our energy, our wits and our intellect to become a ubiquitous presence in the Kremlin through them. 

This isn't all theoretical talk on my part. There actually exists the foundational basis for closer collaboration and cooperation with the influential and affluent Russian-Armenian community -
Largest Armenian Cathedral complex consecrated in Moscow:
Moreover, for the past few years, Russian-Armenian community, by far the world's largest and the most affluent Armenian Diaspora, has been getting very active in the fund raising efforts of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund. In fact, in recent years Russian-Armenians have come on top in contributions -
During this most reputable organization's most recent fund raising effort, the Russian-Armenian community contributed more money than all others combined! Regardless of how the contributions were broken down, this is powerful symbolism we should all carefully take notice of. The performance of the Russian-Armenian community is in my opinion quite indicative of the national awakening currently taking place amongst Russian-Armenians. By comparison, US Western Region (which hosts one of the largest and unfortunately the best known Armenian Diasporas in the world) and the US Eastern Region contributed a shameful $1 million and $2 million respectively. Although pathetically sad and very disappointing (especially in California's case), it nevertheless does not come as a surprise for me. This is essentially the price we all pay for having community representatives (e.g. Ara Manoogian, Garo Ghazarian, Jirayr Libaridian, Ara Khachaturian, Robert Davidian, Nanore Barsumian, Harout Bronozian, David Grigorian, et alii) and organizations (Policy Forum Armenia, ARF, Asbarez, Armenian Assembly, Armenian Weekly, Armenian Bar Association, etc) in direct and indirect service of Washington.

Collective demoralization and the destruction of the Armenian spirit is the price we have payed in the US for the constant doom&gloom style reporting about Armenia. Washington's not so little army of street whores and smut peddlers have succeeded in poisoning the very air we Armenians breath. 

When about ten years ago I first began telling Armenians that Armenia's most important diaspora is the Russian-Armenian community and that Armenia's most important political agenda was to enter into a close alliance with the Russian Federation, I was laughed at by our "proud" compatriots in the US. 

Well, I'd be the one laughing now had it not been for the realization on my part that the one million strong American-Armenian community is terminally ill and dying an ugly death right before our very eyes. Seeing however that the US Armenian community has become a serious liability for our fledgling and embattled nation in the south Caucasus, the sooner it ceases to become a noticeable factor in Armenia's existence the better it may be. In the meanwhile, we need to do all we can stop American-Armenian activists from treating Armenia as a laboratory experiment where they enthusiastically concoct toxic brews for their spirutual and sometimes financial masters in Washington.

If Armenians are truly concerned about Armenia's future and its long term well being, we need to wake up and recognize the historic opportunity we have waiting for us in Russia. As I have been proclaiming for nearly then years, the keys to Armenia's successes as well as its failures in the south Caucasus are found in Moscow. We need to get proactive in Moscow. The Armenian nation will pay dearly if we do not recognize this potential and take advantage of this opportunity.

Don't worry about the sheeple.

We need not be too concerned about convincing the Armenian sheeple about the dangers of Western integration or of the great importance of Russia and the Russian-Armenian Diaspora for Armenia. Due to the typical Armenian's political ignorance, arrogance, egotism, materialism and individualism, it will be a virtually impossible task to convince a typical Armenian of anything simply by 'explaining' things. The knife has to reach the bone before Armenians wake up. Armenians have to have their noses rubbed in shit, before they realize what is going on around them. We can't be too concerned about the Armenian because the typical Armenian will always have problems and complaints and they are never wrong nor are they ever satisfied. This is one of the reasons why I say "Democracy" is one of the most dangerous threats facing Armenia today. Simply put, patriotic Armenians simply need to by-pass the sheeple and just remain concerned about Armenia.

Therefore, we need to do what we know is best for our homeland. 

In the absence of a support base, I think a good strategy for true Armenian nationalists would be to seek out like-minded individuals (those who more-or-less espouse the kind of political rationale/reasoning expressed within this blog) and begin organizing small groups of cyber-based, grassroots sociopolitical movements. We need to use their tools - internet, social media and the English language - to counter the relentless Psy-Ops and the information war being waged against Armenia by Washington's many operatives. Our political ideologies need to become a serious factor in Armenia's political dialogue and a permanent fixture in its political landscape. We need to create a new political culture in Armenia, one that is based in nationalism, realpolitik, pragmatism and a healthy understanding of international relations and world history. 

Let us all recognize that Armenia's number one enemy today is Turkey, Azerbaijan, Anglo-American-Zionist alliance and Western Globalism, with all its assets currently operating in Armenia. But let us also realize that the aforementioned are not the only enemy Armenia faces today. Once Armenia has secured its borders from the Turkic threat and eliminated the dangers posed to the republic by the political West and Globalism, we need to turn our attention to the our country's 1990s era monopolists popularly known as oligarchs. 

As I have repeated many times in the past, the current government and its support base is merely the lesser of evils in Armenia today. If we did not have President Sargsyan today we would have had dangerous men such as Levon Petrosian, Raffi Hovanissian or Paruyr Hayrikian at the helm. If we did not have our oligarchs, we would have had even worst oligarchs from the US, Europe, Turkey and Israel calling the shots in Armenia. But this does not excuse or justify our monopolists. 

That is why I am saying, once we are successful in keeping Armenia fully within the Russian orbit and stabilizing her politically and economically - we need to begin convincing Russia's security services of the importance of helping us eliminate some of Armenia's unsavory monopolist businessmen and impose the rule of law in the country. Armenians must be made to fear and respect law enforcement bodies and law enforcement bodies need to begin enforcing the law. 

In other words, after we cleanse Armenia of is Western operatives, we need to cleanse Armenia's government of its 1990's era chobans-in-Armani-suits. 

Nevertheless, I am extremely satisfied that Moscow has turned Armenia into an epicenter of Russian activity in the south Caucasus. Armenia's political stature has risen significantly in recent years as a result. Armenia today stands on the verge of becoming a major trade hub and an important crossroads connected north, south, east and west. Armenia is now finally on the right path. I can finally see some light at the end of our long and dark tunnel. I believe better times are ahead.

God bless Armenia. God bless Russia. And may God help protect the historic alliance between Yerevan and Moscow from all enemies both foreign and domestic. 

Regardless of what our Western-led self-destructive peasantry and political imbeciles will say or do in conjunction with President Putin's state visit to Armenia, self-respecting patriotic Armenians with a healthy understanding of the world they live in will be deeply honored to host an illustrious leader - and ally - like Russian President Vladimir Putin on Armenian soil. Therefore, I ask you all to do your part, however little or however large, be it in Cyberia or in Armenia, to extend him a warm welcome.

November, 2013


Putin to visit Armenia next month, says Russian-Armenian tycoon

Russian President Vladimir Putin will pay a visit to Yerevan upon the invitation of his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan early next month, chairman of the Union of Armenians of Russia (UAR) Ara Abrahamyan told media. RFE/RL’s Armenian Service quoted Abrahamyan today as saying that the Russian leader will arrive in Armenia on a working visit on December 1 or 2. Abrahamyan also confirmed plans for an Armenian-Russian business forum to be held in Yerevan on December 1-4. The UAR president, who is also a leading businessman, himself will be among some 500 businessmen and local leaders expected to arrive in Armenia from Russia ahead of Putin’s visit. No official source either in Moscow or in Yerevan has reported about Putin’s plans to visit Armenia yet. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has several times invited his Russian counterpart to visit Yerevan since the latter returned to the Kremlin as president in 2012. Several times such visits were announced in the past, but eventually did not take place. 


Voice of Russia:  Putin to pay state visit to Armenia on Dec 2

Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to Armenia for a state visit on December 2, the Kremlin press service reported. The visit will begin in the city of Gyumri, where Putin and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan will visit the 102nd Russian Military Base and take part in the 3rd Russian-Armenian interregional forum. This will be followed by top-level negotiations in Yerevan to address key issues pertaining to bilateral cooperation, including in the trade-economic and cultural-humanitarian spheres. The parties are expected to exchange opinions on the implementation of agreements reached during Sargsyan's visit to Moscow on September 3 and further steps on Armenia's accession to the Belarusian-Kazakh-Russian Customs Union and the Common Economic Space. The two countries are expected to sign a number of joint documents based on the negotiations' outcomes.

Preparations underway in Gyumri and elsewhere ahead of Russian president’s visit

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s expected early-December visit to Armenia has stirred a variety of speculations and predictions ranging from Armenia’s further steps for joining the Customs Union to turning Gyumri, hosting Russian military base #102, in the north of Armenia, into a closed city. There is some news circulated in the local media that Putin’s airplane would land directly at Gyumri’s airport, and that his Yerevan visit would come only afterwards. There are also predictions on his visit to the military base.

Whether the speculations are grounded or not, there are large-scale preparatory works ongoing in Armenia’s second biggest city – the roads to the airport and memorial to the victims of the 1988 earthquake are being repaired and asphalted, also Vardan Atchemyan Drama Theatre is under renovation. Gyumri will be hosting an Armenian-Russian economic forum with participation of many governors, ministers and businessmen from Russia. The Russian president’s delegation will reportedly include around 500 people, among them Russia-based businessmen.

Gyumri mayor Samvel Balasanyan says he is not certain about Putin’s visit to Gyumri and believes the road repairs are related to the economic forum.

“If our family is going to host a guest, clearly we have to make our city look its best,” he says.

As for the speculations on turning Gyumri into a closed city, the mayor says such assumptions are ridiculous, close to absurdity: “There is no such thing. I can’t help wondering where such information comes from!”

Member of Gyumri’s City Council Levon Barseghyan is convinced that if Putin pays a visit to Gyumri twice a year and also attends its suburbs, Gyumri would turn into a decent city. (Once prosperous Gyumri has suffered immensely from the earthquake 25 years ago and has recovered only partly; in addition, almost every other person in northern Shirak province is poor, as recent official statistics show).

“In general, hosting a guest of Putin’s rank is quite costly – security details come, people from inside and outside the country are brought to be placed even on the roofs. As much as I know there will be absolute surveillance – secret agents, intelligence. And besides, although they said he would come on December 2, he will, surely, arrive later. And something like an economic forum is scheduled, so a rather aloof environment will be created not to let accidental people in,” Barseghyan told

Media further spread news that Gyumri would not only become a closed city, but would also be renamed back into Alexandrapol – the city was named so in 1837 in honor of Empress Alexandra, after Tsar Nikolay’s visit. In 1924, it was renamed again, this time into Leninakan, after communist leader Vladimir Lenin. In 1991, after independence, the city restored its historic name Kumayri, then Gyumri.

Shirak Center NGO leader Vahan Tumasyan writes in his Facebook page in this reference: “Even during the 90 years of being called Alexandapol, its residents never stopped calling it Gyumri and referring to themselves as Gyumretsis (natives of Gyumri), just as everybody else called them. The name Alexandrapol never really got attached to the city, people never called themselves alexandrapoltsi. By the way, the same can be said about Leninakan. So leave alone the city which has too many challenges as it is and mind serious business, without looking for sensations at Gyumri’s expense.”


Armenian PM highly values Putin’s visit to Armenia

The visit of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to the Republic of Armenia will contribute to the strengthening of the bilateral relations and is in the interests of the two nations. The Prime Minister of Armenia Tigran Sargsyan stated about it at the press conference in Gyumri. “We are happy that the President of the Russian Federation will visit not only Yerevan but also Gyumri. The high ranking visits contribute to the expansion and deepening of the relations and the strengthening of the bilateral ties”, - said Tigran Sargsyan.

The visit of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to the Republic of Armenia is expected in the beginning of December. Putin is intended to attend the Armenian-Russian economic forum in Gyumri.

The Republic of Armenia exceeds Australia with the indicator of the trade turnover with the Russian Federation and is close to Argentina. Armenpress reports that during the months of January-September 2013 the total Armenia-Russia trade turnover indicator ($908,1 million) exceeded the indicators of Portugal ($830,8 million), Australia ($632 million), Chili ($558,9 million), Tajikistan ($552,6 million), Georgia ($427,2 million), Peru ($347,3 million), New Zealand ($341,9 million) and other countries. During the nine months of the current year the export indicator from Armenia to Russia made $239,7 million. With its export indicator to Russia our country exceeded New Zealand, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Hong Kong, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Cyprus and other countries. With its import indicator from Russia, Armenia exceeded Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Norway, South African Republic and other countries. 


Xinhua: Russia-Armenia feel common "geopolitical chemistry,"

Russian President Vladimir Putin's upcoming visit to Armenia pursues objectives much wider than those within the bilateral framework, with other countries and blocks invisibly "participating" in the talks, a local expert has said Putin is due to visit Armenian cities of Gyumri and Yerevan on Monday and Tuesday. Close relations between Moscow and Yerevan are of great importance to both sides due to Armenia's geopolitical location, Arkady Dubnov, an expert in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) affairs said.

"Armenia is the only CIS country where Russia maintains its military base since Soviet times, and Yerevan insists that the base remain there for ever," said Dubnov, pointing out the vital importance of Russian military presence for the security of the South Caucasian country.

For Russia, the 102nd military base with 5,000 personnel in service has been the only one which serves as an outpost against NATO's member Turkey and other potential threats from southern direction, he said. For Armenia, an alliance with Russia is the only guarantee of its security in a hostile surrounding involving Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a bitter dispute over the mountainous Nagorno-Karabagh region, which Armenian-backed forces seized in 1991. The two sides have been holding peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group since 1994. The expert noted that Putin and his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan could sign a formal agreement on Armenia's accession to the Russia-led Customs Union (CU) and, later, to the Eurasian Union expected to be set up in 2015.

"For Yerevan, participation in the CU is more than just an economic issue. This is one more step to counterbalance Azeri-Turkish unfriendly power," Dubnov said, reminding that while Armenia participates in the Collective Security Treaty Organization along with Russia and four other CIS countries, Azerbaijan does not.

Armenia's way to the tripartite economic block could be shorter compared to the other aspirants such as Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Dubnov said, pointing out that Sargsyan expressed Yerevan's desire to integrate into the CU as recently as in September.

The fact that Putin agreed to turn a blind eye to the lack of common border between Russia and Armenia -- which Moscow once cited as a reason to reject Tajikistan's application -- highlights that the two countries actually feel some common "geopolitical chemistry," the expert said.

Dubnov believes it was not a coincidence that Moscow and Yerevan announced their plans in September, when Ukraine's preparations for rapprochement with the European Union were in full swing. After Kiev made a U-turn, Moscow received one more stimulus to integrate Armenia in Russia-dominated geopolitical entity, Dubnov said.

"Putin wants to utilize the momentum for confirming Russia as the 'natural' center of gravitation on the Eurasian space, to demonstrate that the former Soviet republics have no alternative but to gather under Moscow's umbrella," the expert noted.

If Armenia will be fast-tracked into the Eurasian economic space, this will be a clear hint to Kiev to follow Yerevan's example, he said. With the Armenians mostly support closer ties with Russia and see it as a brotherly nation, Putin's visit to that country is bound to succeed, Dubnov said.


Potential member states demonstrate high level of public support for joining the Customs Union

A total of 72% of the population of Kyrgyzstan, 75% of Tajikistan and 67% of Armenia advocate this decision. In Ukraine the level of support reaches 50% and in Moldova 54%. These are the results of EDB’s annual research The Integration Barometer.

St. Petersburg, 24 September 2013. In Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia public support for the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space (SES) remains high at 65%, 73% and 67% respectively, as shown by the second survey of public preferences in the CIS with respect to various issues of Eurasian integration undertaken by Eurasian Development Bank’s (EDB) Centre for Integration Studies and the Eurasian Monitor international research agency. More than 14,000 people in eleven CIS countries and Georgia were polled — between 1,000 and 2,000 in each of the countries.

As compared to 2012, the survey has shown that public support for the Customs Union and the SES reduced by 7% in Kazakhstan and 5% in Russia. This happened, largely, because of the increase in the number of respondents who stated they were indifferent to the participation of their countries in the Customs Union and the SES. In Belarus the level of support for its membership of the Customs Union and the SES grew from 60% to 65%.

Among non-members, the highest level of public support for possible joining these two structures was expressed in Uzbekistan (77%), Tajikistan (75%), Kyrgyzstan (72%) and Armenia (67%). An interesting fact is that Georgian citizens also express significant support for the country’s joining the Customs Union and the SES: the share of positive answers has doubled over a year to 59%. This suggests that cooperation between Georgia and the Customs Union countries should be stepped up.

In Ukraine and Moldova 50% and 54% of the public respectively support the Customs Union. However, compared to 2012, the share of negative attitudes to the Customs Union has grown from 7% to 24% in Moldova and from 5% to 28% in Ukraine.

Azerbaijan has demonstrated the lowest level of support for joining the Customs Union and the SES (37%). At the same time the country’s population has shown the record high level of negative attitudes to both unions (53%).

However, along with predominantly high assessment of the Customs Union, The Integration Barometer has also fixed troubling signs in the area of investment attractiveness, research cooperation and education.

In particular, the most attractive source of foreign capital is the countries “of the rest of the world” (beyond the European Union and the CIS region). The highest contributions to this result were made by Tajikistan (66%, although this figure decreased by 9% year-on-year, and the priority for it is China), Georgia (60%, the U.S.), Uzbekistan (62%, Japan) and Azerbaijan (56%, Turkey). The EU capital attracts predominantly the citizens of Moldova (58%, up 7% year-on-year), Ukraine (55%, up 15%) and Russia (43%).

Investments from the former Soviet countries are mainly preferred by respondents from the Central Asian region: Kyrgyzstan (71%), Tajikistan (63%) and Uzbekistan (60%). The interest in CIS investments is growing in Georgia (+13% compared to 2012) and Uzbekistan (+11%). In terms of attractiveness, Russia remains the leading CIS country. In Tajikistan the economic attraction of the CIS countries has weakened.

Among key partners in the area of research, the leading countries are again those beyond the CIS and EU (primarily Japan and the U.S.). These received the highest ratings in Tajikistan (70%), Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan (67% in each), Azerbaijan (62%) and Georgia and Russia (61% in each), followed closely by Kazakhstan (59%), Ukraine (57%) and Belarus (56%). The EU cluster is preferred by the citizens of Moldova (55%), Ukraine (53%, up 9% year-on-year) and Georgia. The former Soviet Union group was the most popular in Kyrgyzstan only (63%).

The CIS region is characterised by low competitiveness in the area of education. The most attractive countries in terms of education are the EU member states (preferred by 58% of respondents in Georgia, 47% in Armenia, 45% in Ukraine and 34% in Russia) and these figures are growing.

A separate issue is the demand for goods supplied from neighbouring countries. The Belarusian products are obviously popular. In terms of competitiveness, Ukraine’s citizens have ranked Belarusian goods (20%) second after Russian supplies and in Russia Belarusian goods are the most preferred supplies (20% of responses as well).

If to combine three factors — economy, politics and culture — the priority vector for a relative majority of the respondent countries is the post-Soviet space and the key factor for this choice is political. Respondents from seven countries (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) expressed their orientation to the post-Soviet space in 2013.

In terms of integration preferences, respondents from Russia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine predominantly favour the European Union (the U.S. in Georgia and Russia in Moldova are comparable preferences). In Azerbaijan third countries, primarily Turkey, are mostly preferred. The autonomy indicator (“no attraction for any country”) is at the same time high in Russia and Ukraine and, with respect to certain questions, in Armenia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The Integration Barometer has proven Azerbaijan’s predominant orientation to Turkey. In Georgia a noticeable positive dynamics of preferences for the CIS region in many areas and in particular with respect to the Customs Union and the SES was recorded.

Moldova, Ukraine and, in part, Uzbekistan demonstrate multi-vectored integration preferences among their citizens. At the same time, the population of Russia, which remains a centre of attraction for many former Soviet countries, does not show an apparent inclination for integration, preferring autonomy instead.

Eurasian Development Bank is an international financial institution founded by Russia and Kazakhstan in January 2006 with the mission to facilitate the development of market economies, sustainable economic growth and the expansion of mutual trade and other economic ties in its member states. EDB’s charter capital exceeds US $1.5 billion. The member states of the Bank are the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, and the Republic of Tajikistan. Read more at

The Centre for Integration Studies is a specialist research centre of Eurasian Development Bank. The Centre organises research and prepares reports and recommendations on regional economic integration.

Armenian-Russian business forum may boost investments

An Armenian-Russian business forum to be held in Yerevan and to be attended by Russia’s Putin may give an impetus to new investments and a chance for Armenian and Russian regional businesses to get to know each other, Armenia’s premier Tigran Sargsyan said during his visit to Shirak region of Armenia.

Hence, it is en exclusive chance for Armenian businesses to present their investment appeal to Russian partners, the premier said as quoted by Armenpress. Sargsyan refuted allegations that Armenia will hand certain facilities in Giumry over to Russia, reports. The premier also refuted the rumors Giumry may be turned into a closed city.

“Giumry is the most open city in the world and will remain such, and there are no programs to turn it into a closed one”, Sargsyan said.

The premier expressed satisfaction Russia’s Putin will visit not only the capital, but also Giumry and said the government gets prepared thoroughly for all high-ranking officials’ visit to Armenia so that bilateral relations are consolidated and deepened.

During his visit mto Shirak Sargsyan has been to Pemzashen village community and attended the opening of the repaired kindergarten building there. The premier visited also Giumry Technopark and the Institute of Seismology, Geophysics and Engineering after A. Nazaryan to be completely reconstructed in 2014 as part of Giumry rehabilitation program.


Colonel Andrey Ruzinsky: Russian Troops in Gyumri will Retaliate If Azerbaijan Attacks Artsakh

Russian troops stationed in Armenia could openly side with it in case of a renewed Armenian-Azerbaijani war for Nagorno-Karabakh, according to their top commander, Colonel Andrey Ruzinsky.

“If Azerbaijan decides to restore jurisdiction over Nagorno-Karabakh by force the [Russian] military base may join in the armed conflict in accordance with the Russian Federation’s obligations within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO),” Ruzinksy told the Russian Defense Ministry’s “Krasnaya Zvezda” newspaper in a recent interview.

Ruzinksy answered a question about the mission of the Russian base headquartered in Armenia’s second largest city of Gyumri. That mission was upgraded by a Russian-Armenian defense agreement signed in 2010. The agreement extended Russia’s basing rights in Armenia until 2044. It also committed Moscow to supplying its South Caucasus ally with more weapons and military hardware.

The Russian base, which numbers between 4,000 and 5,000 soldiers, has since been bolstered with modern weaponry, reportedly including Iskander-M tactical ballistic missiles. The Russian military also plans to deploy combat helicopters there soon. The Russian air force unit in Armenia currently has 16 MiG-29 fighter jets.

Armenian officials and pro-government politicians have claimed before that the 2010 defense pact mandates direct Russian military involvement in the Karabakh conflict if Azerbaijan acts on its threats to reconquer the disputed territory. Russian officials have not explicitly confirmed this in their public statements made until now.

The Russian troops in Armenia hold joint exercises and trainings with Armenian army units on a regular basis. Around a thousand soldiers from the two armies, backed up tanks, helicopters and artillery systems, practiced a joint military operation as recently as in August. According to Ruzinsky, more such war games are planned for next year. “I believe that we need to further develop our field cooperation, if I may put it way,” he said.

The Russian base commander also revealed to “Krasnaya Zvezda” that a group of his senior officers and their Armenian colleagues recently jointly toured “areas of combat engagement.” “We plan to increase such activities next year,” he said without elaborating.


Russia to Deploy Combat Helicopters at Armenian Base

Russia will strengthen its air contingent at the Erebuni air base in Armenia with a helicopter squadron in the next few months, the base commander said Friday. Russia’s 3624th Air Base at the Erebuni airport in Yerevan currently hosts at least 16 MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jets operating under the framework of air defense agreements concluded between the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

“A decision has been made to form a helicopter squadron in addition to the fighter squadron at the Erebuni base by the end of this year or in the beginning of the next year,” Col. Alexander Petrov said.

Petrov did not specify the type of helicopters to be deployed at the base. Petrov said Moscow and Yerevan have agreed that Russian pilots will be able to practice bombing runs and missile launches with live ammunition at the nearby Marshal Bagramyan training grounds belonging to the Armenian Defense Ministry. The Erebuni air base is part of Russia’s 102nd military base located in Gyumri, near Armenia’s border with Turkey.

The 102nd base has been deployed in Gyumri since 1995 under a bilateral treaty that was extended in 2010 from 25 to 49 years, ensuring a Russian military presence in Armenia through 2044. Artur Bagdasaryan, head of Armenia’s National Security Council said in June that Russian military bases in Armenia will be modernized and upgraded over the next few years.

Russian Commander: Russian Base’s Main Task is Defense of Armenian Air Space

The Russian air base of Armenia will soon be equipped with new helicopters. The Commander of the Russian Aviation in Armenia Alexander Petrov told about it to the journalists after the solemn ceremony devoted to the 15th anniversary of the formation of the Russian air base in Armenia. “The Russian air base in Armenia will soon be modernized and expanded. We have already an agreement and works are being carried out”, - said Alexander Petrov. Armenpress reports that concerning the activity of the base, the Commander of the Russian Aviation in Armenia stated that the main task of the air base is to protect the air space of the Republic of Armenia, which has been done and will be done with honor. “During the fifteen years of our activities we have had both difficulties and good days. During this period of time we have accomplished all the tasks successfully and will continue working with the same readiness”, - said Alexander Petrov. On October 18 the 15th anniversary of the formation of the Russian air base in Armenia was celebrated in Erebuni Airport. 


Russia Plans Air Defense Boost with Armenia

Russia is planning to strengthen its integrated regional air defense network with Belarus and set up similar joint networks with Armenia and Kazakhstan, President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday. “Such cooperation greatly enhances the defense potential of Russia and its partners, and contributes to strengthening peace and stability in Eurasia,” Putin said at a meeting with senior commanding officers in Moscow.

Moscow and Minsk signed an agreement on the joint protection of the Russia-Belarus Union State’s airspace and the creation of an integrated regional air defense network in February 2009. The network reportedly comprises five Air Force units, 10 air defense units, five technical service and support units, and one electronic warfare unit. It is part of the integrated air defense network of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in April that a number of Su-27SM3 fighter jets will be put on alert duty at the Lida airbase in Belarus. Russia will also deliver four battalions of S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Belarus next year in addition to Tor-M2 air defense batteries earlier deployed in the country. Russia announced plans to set up regional air defense networks with members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a regional security bloc that also includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Apart from Belarus, Moscow signed an agreement to establish a regional air defense network with Kazakhstan last year. A similar deal with Armenia has been in the works for some time, and Moscow will help Yerevan to expand and modernize its relatively small air force, according to CSTO officials.


 Russia Widens Military Presence In Armenia

The Armenian government gave on Thursday the formal green light to the deployment of about two dozen Russian combat helicopters that will significantly boost Russia’s military presence in Armenia. The government allocated two plots of land to the Russian military base in the country which will be used by its helicopter squadron.

One of them is located inside the Yerevan’s Erebuni military airport that currently hosts both Armenian and Russian warplanes. The government said the Russians will build there a fuel depot for the choppers. The other property is located nearby. A government statement referred to it as a “cantonment” where the helicopter gunships and their Russian pilots will be based.

Plans for their deployment were first made public last month by Colonel Aleksandr Petrov, the commander of the aviation unit of the Russian base. Petrov said the Russian military also plans to modernize its 16 MiG-29 fighter jets stationed in Armenia.

An explanatory note released by the Armenian government revealed that Russian and Armenian defense officials agreed on the helicopter deployment at a meeting in Yerevan last April. “The Russian side offered to strengthen the Russian military base No 102 and to that end 18 helicopters are due to be provided to the Republic of Armenia in November,” it said.

The Defense Ministry refused to clarify whether this wording means that some of the helicopters will be given to the Armenian armed forces. The ministry spokesman, Artsrun Hovannisian, said only that the deployment is part of growing Russian-Armenian military cooperation. “The Russian side has repeatedly spoken about the enlargement of its military base,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (

Hovannisian also stressed, “The Erebuni airport will in no case be fully handed over [to the Russians] because the airport also hosts an Armenian air force unit.”

Russian and Armenian officials announced in June that that Russia will help Armenia expand its relatively small air force within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). But they did not elaborate. Earlier this year, Moscow reportedly bolstered the base headquartered in Armenia’s second city of Gyumri with Iskander-M ballistic missiles capable of striking targets up to 400 kilometers away.


Russia to Expand Military Cooperation With Armenia

Russia plans to expand its military presence in Armenia, Haykakan Zhamanak daily said. According to the paper, a staff addition is scheduled at the Gyumri military base No. 102. Russian military officials with their families - up to 3000 persons – are expected to arrive for service at the military base. The Armenian city is getting ready for guests, with several Armenian families to be relocated to new homes.

At the same time, Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan neither confirmed nor denied the report. Yerevan and Moscow are planning to ratify an important agreement, envisaging direct purchases from Russian military plants, in the near future, Hraparak daily said earlier citing sources at parliament.

According to the daily, the deal will provide Armenia with exclusive rights. “There’s a similar agreement with Belarus, yet it contains some reservations, which the deal with Armenia does not,” the daily said.

In June 2013, during the visit of the Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev to Armenia, a military and technical cooperation agreement was signed with Russia. The agreement stipulates for each side to supply military products with the same specifications as for one’s own armed forces. The agreement also enables the supplier to exert control over the presence of products and their compliance with the intended use to be described in an additional treaty.

According to another deal, Armenia and Russia will form a joint defense enterprise as well as the border guards and emergency situation experts training centers. With Russia’s assistance, Armenia’s defense industry will launch production of ammunition, armory, as well as form a repair base for land, air and air defense forces. 


CSTO Delegates Visit Armenia - Azerbaijan Border

Members of the CSTO PA standing committee on defense on Thursday visited Armenia-Azerbaijan border.  The parliamentarians visited the Nakhchivan direction and inspected the situation at the site. The tour started from visiting platoon locality. The delegates were provided information about the adversary, the equipment and numerical strength, possible direction of the attack and data on equipment of the locality and combat tasks.

The parliamentarians asked questions about the correlation of forces, provocations by the enemy, presence of hazing, logistical issues and social conditions. Then, members of parliament, including female representatives, visited the observation point taking the necessary precautions: wearing helmets and bulletproof vests. Chairman of the committee Anatoly Vyborny shared his impressions with reporters, noting that as a military man he saw the combat readiness of the unit.

“For me it was important to look into the eyes of soldiers, to see the behavior of the officers. I am pleasantly surprised that the soldiers and officers adequately carry the burden of military service,” Vyborny said. He noted that it is obvious there is no hazing in the unit, as “those who really want to serve their motherland are coming here.” 


Russian Expert: Nagorno Karabakh’s ties with Russia should be as strong as with Armenia

Nagorno–Karabakh’s ties with Russia should be as strong as with Armenia, Mikhail Alexandrov, head of the Caucasus Department of the CIS Institute in Moscow, told ARKA. Alexandrov is one of many historians, researchers and political analysts from Russia and the Caucasus  taking part in an international conference in Moscow dedicated to the 200th anniversary of Gulistan Treaty The Gulistan Treaty concluded between imperial Russia and Persia in  1813 as a result of the first Russia-Persian confirmed inclusion of modern day Azerbaijan, Dagestan and Eastern Georgia into the Russian Empire.

"Nagorno-Karabakh was the first Armenian state to have joined Russia. This is recorded in the Gulistan Treaty, and to some extent Russia is more responsible for Nagorno-Karabakh than the modern-day Armenia,” Alexandrov said. According to him, this aspect of the Gulistan Treaty was voiced at the conference, but in modern politics it is not present.

"This is a very important aspect. The treaty defined the role of Russia as the main foreign power in the region. This is prescribed by the treaty. This should now be realized by all,” he said.
He added that the treaty laid the basic parameters for the existence of the Caucasus in the last 200 years, and not only of the Caucasus, but also parts of Russia's North Caucasus. He said this is why this treaty is of fundamental importance for the situation that now exists in the Caucasus and the Caspian region.

He said according to some reports at the conference, the status of the Caspian Sea is also largely determined by the parameters that were laid in the Gulistan Treaty. "So, it is quite right to mark the 200th anniversary of this important event," he said.

The purpose of the conference, he said, is to emphasize the historical significance of the Gulistan Treaty, and also to consider its relevance to the current situation in the Caucasus.
He said the historians and researchers are from Russia, Armenia and Russia’s republic of Dagestan. A representative of the Talysh people is expected to also make a report.

‘Unfortunately, we do not have scientists from Azerbaijan, but Azerbaijani reporter has arrived in Moscow to cover this event. In my opinion, they are even more than Armenian reporters,’ he said.

A debate today at the conference was to  discuss the impact of the Gulistan Treaty on the political development of the Caucasus, including the Caspian problems, inter-ethnic relations, and the relationship of the Caucasian states and the influence of the great powers. The results of the discussions will be summarized in a newsletter that will be posted at 


Karabakh Has Place in Customs Union, Says Russian Official

The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic may be eligible to join the Russian-led Customs Union only after settlement of the Karabakh conflict and determination of its status, Viktor Khristenko, head of the Eurasian Economic Commission, said Thursday during a meeting with the Yerevan State University’s professors and students. Along with that, Khristenko stressed that the conflict can’t bar Armenia from joining the Customs Union, and added that membership would even improve things over Nagorno Karabakh.

Khristenko also turned to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s recent remark.
The latter said at his meeting with representatives of CIS countries that Azerbaijani authorities’ opinion should be taken into account before accepting Armenia into the Customs Union, since there are many unsolved problems between the two countries. Khristenko said that Lukashenko has no right to comment on a statement of a sovereign country’s president and added that only the consent of members of the Customs Union is needed to accept a candidate.

In early September, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, made a joint statement announcing that Armenia has decided to join the Customs Union and to take part in the future formation of the Eurasian Union.


First CSTO Academy to be Opened in Armenia

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Academy, which is due to be opened in Armenia, will be first in the structure and the CIS countries. The Director of the CSTO Institute Nver Torosyan stated this at the course of the press conference held on November 29. As reports “Armenpress” among other things the Director of the CSTO Institute Nver Torosyan underscored: “I cannot tell you the exact date of opening of the academy at the present moment, as other people are engaged in those issues. Notwithstanding, I can tell you that it’s really necessary, as the students are very interested in the activity of the CSTO.”


Hayk Kotanjian: The strategic ally and number one security partner for Armenia is Russia

“Since Armenia gained independence in 1991, the cornerstone of its foreign policy has been the complementarity and the desire to build partnerships both with the neighboring states and with power centers involved in the security dynamics formation of the South Caucasus,” head of the Institute for National Strategic Studies, Adviser to RA Minister of Defense Hayk Kotanjian said at the session of the Integration Club under the chairmanship of the Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Valentina Matvienko at MGIMO University

“This choice reflects the geopolitical imperatives of the efficiency of the independent Armenian state as a guarantor of the sustainable development and security of the ten-million Armenians of the Republic of Armenia, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, and the Diaspora. Meanwhile, we should note that the complementarity in the foreign policy of Armenia does not mean equal and similar relations with all partners. The strategic ally and number one security partner for Armenia is Russia. Armenia successfully complements the bilateral security strategic alliance with Russia with the strategic partnership with her and other states within the framework of the CSTO. The key to the deep and creatively updated dialogue between Armenia and Russia is the multi-vector search for optimal integration solutions by Moscow itself that is based on the innovative interpretation of Peter the Great’s strategic guidelines for the development of both the Asian and European dimensions of the Russian statehood’s modernization,” he said.

According to Mr. Kotanjian, Armenia also keeps productive contacts with the Euro-Atlantic power centers such as the United States, NATO and the EU.

“We can expect, that the forthcoming visit of the Head of the Russian State to Armenia will help to clarify the strategic horizons of the allied cooperation between our two friendly states in the context of the security dialogue between the West and the East – so essential for guaranteeing international security and sustainable development of the people in our volatile region, as well as in Eurasia and the World at large,” he said.

Armenia to Get $100M From Regional Fund for North-South Highway

Armenia will get $100 million from a Eurasian Economic Community anti-crisis fund, a Eurasian Development Bank official said Wednesday. The 556-km corridor, designed to improve transport links between Europe, the Caucasus and Asia, in particular between Eastern Europe and western Asia, is to be completed by 2017. In January 2010, the Armenian government approved an investment program for the North-South transport corridor, and a framework finance agreement between Armenia and the Asian Development Bank worth a total of $500 million.  Wednesday’s decision came after discussions between the Eurasian Development Bank’s Deputy President Sergei Shatalov and Armenia’s Transport and Communications Minister Gagik Belaryan, the ministry’s press service told RIA Novosti.

Russia to lift 30% customs duty for gas supplies to Armenia

Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Armen Movsisyan dispelled the public’s doubts over the deal on Russian gas price hike for Armenia. The stir rose following Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan’s statement that no price increase agreement actually exists.Earlier, the Armenian National Congress (ANC) opposition party’s parliamentary group secretary Aram Manukyan expressed discontent over inability to procure the text of the gas agreement. As Movsisyan noted, commenting on the above, Manukyan was given the copy of the agreement, as instructed by Prime Minister, ARKA reported. 

Also, Russia is ready to lift a 30 percent customs duty on export of natural gas to Armenia, Movsisyan said. Currently Armenia pays $270 for one thousand cubic meters of Russian gas supplied to the country across Georgia. Of that amount $189 dollars is the price of gas, and the rest is the 30% customs duty. 

"We have done quite a lot of work with the Russian side. After the September 3 announcement on Armenia’s joining the Russia-led Customs Union, the gas delivery contract between the two governments will be revised and simplified. This means the Russian side will not apply customs duty on gas exports to Armenia. We hope that a revised contract will be signed before the end of this year," Movsisyan said. 

According to the minister, the price of gas for Armenia will be the same as in Russia plus transportation costs. However, Movsisyan said this will not affect the price for local consumers. “Our calculations show that revised contract will not entail a price rise or price drop,” he added.

Russia Offers to Subsidize Nuclear Plant

Russia is ready to finance 35 percent of the cost of construction of a new power unit for Armenia’s nuclear power plant, Vahram Petrosyan, the secretary of a presidential council on nuclear power safety, said today.

Armenian authorities said they will build a new nuclear power plant to replace the aging Metsamor plant. The new plant is supposed to operate at twice the capacity of the Soviet-constructed facility. Metsamor currently generates some 40 percent of Armenia’s electricity. But the government has yet to attract funding for the project that was estimated by a U.S.-funded feasibility study to cost at as much as $5 billion.

“We are looking for new investors. As for Russia, they are willing to participate in the project by funding 35 percent of its cost. The money will be used to purchase the necessary equipment,” Petrosyan said at a news conference after a meeting of the council.

The plant is located some 30 kilometers west of Yerevan. It was built in the 1970s but was closed following a devastating earthquake in 1988. One of its two VVER 440-V230 light-water reactors was reactivated in 1995. On September 3, Russian president Putin said experts from Russian state nuclear company Rosatom and Armenian experts will work to extend the service life of the Armenian nuclear power plant in Metsamor for another 10 years until 2026.

Petrosyan said the extension of the service life of the facility requires at least $150 million. On Wednesday, President Serzh Sarkisian met with the chairman of the presidential Nuclear Energy Safety Council (NESC), Adolf Birkhofer, who has arrived in Armenia to participate in the regular session of the NESC.

The President of Armenia and Chairman of NESC spoke about planned works aimed at the enhancement of the security level of the Metsamor nuclear power plant and its current state. In that regard, the parties stated that the Metsamor plant has the necessary projected level of seismic stability. Serzh Sarkisian and Adolf Birkhofer also spoke about issues related to the future operation of the plant, the construction of a new energy unit, and cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), including the results of the OSART mission.

After the meeting, President Serzh Sarkisian and Chairman Adolf Birkhofer participated in the session of the NESC. The President began by underscoring that it would be difficult to overestimate the importance of cooperation in the council, considering the special role that nuclear energy plays in ensuring energy security for Armenia. President Sarkisian thanked the IAEA, the governments of the Russian Federation, US, Czech Republic, Great Britain, and Italy, and the European Commission for their assistance.

“The Republic of Armenia has been constantly improving its domestic legislation and has been fulfilling, in good faith, her international obligations,” the President said.

The governments of the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation will soon sign an agreement on cooperation in the area of nuclear safety, the President said. The agreement will allow Armenia to:

– develop infrastructure for nuclear safety in preparation for the construction of new energy units based on Russian designs.

– train, re-train and upgrade specialists of nuclear safety, taking into consideration IAEA recommendations.

– expand the framework of cooperation in nuclear energy.

In October 2012, the Governments of the Republic of Armenia and the United States signed a memorandum of understanding pertinent to the energy (including nuclear energy) sector. The document allows the two countries to cooperate more closely in the area of peaceful use of nuclear energy.

President Sarkisian mentioned that a great amount of work has been done with the assistance of the IAEA and international experts towards improving the seismic stability of the Metsamor plant. In 2012, during routine, preventive renovations, supporting structures were installed to enhance the seismic stability of the main structures and components of the plant, which are pivotal from a safety point of view.

In 2013, the IAEA OSART sent a mission to Armenia that registered sufficient progress but also raised concerns related, particularly, to the management of radioactive waste. The President said experts have already started to develop a strategy on safe management of radioactive waste with the technical assistance of the European Union.

“Armenia reiterates her intention to develop nuclear energy which has a special place in the country’s energy development program. Only nuclear power can allow us to maintain the proper level of the country’s energy security and independence,” President Sargsyan stressed in his remarks.


Armenia and Russia to sign agreement on cooperation in nuclear security sphere

An agreement on cooperation in the sphere of nuclear security will be signed between Armenia and the Russian Federation. The suggestion to sign this agreement was made by the Russian Federation. As "Armenpress" reports citing the official webpage of the Government of the Republic of Armenia, the question on that issue is included in the agenda of the session of the Government of the Republic of Armenia, which is scheduled to be held on November 21. Signing the agreement will give an opportunity to cooperate in the spheres of safe exploitation of nuclear power blocks, development of the infrastructure of nuclear security within the framework of the project of building a new nuclear power plant in the Republic of Armenia according to a Russian project, creation and proper maintaining of efficient protection means from possible radiation risks in Armenia’s nuclear energy objects.

Head of union of Armenian banks welcomes possible arrival of new Russian banks to Armenia

Head of the Union of Armenian Banks, Samvel Chzmachyan, has welcomed a possible arrival of new Russian players to Armenia’s banking sector. Speaking to reporters he said to the best of his knowledge a couple of Russian banks were exploring chances of either buying stock of local banks or opening their branches here. In his words, the arrival of new Russian banks to the Armenian market would bring additional resources and boost also competition.

‘Unequivocally this will benefit Armenia’s interests because a sound competition usually results in lower interest rates,’ he said.

In comments on the possible impact of Armenia’s anticipated membership in the Customs Union on the banking system of Armenia he said it will be very small. He said also Armenia’s accession to the Russia-led Customs Union is vitally important and is a correct move. According to Armenia’s Central Bank, in 2012 Russian banks accounted for 15.3 percent of charter capitals of Armenia-based banks. EU member countries accounted for 31.6 percent. According to official data, non-residents account for over 73 percent of charter capital of Armenia-based banks.

Tourism industry executives from Armenia and Russia’s St. Petersburg meet in Yerevan for round-table discussion

Tourism industry executives from Armenia and Russia’s St. Petersburg met today in Yerevan for a round-table discussion on how to boost mutual tourist visits “This is a step that may make bilateral relations in tourism area closer and that gives an opportunity for establishing new ties and exchanging experience,” Maria Baghramyan, head of Yerevan municipality’s division in change of tourism, told ARKA News Agency.  “We are planning to organize fun trips and press tours in the future to make Yerevan more attractive for Petersburgers,” she said. Some 30 representatives of Armenian travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, education establishments training specialists in tourism and editors of tourist magazines were present at the meeting. At the round-table discussion, St. Petersburg was presented as a tourist product that will be interesting to Armenian tour operators.


Armenia Wins ‘Discovery of the Year’ Award from National Geographic Russia

The results of an online vote for the best travel destination, organized by the Russian edition of National Geographic Traveler magazine, have been finalized. Armenia was recognized as the winner of the “Discovery of the Year” award, the Armenian National Competitiveness Foundation (NCFA) reports. The award is important in terms of increasing awareness of Armenia’s historical, cultural, and religious heritage in the Russian market as well as for boosting inbound tourism flows. Earlier this year, an editorial delegation from National Geographic Russia magazine visited Armenia for a press trip at the invitation of the NCFA. The trip resulted in a series of articles dedicated to Armenia published in National Geographic Russia and National Geographic Traveler magazines as well as a photo gallery at the website.

Ambassador Kovalenko: Armenia’s GDP to Grow After Joining Customs Union

Russia perceived the Armenia’s decision to join the Customs Union positively. The former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Armenia, the Regional Program Director of the Caspian Cooperation Institute Vyacheslav Kovalenko stated about it at the Yerevan-Moscow telebridge “Armenia-Customs Union: Public Measurement of Eurasian integration”.

He stated that after joining the Customs Union Armenia will get $170 million annually, as a number of customs duties will be liquidated and the GDP will register an annual growth of 4,4%. “Europe would not be able to offer Armenia the working market conditions suggested by Russia. Armenia will get from the Customs Union what it needs. That is the Union’s logic”, - said Vyacheslav Kovalenko, Armenpress reports. In the result of the negotiations on September 3, 2013 in Moscow the Presidents Serzh Sargsyan and Vladimir Putin confirmed the aim of the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation in the direction of further development of economic integration processes in the Eurasian territory.

In that context the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan announced about the Armenia’s decision to join the Customs Union and the necessity of implementation corresponding steps for that aim and in future about participating in formation of the Eurasian economic union. The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin expressed his support to the abovementioned decision of Armenia and informed about the readiness of the Russian side to support the process. Serzh Sargsyan noted that this decision is not refusal from dialogue with European organizations.

On November 6 the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Tigran Sargsyan and the Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission's (EEC) Board Viktor Khristenko signed a memorandum on strengthening cooperation in Yerevan. The memorandum provides the unification of all the Armenian structures with the Customs Union bodies ranging from the Supreme Eurasian Council to the Eurasian Economic Commission.

Ambassador Kovalenko: Armenia's Membership in Customs Union Will Increase its Prosperity

Armenia's readiness to join the Customs Union meets its national interests, and will open up prospects for its development, will increase its prosperity and strengthen its position and prestige in the region and around the world, former Russian ambassador to Armenia Vyacheslav Kovalenko said today during a Moscow-Yerevan video conference.

"It is elementary, and it is unclear on what  Armenia’s aspiration to sign association agreement  with the EU was based, which would block, in my opinion, the only possible option for Yerevan to consolidate its allied relations with Russia through the Eurasian process ,"  said Kovalenko.

The diplomat said he never doubted that Armenia would  eventually choose the Eurasian integration, noting that the allied relations between Armenia and Russia are based not only on military-technical , trade and economic, but also on humanitarian cooperation.

"Humanitarian cooperation implies development of close human relationships: it is the Russian language, mutual enrichment between the two cultures, it is the planned opening of the branch of Moscow State University in Armenia,” said Kovalenko.

According to him, the creation of the Armenian branch of the University will allow young people from the southern regions of Russia to pursue higher education  not in Moscow but in Armenia and in the future to stay at homeland and serve it. He also stressed the importance of around 100 centers of Russian language in Armenia.

Director of the Caucasus Institute, Alexander Iskandaryan, said Armenia and Russia are interconnected by many threads, and neither side wants to cut them. "Russia is important for Armenia in terms of its security. Armenia in turn has strategic significance for Russia which wants to be present in the South Caucasus as a significant force,’ Iskandaryan said.

Director of the Armenian branch of the CIS Institute, Alexander Makarov, added that the military- political cooperation has always been a priority in relations between the two countries. "If we talk about economic cooperation, Russian investors are the main investors in Armenia, the Russian capital is present in almost all areas of the economy", he said.


“Armenia in Eurasia” Social Alliance is Formed
The “Armenian Socialist Movement” social initiative and the “Eurasian Integration” NGO announced about the formation of the “Armenia in Eurasia” social alliance.  Their respective statement notes that they see the imperative of the development of Armenia’s economic, military, political, societal, spiritual and cultural life in the country’s accession to the Customs and the Eurasian Unions. “The alliance will come up with a series of initiatives to assist in the process of Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian family. “The ‘Armenia in Eurasia’ social alliance is open to the cooperation-supporting social and political organizations, and individuals,” the newly-formed alliance’s statement reads.


Russian expert: Moscow can not ignore Armenian interests

Russia is interested in keeping some balance in South Caucasus and for that reason it should develop relations both with Armenia and Azerbaijan. “Armenpress” reports making a reference on “RIA Novosti” that such opinion expressed Russian political expert Andrei Kazantsev. “By implementing such policy Russia will have opportunity to control the situation in its Southern borders,” he said. But experts think that it will not be easy for Russia to do so. “Armenia is the official ally of Russia, they are both members of Collective Security Treaty Organization,” said expert on international policy Andrei Suzdaltsev. In the opinion of experts the situation on Nagorno-Karabakh can have much more unpleasant continuation. Andrei Kazantsev mentioned that it is not accidental that Azerbaijan buys lots of weapons not only from Russia but also from the whole world. “In such situation it is very important that intermediary countries including Russia implement steps to weaken tension in the region,” he said.
Change of the foreign policy vector has raised Armenia’s rating, analysts say

Armenia’s decision to change its political vector from the West to Russia has raised Armenia’s rating from the military, political and economic viewpoints, Director of the Noravank Center Gagik Harutyunyan told a press conference today. He believes that even if Armenia signs no document in Vilnius, it will not harm the Armenia-EU relations. “Even experts declare that Armenia has made a correct choice form the point of view of security. Armenia should try to synthesize the European and Eurasian experience. Europeans are doing the same by seeking avenues for cooperation with the Eurasian Union,” he said. Political scientist Alexander Markarov has no great expectations from the Vilnius summit. He’s hopeful, however, that the Vilnius meeting will determine the foreign policy path. According to him, it’s more than clear that the Association Agreement is not going to be signed.

Rector Armen Darbinyan: Armenia choosing Russia as part of European civilization

Armenia is not to choose between the Eurasian and European integration, rector of the Russian-Armenia (Slavonic) University Armen Darbinyan said at a round-table discussion on the Eurasian integration choice of Armenia. Armenia is choosing Russia as part of the European civilization, Darbinyan said.

The rector said Russia recorded a breakthrough in development over the last years having turned into an attractive partner to Armenia. “We have been and will always be with progressive Russia”, Darbinyan said adding progress, cultural and Christian values are the basis of the cooperation. According to Darbinyan, there is potential for close and effective cooperation between Armenia and Russia in the framework of the Eurasian project.

Russian ambassador to Georgia and Armenia (2009-2013), director of Caspian cooperation institute regional programs Vyacheslav Kovalenko said Armenia may play a great role in harmonization of the Eurasian and European integration modules. Kovalenko also said Armenia will immediately benefit over 100 million dollars from its accession to the Customs Union due to lifted customs limitations. New jobs will be opened and security guarantees will be provided.

The round-table discussion on Armenia’s Eurasian choice was held on November 8 in the Slavonic University of Armenia by North-South political center, history department of the Moscow State University and politics and law department of the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University.


Europe in shock as Ukraine kills integration plan, says 'mission is over'

The EU is utterly disappointed by Ukraine’s decision to align itself closer to Russia and halt its preparations for signing a European trade and political agreement, effectively killing the country’s chances to eventually join the bloc.

“This is a disappointment not just for the EU but, we believe, for the people of Ukraine,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement, claiming that “the most ambitious” pact ever offered to a partner by the EU would have helped the country’s economy.

The decree signed by Prime Minister Mykola Azarov's government on Thursday orders the “halt of the process of preparing the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union.”

The decision was taken to “ensure the national security of Ukraine” and “restore lost trade volumes with the Russian Federation” after considering the effects on trade relations with Moscow, legislators said.

The announcement follows the Ukraine parliament's earlier refusal to pass a bill that would see jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko allowed to travel abroad for treatment  - a key EU deal condition for the summit that was scheduled in Vilnius, Lithuania, next week. The EU envoy at the negotiations, Polish politician Aleksander Kwasniewski confirmed that the deal would not go ahead saying the “mission is over… The accord will not be signed in Vilnius.”

Many European politicians as well as Ukraine’s own opposition have already slammed Kiev’s decision.  Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt critcized Ukraine's decision, saying the “Ukraine government suddenly bows deeply to the Kremlin” due to the Russian “politics of brutal pressure.”

A “deep disappointment at the unilateral decision” was also voiced in a statement by EU envoys Aleksander Kwasniewski and Pat Cox, who highlighted what they call a “dramatically increased pressure from Russia in recent weeks.”

British Foreign Secretary William Hague in the meantime called the decision a “missed opportunity.” Not all European countries however have adopted such a critical approach. It was Ukraine's “sovereign right to make a decision which path she wants to follow,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said.

Call to impeach

Arseniy Yatsenyuk Ukrainian opposition leader and a former Minister of Economy called for President Viktor Yanukovych to step down.

"If Yanukovych is refusing to sign the agreement, then it is not only state treason but also grounds for the impeachment of the president and the dismissal of the government," he said in parliament.

People have begun flocking to Kiev’s main Square and home of 2004 Orange revolution. More than 1500 protesters with banners gathered in the Maidan Square to voice their opposition to the government’s decision, local media reports. A number of MPs have also joined the protests, more are planned for this Sunday. Police have cordoned off the presidential administration building as more security vans arrive at the scene.
EU integration roadblock

After the cabinet's decision, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele canceled his Friday trip to Kiev. President Yanukovych, however said that despite “difficulties” his country would continue towards European integration. Russia welcomed Ukraine's decision to actively develop ties with Moscow, while President Putin said he wasn't completely against Ukraine's association with EU. But trilateral trade talks should take place before Ukraine signs an agreement with the EU.

“We favor this, but only before decisions are made,” Putin said.“How can we hold negotiations on issues that have already been agreed upon and endorsed?”
EU’s ‘ridiculous’ plan to help Ukraine

The European Union has actually done nothing to convince Ukrainian leaders that association with the EU would actually solve its economic crisis, Polish MEP Pawel Zalewski stated earlier this week. As compared to hundreds of billions of euros channeled into Greek, Spanish and Portuguese economies, he said, one billion offered to Ukraine was inadequate and "ridiculous."

"It's a ridiculous amount compared to the resources allocated to rescue Southern Europe from bankruptcy," Zalewski said as cited by PR Newswire.

In the meantime Russia has the “means and willingness” to offer Ukraine what the EU lacks, which is money, Eric Kraus, Managing Director of Anyatta Capital told RT, adding that Ukraine is a “vital part” of the European Russian speaking space.

“The European Union offers a lot of words,” Kraus said, implying that nothing tangible would have come out of the deal. “What they don’t offer is what Ukraine needs – and that’s money.”

“Ukraine is not vital to the EU,” Kraus explained. “It is a part of a geopolitical chess game and they’d like to take that piece. They are not going to spend a lot of money for it. They can’t, they’ve got Portugal, they’ve got Greece. Pretty soon they’ve got France.”

The financial analyst also explained the economic problems that Ukraine is facing.

“The problem is that Ukraine is in dire economic strains. Ukraine is 2-6 months from default. They cannot raise money in markets. They are running a deficit. They are having a lot of trouble keeping the currency stable.” 

The following are somewhat older yet still relevant news articles pertaining to Russo-Armenian relations: 

Russian Expert: Russian troops to shield Armenia’s frontier in case of new Karabakh war


Russian military experts offered forecasts and scenarios for possible conflicts Moscow could become drawn into. According to Russian media, resumption of a Karabakh war was named as one of the possibilities, with the geography of war capable of spreading beyond the borders of NKR. According to experts’ forecasts, in the event of a new war, Russian troops deployed at Armenia’s Gyumri military base will shield Armenia’s borders, thus enabling Armenian army soldiers to be more effectively used in Karabakh. According to a military expert Alexander Khramchikhin, Russia won’t gain from involvement in Karabakh war, with Moscow to find itself in a difficult situation should the conflict become “unfrozen.” According to the expert, Russia has managed to stay flexible in its Transcaucasia-oriented policy, cooperating with both Armenia and Azerbaijan. “Should the conflict break out between the two above-mentioned countries, Russia won’t be openly supporting Armenia, with Moscow agreeing to become involved in a war were the 3rd parties, like Turkey, to interfere,” the expert predicted.


Russia Hopes to Dissuade Azerbaijan From Going to War Over 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

Russia Hints At Intervention in Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict


Several days after apparent widespread skirmishes all along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and the Nagorno-Karabakh "line of contact," there is still very little information about what actually happened. For a while, though, at least on the internet, it seemed that a serious escalation of violence was imminent. It's a bit odd that, amid all the rumors of massive fighting, there doesn't seem to have been any casualties on either side, suggesting that the reports may have been some sort of deliberate disinformation campaign. And that's what the Armenian Defense Ministry has suggested:
The rumors spread by Azerbaijani mass media on the possible combat operations on NKR–Azerbaijan line of contact towards Aghdam and Fizulai are nothing but imagination. In comparison to June 7-8, the ceasefire violations in different parts of the front line have become more frequent and have increased. This, however, did not affect and will not affect the general state.
All the usual suspects issued the usual statements calling on both sides to settle the conflict peacefully, etc. But one international reaction was especially notable: Russia's. A Russian military spokesman noted that airmen at the Russian military base in Armenia have been stepping up their training flights since the beginning of the year. From the New York Times:
Russian fighter jets stationed at a base in Armenia have conducted about 300 training flights since the beginning of 2012, and have increased the number of flying hours by more than 20 percent from last year... Colonel Gorbul said Russian fighter pilots were preparing for combat. “The main emphasis in performing aerobatic elements is made on the ability to apply them in real-life air combat conditions,” he said.
Since the increase in flights began at the beginning of the year, it doesn't seem like it's in reaction to the flareup in violence. But the statement does seem like a reaction to the flareup. Russia is of course a crucial factor in any potential conflict over Karabakh: while Azerbaijan is on the way to gaining military superiority over Armenia, if Russia intervened on Armenia's side it would be a whole different story. (And whether they do may depend on whether the conflict is limited to Karabakh itself, or if it spreads to Armenia, as these recent skirmishes have.) It's of course easy for Russia to drop a hint like this that it might get involved than to actually get involved if push came to shove, but you can guess that this statement is being closely analyzed in Baku.

Konstantin Sivkov: Russia Protects Armenia from the West


The deployment of the 102nd Russian military base in Gyumri remains the subject of heated debate. Some believe that that the Russian base guarantees security for Armenia, while some are convinced that the base threatens the sovereignty of the country. Pravda.Ru talked to the Vice President of the Academy of Geopolitical Issues Konstantin Sivkov to get some clarity on the situation. 

"Turkey has an overwhelming military superiority in the region, and Russia is unlikely to be able (in military terms) to stop the advance of the Turkish troops. However, in case of an attack on Armenia, Turkey would declare a war on Russia as well. The 102nd Russian military base in Gyumri has more of a geopolitical significance rather than military. Do you agree with this statement?" 

"Any military base located outside of Russia is a guarantee that in the event of military action against any such country, Russia will enter the conflict on the side of that country. Otherwise, there would be no military bases deployed there. This is clear. If Turkey attacks Armenia, it will be treated as an attack on Russia. Russia would fight on Armenia's side with all its might. If necessary, Russia could use nuclear weapons against Turkey, both tactical, and if need be, strategic. This is defined in the military doctrine of the Russian Federation. Armenia is fully protected with the Russian umbrella of both conventional forces as well as strategic nuclear forces." 

"Russia spent a significant amount of money on Gabala radar station (RS) in Azerbaijan, as well as its military bases in Central Asia. There are sales of Russian weapons, including the offensive ones, to Azerbaijan. Currently, Armenia and Azerbaijan have the same sore issue - Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). Why is Armenia not charging rent for the Russian base?" 

"This is because Russia and Armenia are allies. They have no commercial relationship like the one between Azerbaijan and Russia. Russia will not fight for Azerbaijan, but will fight for Armenia. Armenia is part of the overall defense of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Armenia cannot maintain effective means of defense because it's quite expensive. The presence in the country of the Russian Federation base equipped with anti-aircraft missile systems S-300 and MiG-29 and able to provide a reliable defense against threats to Armenia of a certain scale, that is, something that can be fought off with their own forces and resources. In case of a more serious threat, additional forces and air defense and fighter aircraft may be redeployed there. 

"The question of who needs the base more - Russia or Armenia - often turns into a pointless debate about dependence. Given the strained relations between Turkey and Armenia, the Karabakh conflict and open support that Ankara provides to Baku in this conflict, the 102nd Russian base plays an important role in ensuring the safety of Armenia. However, the U.S. has reasons behind the encouragement of normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations with the help of Zurich protocols. The goal is to eliminate Armenia's interest in the presence of a Russian military base on its territory. What do you think about it?" 

"The Russian military base in Armenia is not just for defense from Turkey. As I mentioned earlier, at the moment there is only one front - the conflict with Azerbaijan. To some extent, NATO military may present some risk for Armenia. The presence of the Russian military base in Armenia is equally convenient for both sides. Russia wants to push the frontiers of air capture as far from its borders as possible. In turn, Armenia is interested in protecting its sovereignty. The presence of the Russian military base in Armenia implies protection of the interests of this country. If some Armenians serve in the Russian army, the base is a natural element of the economic system in Armenia and aids in the consolidation and development of the economy of the country. 

"Do you think the presence of the Russian military base in Armenia is a threat to its sovereignty?" 

"This position is likely shared by Dashnak Armenian nationalists who in the beginning of the last century called for sovereignty and independence of Armenia. But such a small country like Armenia cannot exist without the patronage of major powers. If Russia leaves Armenia, the United States will come back. This is the only possible solution. The mere presence of the Russian military base is a guarantee of the sovereignty of Armenia. Moreover, the composition and size of the military base, and its primary task of defense, rule out the possibility of any significant impact on the internal political life of Armenia. Fighter jets can in no way affect the political life of this country."

Wikileaks: Azerbaijan “terrified” by potential Russian-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.

Chairman of the Russian State Duma pays tribute to Armenian Genocide victims


Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Sergey Naryshkin and his delegation visited the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex accompanied by Vice President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia Edward Sharmazanov. Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation laid a wreath at the memorial to the Armenian Genocide victims after which the members of the delegation put flowers at the Eternal Fire and honored the memory of the innocent victims with a minute of silence. Members of the Russian delegation visited the Armenian Genocide Museum where they get acquainted with the temporary exhibition titled “Book as a witness of the Genocide” dedicated to the 500th anniversary of the Armenian printing and proclamation of Yerevan as 2012 World Book Capital City by UNESCO. Afterwards Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation left a note in the Commemoration Book. The delegates from the Russian Federation had a tour of the Memorial Alley where Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Sergey Naryshkin planted a fir.


Russia Leader Calls Genocide ‘A Crime Against Humanity’

The Armenian Genocide was “was a crime against humanity and civilization,” said the chairwoman of Russian Federal Council (Senate), during a visit to Dzidzernageprt memorial monument on Thursday. Valentina Matviyenko led a delegation to the Armenian Genocide Museum and Institute and laid a wreath at the memorial. “No matter how many centuries pass, such crimes can never be forgotten nor can they be repeated again,” said Matviyenko adding that it was the right decision by the Armenians to build such a memorial dedicated to the innocent victims. “As long as the memory lives on, such things will never happen again.” The visiting dignitary was given a guided tour of the Museum-Institute, after which she signed the Book of Records and watered the tree she had planted on an earlier visit to the “Memory Garden.” At a press conference later Thursday with Armenia’s Parliament Speaker Hovig Abrahamian, Matviyenko said the Russian Federal Council was interested in strengthening cooperation with Armenia’s National Assembly. Matviyenko added that since establishment of diplomatic relations, Armenia and Russia have reached mutually beneficial cooperation in most different spheres. “Armenia is an active member of the CSTO and the Armenian-Russian military-technical cooperation is productively developing within that framework,” said Matviyenko. Abrahamian praised Armenian-Russian cooperation adding that the visit of the delegation will further contribute to the development of that cooperation.

Russian General: We Will Intervene to Protect Armenia


A few weeks ago there was some back and forth between Armenians and Azerbaijanis about whether Russia would come to Armenia's defense in the case of a war over Nagorno Karabakh. Well, now a top Russian general has weighed in, and he sounds pretty certain that Russia would get involved. General Andrei Tretyak, the Chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the Defense Ministry, discussed the Russian military's future plans with some analysts, and this is from Dmitry Gorenburg's account:

In a discussion on the situation in Karabakh, General Tretyak agreed with a participant’s assessment that the possibility of conflict in that region is high, but argued that it is gradually decreasing as a result of Russian efforts to reduce tension in the region. He disagreed with the suggestion that Russia’s relationship with Armenia is eroding and made clear that Russia will carry out its promises to that country. No one should see Russia’s refusal to intervene in Kyrgyzstan last summer as a precedent for Karabakh, as that was a very different situation.

Hmm, that can't make too many folks in Baku feel too confident. Tretyak also weighed in on Central Asia, and suggested that the Collective Security Treaty Organization could help fill the security vacuum that will be created by the U.S. leaving Afghanistan. And he seems to acknowledge that the CSTO kind of dropped the ball on Kyrgyzstan last year, when it did nothing to stop the pogroms that took place there in what many saw as the first big test of the collective security group: He also felt that what he saw as the inevitable US withdrawal from the region will have a negative effect on stability.

In this context, the CSTO may come to play a more important role in the region. General Tretyak pointed out that CSTO reforms are continuing. The major Russian military exercises in the summer and early fall will include CSTO states. The Russian military has looked at the issues that arose in conjunction with the Kyrgyzstan crisis and know how to act if a similar situation arises in the future; according to General Tretyak, there are no disagreements on this with Russia’s CSTO partners. The general further noted that the forces assigned to the CSTO are the best prepared of Russia’s forces, because Russia wants to increase the organization’s military effectiveness. General Tretyak reiterated the Russian position that it would like NATO to recognize the legitimacy of the CSTO and establish cooperation with it.

This seems to be a pointed message that the CSTO is learning from its mistakes in Kyrgyzstan -- and that those who expect it to stand aside in the future should think again.


Konstantin Zatulin: Nagorno-Karabakh will be recognized sooner or later, will not return to Azerbaijan


‘’Nagorno-Karabakh will come to recognition sooner or later. Karabakh will not return within Azerbaijan’’, Konstantin Zatulin, the deputy Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Director of the Institute of CIS Studies, stated in the course of a news conference held at the Novosti Press Center today. According to Zatulin, Azerbaijanis are also aware of the fact. However, in his words, the Azerbaijani politicians cannot exceed the established limits. Nevertheless, presenting, in his words, Russia’s official stand, Zatulin noted that Russia was not ready to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence, especially taking into consideration that Armenia had not done it yet. ‘’However, my own stand is as follows: it is possible not to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh de jure as much as one likes, however, it de facto exists’’, Konstantin Zatulin noted. At that, in Konstantin Zatulin’s words, no one can prove that nations’ right to self-determination yields priority to territorial integrity’s principle. Zatulin is sure that the final word rests with people, if they consistently display their will.


InterMedia Survey Finds Armenians Most Favorably Inclined Towards Russia and Optimistic about Democracy in their Country


Despite a powerful Diaspora lobby in the United States, Armenians' positive feelings towards the U.S. are nearly 40 percentage points behind their feelings towards neighboring Russia. So says a survey of the small (3 million inhabitants) yet strategically located nation, conducted earlier this year by InterMedia, a Washington, D.C.- based research, evaluation and consulting organization. The InterMedia survey found fully 90 percent of Armenians are favorably inclined towards Russia, but only 53 percent say they are so inclined towards the United States. "The higher favorability towards Russia compared to the U.S. is not surprising," says Lyuda Andriyevska, one of InterMedia's project managers for Eurasia. "Russia has been the main strategic partner for Armenia for centuries. Currently, Russia provides landlocked Armenia with oil and gas, invests heavily in business and infrastructure, sells weapons and supports many positions of Armenian foreign policy, the touchiest of which is its dispute with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region."  

Armenia is strategically significant in the region due in part to its location at both the energy and ethnic crossroads of Europe, Asia and Middle East. With growing demand for energy resources in the world, Armenia is an important player among three regional powers -- Iran, Turkey and Russia -- all of which compete for political and economic leadership in the region. Only slightly more than one-quarter of Armenians, 28 percent, are favourably inclined towards their northern neighbour, Georgia. "One reason is the souring of Georgian-Russian relations over the last couple of years," says Ms. Andriyevska. "Georgia serves as a lifeline for the Armenian economy, as all the inland trade with Russia goes through it. However, the ongoing conflict between Georgia and Russia has seriously disrupted communication and transportation of energy and food supplies to Armenia. This should serve to increase Armenians' animosity towards Georgia and perhaps even take some of the lustre off their feelings towards Russia."

The InterMedia survey also found Armenians are pro-European but less keen on NATO. Seventy percent of the population agree or strongly agree with the statement that "Armenia should join EU." NATO, on the other hand, has the support of only slightly more than a quarter of the population, 27 percent. Although favorability toward Russia is high, there are fundamental differences in public sentiment between the two countries. The InterMedia survey finds Armenians are more optimistic about democratic changes in their country and have more faith in the power of the electoral process than do Russians. Almost two-thirds of Armenians, 64 percent, anticipated increased chances for democracy and personal self expression after the presidential elections in February 2008; only 5 percent of the Russian population expected similar improvements in terms of democracy and self expression after their own 2008 presidential elections. (InterMedia's Russian survey took place in January 2008.) 

InterMedia is a leading international media research, public opinion, evaluation and consulting organization creatively equipping clients to understand their audiences, gauge their effectiveness and target their communications in transitional and developing societies worldwide. Based in Washington, D.C., and active year-round in more than 60 countries, InterMedia helps clients understand complex issues in challenging research environments. The company's strengths include its people-area experts skilled in scientifically-based research and focused on client solutions-its vast global network of local research partners and contacts and its rich data archive of more than 670 media and opinion surveys carried out over the past 15 years.

Survey Details: InterMedia conducted a nationally representative survey of 2,000 face-to face interviews in Armenia between 22 January and 27 February 2008. Maximum margin of error, with a 95% confidence interval, is +/-2.2%. 


Opening of Armenian-Turkish Border Should be a Russian but not a U.S. Project


Some warming between Yerevan and Ankara is favorable. The Armenian-Turkish relations need gradual normalization, Andrey Areshev, expert at Strategic Culture Foundation said in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net. “Consultations of diplomats are no longer a secret. Russian concessionaires of the Armenian Railways announced readiness to reconstruct Kars-Gyumri line. Foreign media circulated information that some oil companies negotiate construction of a gas pipeline with Armenia. The Ayrum-Gyumri-Akhuryan route (bypassing Georgia) is being discussed. Certainly, these are just variants but Georgia’s destructive role in the region becomes more and more evident not only for Russia or Iran but also for U.S. allies, such as Turkey, and the key EU countries, which are concerned over their energy security,” he said. “Possible normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations and partial opening of the border should not be used as an argument for withdrawal of the Russian military base from Armenia. Furthermore, opening of the border should be a Russian but not a U.S. project,” Areshev emphasized. “The Armenian authorities’ flirtation with the U.S. and NATO, the forthcoming joint exercise in September are quite understandable as a part of complementary policy pursued by the republic. However, it’s clear that the west will use Caucasian nations as active storage (Georgia is a vivid example) Cooling with Russia in exchange for attractive offers can have deplorable consequences for Armenia and NKR’s security. The Karabakh conflict can’t be resolved with NATO’s assistance. Partial restoration of Russia’s positions in the Caucasus, Turkey and Iran’s firm opposition to resumption of hostilities may push Baku to search for more adequate way to resolve the Karabakh conflict. However, it will not happen before the presidential election in Azerbaijan,” he concluded.


Russian Expert: Military Settlement of Nagorno Karabakh Conflict Will Result in Collapse of Azerbaijan


National consensus has been reached in Nagorno Karabakh regarding the fact that “the republic must be an independent state,” so victory of one or another candidate at the presidential election will not radically change on the general situation, head of the Caucasus department at the Institute for CIS Studies Mikhail Alexandrov said. “The matter concerns nuances. For instance, Bako Saakyan is quite moderate and is orientated towards connection with Armenia and talks with Azerbaijan. 

Masis Mailyan is tougher, he opposes returning of seven occupied areas to Azerbaijan and speaks for a more autonomous from Yerevan negotiation stance,” Alexandrov said adding that in any case, the key direction in Stepanakert will be dialog. At the same time, he noted that Ilham Aliev’s hopes for returning Karabakh through dialog are naïve.

“A military settlement is an affair that will result in collapse of Azerbaijan as a state. It is unreal for Baku to win over Armenia and the NKR, no matter how strongly they increase their military spending,” the expert believes. The matter concerns not only money, but efficiency of the Army. “Besides, Armenia is connected with Russia by military agreements; the most up-to-date military equipment is supplied there at lower prices. Some types of weapons are impossible for Azerbaijan to acquire in foreign markets; nobody will sell them to it. 

So, it will be ungrounded to hope for superiority and a Blitzkrieg,” the analyst stressed adding that “this form of being looped” can result in Azerbaijan losing the seven areas of the Nagorno Karabakh security belt. Now, he believes, there is still an opportunity to implement the formula “peace for territories”: Azerbaijan recognizes Nagorno Karabakh independence and the latter returns the territories. “However, now, the time is not serving Baku. The Kosovo precedent that, most probably, will end with a one-sided recognition of the territory’s independence by the West will only encourage Karabakh in its intentions. ‘The Fifth Column’ and a coup in Stepanakert are ruled out, because there is no single Azerbaijani there,” Mikhail Alexandrov is quoted as saying by PanARMENIAN.Net.


Vladimir Putin Tries to Keep Armenia as the Last Ally of Russia


The official part of a visit of the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, to Armenia has begun. The formal pretext for the visit was the opening of the Year of Russia in Armenia. In actual fact, the agenda goes beyond the framework of protocol and cultural functions: it will include the Karabakh problem, cooperation in the gas sphere, and the use of Armenian territory for the deployment of Russian military bases which will be withdrawn from Georgia within the next few years. The President of Russia, together with his Armenian colleague, Robert Kocharyan, will take part in the official opening of the Year of Russia in Armenia and attend a gala concert. The pompous protocol functions serve as a smokescreen for a very important dialogue on the burning issues of the day. 

Alarmed by a whole series of “Rose”, “Orange” and other revolutions, Russia is afraid of losing one of the last of its bulwarks in the area of the former USSR. In the context of the deepening of their strategic partnership the presidents of the two countries will discuss the problems of resolving the Karabakh conflict, as well as the prospects of deploying the Russian military bases on Armenian territory, which should be withdrawn from Georgia within the next few years. As regards the first problem, Moscow tries to soften the position of Yerevan in order to avoid the exacerbation of the relations with Baku. The Kremlin hoped to bring the President of Armenia, Robert Kocharyan, and the President of Azerbaijan, Ilkham Aliyev, to negotiations during the celebration of the 60th anniversary of Victory in the last war in Moscow in May. 

However, judging by information coming in from Baku, President Aliyev will hardly come to Moscow for the occasion. The question of the withdrawal of Russian troops and arms from Georgia has been solved, in the main, as a result of negotiations with the Georgian leadership, although the deadlines have not been fixed. The most probable time will be 2007. After that Russia hopes to deploy its military units on Armenian territory, in the vicinity of the Russian base No 102. Yerevan agrees to it, but puts forward a number of conditions. The main one is a solution to the problem of the transport blockade of Armenia. This is why both Moscow and Yerevan hope to work out a concerted policy aimed at obtaining Georgia's consent to a free transport corridor by commissioning the Novorossiisk – Poti sea ferry, and also resuming the railway connection through the territory of Abkhazia. 

Naturally, the questions of military cooperation will also be discussed. Armenia receives arms and ammunition from Russia at preferential prices. To date more than 500 Armenian army officers study in Russia free of charge, that is, at the expense of the Russian budget. This figure can be bigger. A range of problems to be discussed deal with the relations between Russia, Armenia and Iran. Teheran remains an important regional partner of Moscow, but it views rather cautiously the plans to build a gas pipeline between Iran and Armenia, which will later be one of the channels of supplying Iranian gas to Ukraine and Europe. But the deputy foreign minister of Armenia, Gegam Garibjanyan, has said that Russia should take part in the negotiations on the matter. President Putin will, no doubt, raise the question of “Gazprom” taking part in the implementation of this project.


Former Ambassador Vladimir Stupishin on Russo-Armenian Relations


“Nezavisimaia”* (NG) raises an alarm: “the unrecognized states in post Soviet territories will cease to exist” and will become “an object of NATO expansion” under the conditions, when “Russia is not capable to prevent the West from ‘cultivating’ the post Soviet regions,” for “there are no effective measures left for Russia to apply to resist the ongoing trend.” (NG, March 2, 2002).

While these unrecognized states , namely Abkhazia and Nagorno Karabakh, are in danger of existence, there is wide disbelief that Russia has no effective measures left to restrain the advance of the USA and its allies on the post-Soviet terrain, which hurts Russia’s national and state interests. So far, Russian has been carrying on with the “mini-empires”, agreeing with their ridiculous proofs of ‘rights’ on the lands of neighboring peoples. These lands, which, in reality, until recently did not belong to them. I am confident that public and policy statements on the highest levels defending the sovereign rights of the smaller nations could spearhead negotiations between some former Soviet republics and their former autonomies on the structure of their new relations in a reasonable framework. But Moscow still refuses to do that. Nevertheless it is about time to learn to distinguish among the ‘real, true allies’, simply partner and those, who look at the other side. We should not be afraid to offer support to those whose interests coincide with ours.

It is significantly important to recognize that we are constantly being provoked to argue and undermine our relationship with our strategic allies. The Pro Azeri lobby in Moscow has been especially active in these attempts, doing all they can to drive Russia away from Armenia. These groups present the Turkish-oriented Azerbaijan as “the Russian basis in the Caucasus.” At the same time we are being threatened with NATO military bases on Apsheron and a new war against NKR, if the latter refuses to dissolve itself as an independent state and accept sham autonomy within Azerbaijan. Pro Azeri lobbyists use lies and scare tactics, hoping that our memories are short. Suddenly, the infamous Mutalibov has remembered the “tragedy of Khodjali, when in February of 1992 hundreds of civilians were slaughtered in Nagorno Karabakh as a result of a joint operation of the Armenian military groups and 366th motor-division of the Russian Army.” But back in 1992, Mutalibov himself had admitted that “the tragedy of Khodjali” was, in essence, a provocation carried out not by Armenians but by Elchibei’s bandits against his presidency (see his interview for NG April 2, 92). Why would Mutalibov remember the old lies of Elchibei propaganda now? The answer is clear: to destroy Russian-Armenian relations. Those feeding from the Azeri lobby push Moscow to help Azerbaijan to fulfill their plans of annexing NKR territory.

The protanganists throw an oft-used theory of alleged “Pro Western” orientation of the present Armenian government into the controversy. Yet, the official Yerevan line simply tries to diversify its foreign ties, which is a reasonable and most rational way of survival for Armenia. In the current circumstances, Armenia needs neither “pro Western” nor “pro Russian” orientation. But it needs a “pro Armenian” one. Russia should understand these nuances, in which it is not able to assist Armenia fully. For example, would Russia be capable of sustaining and providing regular humanitarian aid, that amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars, and which Armenia has been receiving from the USA for the past ten years now? An honest appraisal will ensure Russia’s stance in the South Caucasus. However, Russia still has other measures to strengthen its positions in the Transcaucasus. One of those is a military cooperation, including air defense and border patrol. In that region, we have such presence only in Armenia. Another lever is to own industrial and scientific property of strategic economic and social importance in a country. Again Armenia reappears, as we are currently conducting negotiations on these issues with the state government. A third way is to effectively use the patronage offered by Russia to the Armenians, in the Karabakh question. This should be done without any fear of confrontation with Turkish-Azeri pressure, conflicting with our interests, for it is strongly connected with the far-fetched plans of pan-Turkism.

The words of the Russian President, uttered in Yerevan in September 2001, hold a special importance in light of these circumstances, i.e.: “the whole policy of Russia in the region will be directed to provide a reliable defense for Armenia;” and that the solution of the Karabakh problem should be coming out of the present status quo, by which “Russia, should not disturb the established balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan.” I believe that to be the position conforming to the Russian strategic interests. We should rid ourselves of the bad habit of taking on trust everything that Azerbaijan says. Here, we do business with a partner, who promises undying friendship to Moscow and acts as a complete vassal of Turkey in Ankara and conductor of pan-Turkism at home. Once we attempt to meet their interests and give up Karabakh to them, they will not need us, for the pan Turkism orientation of Baku is rooted deeply in its body.

All of this is not a call to stop having any business with Azerbaijan and impose any sanctions on the country. There are about three million citizens of Azerbaijan, who live and work in Russia. Some of them have become Russian citizens. Moreover, Azerbaijan is our neighbor. A neighbor should be treated in a friendly, neighborly way, despite the fact that it behaves otherwise. It is important to promote trade, cultural exchange and cooperation in possible and profitable areas. Nonetheless, we should not close our eyes and ignore its true goals, especially if they contradict the Russian interests. Armenia has been our strategic ally from the beginning and until the present day. Therefore we should act towards it in an appropriate fashion. We should be considerate of Armenia’s interests and Karabakh’s interests, for without Karabakh there is no independent and friendly Armenia. Furthermore, without the Armenians, Russia would not have any positions in Transcaucasus. My idea of Karabakh’s protectorate evolves exactly from that logic: we simply ought to protect Karabakh, assist in all possible ways to strengthen its security on its historical territory; that had its borders distorted by the Russian Bolsheviks, demanding restoration now. The entirety of NKR, deserves no lesser respect than entirety of territories of any other state.

In my view, the true settling of the Karabakh conflict suggests complete rejection by Azerbaijan of the primal Armenian lands. It is possible to resolve the problem of the refugees by providing them with opportunities in places where they live now. How come in almost every discussion on Karabakh the only refugees that are being consistently mentioned are the Azeri refugees? Why can’t the Armenians return to Baku, Gyandja, Sumgait, Artsvashen, Getashen, etc.? It seems to me that the most optimal resolution of the Karabakh problem is to legitimize the status quo within the borders on the confrontation lines, set by the truce of 1994. Aside from the war anything else is simply unrealistic. Azerbaijan pretty much hopes for a war. However, a war is not going to deliver anything good neither to the Armenians, nor to the Azeri people.

Dr. Vladimir Stupishin (Ph.D. in History, Ph.D. in Law) is the former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Armenia. Dr. V. Stupishin is a long-time supporter of self-determination rights of the people of Nagorno - Karabakh Republic. He is also a resolute advocate for a strategic alliance between Armenia and Russia.

During the period of 1992-1994, Dr. V. Stupishin was the first Russian Ambassador to then newly independent Republic of Armenia. In November, 1992 he was sent to Armenia to establish a permanent Russian embassy in Yerevan. Those were most difficult days for Armenia, which was struggling to survive in the blockade inflicted by Turkey and Azerbaijan.

While leaving Armenia to return to Russia in 1994 Dr. Stupishin promised not to forget the people of Armenia and Karabakh. "I will not betray you, no matter what," he said then.

That was not just a lip service. Now retired from the diplomatic service, Vladimir Stupishin continues his diplomatic efforts in media, actively protecting the natural rights of any nation for self-determination up to the creation of an independent state. In September 1997 he visited Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR) again as an independent observer of local presidential elections.

Dr. V. Stupishin was awarded a medal of "Gratitude" for his valuable services to NKR, including scientific substantiation of the self-determination rights of the Karabakh people, for his valuable contribution in publicizing the Artsakh issue and demanding its just resolution.

Recently Dr. Stupishin published his memoirs about the time he was the Russian Ambassador in Armenia with lots of insider information on the political situation in Armenia, armenian-azerbaijani conflict and Karabakh war in the early 1990s.


Vladimir Stupishin: Resolution of the Karabakh Conflict Without Karabakh People?


In reply to the article Who failed the Karabakh resolution by Alan Kasaev and Armen Khanbabyan. See appendix. 

The peace in the Transcaucasus depends on answers to questions raised in “Who has Failed the Karabakh Resolution” article by Alan Kasaev and Armen Khanbabyan.

The authors strongly exaggerated the prospects of a solid peace in the Transcaucasus. They suggest that those possibilities are bound to develop once Presidents Putin and Bush bring the resolution process under their direct control. The Russian President, by saying that “only Armenia and only Azerbaijan are able to reach an agreement,” has ruled out one of the parties, the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh. This Republic has an immediate interest in those prospects. But Mr. Putin’s position has shut down a real opportunity for resolution, which is possible ONLY if the conflicting parties negotiate (i.e., as in this case, negotiations between the Republic of Azerbaijan (RAz) and the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR)) with each other. Any alternative setting is doomed to be unsuccessful. I do not know what Mr. Bush thinks of all that. But, it is highly unlikely that he is more informed than Mr. Putin.

However, both presidents would like to play their part here as well. Why? It is widely assumed that they have “arrived to a common opinion that the peacemaking process has long as shifted to a stage of simulation, by which all meetings are strictly formal in nature and by definition cannot lead to any noticeable improvements.” Certainly they cannot, since others, not just enemies but friends as well, are trying to solve the problems of Karabakh for it and without it. All that is happening despite the fact that the people of NKR have been successfully taking care of their problems for more than a decade. This nation has created its governance in full compliance with international law, recognizing the right of any nation of self-determination and choice of a political status. The people of NKR have defended (armed, when forced to) their independence from RAz in full ordinance with the Soviet law of 1990 upon exit from the Soviet Union. The law was broken not by the Karabakh people, but by the politicians in Baku, at the time of disintegration of the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan.

Yet, why would the “great powers” care whether Armenia and Azerbaijan, who are in conflict with each other not just because of Karabakh, do “simulate” or do not “simulate” their readiness for serious talk? It is no secret that Heidar Aliev has voiced more than once his territorial claims on Armenia, including as he has once said, the “Erivan khanate.” Armenia does not have any territorial claims to Azerbaijan, but it could have and on more legal and just grounds than its neighbor. Armenia could have claimed back Nakhichevan, which had been part of the Erivan gubernia until 1918 and had been transferred, by Bolsheviks and Kemalists, under the “protectorate” of self-declared Azerbaijani Republic, which had appeared on the territories where before 1918 there had been no sign of Azerbaijan at all. So, even if Mr. Aliev is “simulating,” perhaps it is a good idea to let Armenia and Azerbaijan alone: let them “simulate” as much as they want, as long as they do not go to war with each other.

Not by chance, probably, but because of some Freudian impulses a suggestion that the American administration is “somewhat inclined to accept Moscow’s priority right over geopolitical influence in the post Soviet Transcaucasus” has the fashion word “somewhat” in it. It is not a parasite, but a true reflection of the way things are: the Americans are indeed SOMEWHAT inclined to accept our prerogative role in the Transcaucasus, for it is not one of their foreign policy interests. Well, perhaps they do need to have security in the region in order to work out the transportation and oil-pipeline related plans of the Western companies (however, those so-called “plans” are actually policies directed to shifting Russia out of the Transcaucasus). Why should we, at the cost of our Armenian ally, support all that? “Pax Americana” in the Transcaucasus, that is not doing any favors for Russia; it will work against our national and state interests. 

I absolutely disapprove the notion of Meghri transfer to Azerbaijan. Such a transfer not only would lead to surrounding and “choking” of Armenia by the Turks, but would also be a starting point for eventual realization of the ideas of Pan-Turkism on the way to the “Great Turan.” How could one ever forget, that these plans, which contradict Russian interests, have been initiated and supported for more than ten years by the US State Department? 

It is unclear, why anyone, given such a setting, would ever tell me that “today Moscow and Washington have a lot in common in their approaches to a resolution.”

The declaration that “today the problem (i.e. obviously, Karabakh problem –V.S.) has finally shifted from the setting of nations’ self-determination into a territorial quarrel between the two states (i.e. Azerbaijan and Armenia)” seems to be rather odd. Even stranger are the words that “there is not anything say” about any mutual understanding between Russia and Armenia, that in reality there is a confrontation between Karabakh and Azerbaijan. Has the Russian diplomacy gone so mind-numbing that it has completely taken the side of a “small empire” that is refusing to give up Nagorno Karabakh, even cut in pieces, which the Soviet Azerbaijan had received from the Bolsheviks in 1921? Why is it a “finally” and a “not anything to say” process? There is still a room for maneuvering.

The nations’ right of self-determination is not something that is given by any state, but comes from God and is sealed by International Law. There could be, and could not be, some territorial disputes between Armenia and Azerbaijan. However those have no relation to the problem of the Karabakh Armenians. Even the Soviet power had recognized their right for their own territory within the autonomous oblast, which was documented in the Soviet laws, according to which Armenia and Azerbaijan lived.

They (Karabakh Armenians – AVG) opted out Azerbaijan with that “own territory”, which had never belonged to the Turks. They did so without breaking any territorial integrity of neither the Turks, the Lezgins, the Talishes nor of any other nation living in the artificially created state, which had not existed at all until 1918, and which has recently been coming up with some “native rights” to the lands of different nations. 

If “there is not anything to say” about it, does this mean that we are also done with the International Law?

USA trying to break up Armenian-Russian military relations, general says


Russia has to ensure that Armenia has the means to defend itself from threats in the Transcaucasus region, Russian Col-Gen Leonid Ivashov said in an interview published in the Armenian newspaper 'Ayots Ashkar' on 16th May. The USA and NATO countries want to prevent the military cooperation between Armenia and Russia, and "if we are weak it will be easy to rule us", the general said. The two countries have to forge still closer military relations, remembering the fact that many Russian and Armenian officers served together. Ivashov also said that Russia will keep its military bases in Georgia for the time being, until an agreement can be made on their withdrawal which would not entail something like "a retreat". The following is the text of the interview from `Ayots Ashkar' by Vahan Vardanyan entitled "Russian-Armenian strategic cooperation is a fact"

[Q] General, how can you evaluate the present stage of Armenian-Russian cooperation in the context of Russia's new military doctrine? In this case what is the role of the Russian military base located in Armenia?

[A] Today is the eighth anniversary of the signing of the CIS collective security pact. Armenia is one of the active country members of that pact and conducts the kind of policy that will ensure that the collective security pact is an effective mechanism for averting any aggression towards country members. Armenia also actively participates in the creation of an air defence system. Russian-Armenian bilateral relations in the military sphere are successfully developing. We don't make a secret of the fact that we are interested in the guaranteeing of Armenia's security. I can say that within the framework of bilateral relations meetings between Russian and Armenian military servicemen often take place. They meet every month on a high level and have the aim of finding new prospects for cooperation and improving our countries' defence. I would like to emphasize that it is not directed against any other country, everything is done within the framework of international obligations.

[Q] Can Armenian-Russian military cooperation be considered an existing fact or is a further deepening of relations possible?

[A] Yes, it may be established that Russian-Armenian strategic cooperation is an existing fact. But there is still an inner force for improvement. Armenian military staff are being trained in Russia, we are strengthening the military base located in Armenia by modernizing the military equipment. Whenever we have the chance we also support the Armenian armed forces. We have only the task of maintaining the necessary level of defence. Unfortunately, the situation in the Caucasus is not stable on the whole, and the armed forces and the balance of military potential are also a guarantee for averting conflicts.

[Q] It is often written in the military press that Armenian-Russian relations are dependent on individuals. In your opinion is it really so?

[A] The agreement on friendship, cooperation and mutual support is of course the strategic line of our two countries. Of course, it will be fulfilled more effectively if more than simply institutional relations are created in different structures. Many Russian and Armenian officers served together. How can that military brotherhood be broken? Do you suppose that we don't notice how often the US military servicemen try to put a wedge into our relations? NATO's military servicemen organize seminars where they speak only about Russian-Armenian military cooperation. It is not profitable for them. I can say that the USA and NATO countries actively work with the goal of preventing our consolidation. If we are weak it will be easy to rule us. Wherever real integration is observed, our transatlantic guests immediately intervene.

[Q] But sometimes we have the impression that because of a change of this or that official the relations between the countries also change. Is it really so? And what can you say about speculation that Russian generals are involved in the recent processes in Armenia and have their own interests?

[A] Undoubtedly the policy is being implemented by specific individuals. If those persons serve the strategic line of Armenian-Russian relations, in that case our military and political and allied relations will go on. A change in the state's political line may become a reason for our anxiety. As for the Armenian military servicemen, they are devoted to Armenian-Russian military cooperation. But it is not true that we military servicemen intrude in political processes. Yes, Russia has direct interests in Armenia. The essence of them is to maintain our strategic relations, so that Armenia is stable and strong from the strategic as well as the economic point of view, so that it is a friend and colleague for Russia. These are our interests. The speculation means that somebody does not like the fact that Russia assists Armenia. The US embassy is more active than we are. But that activity is directed towards breaking up our relations. The USA has managed to achieve quite serious success in relations with the other countries of the Transcaucasus, including in the military sphere.

[Q] What is the destiny of the Russian military bases located in the Transcaucasus?

[A] As for the withdrawal of Russian military bases from Georgia, we have finished only the first stage of negotiations and have presented our approaches. But when we were informed about the terms of all the bases being withdrawn, and they were brief, we drew Georgia's attention to the [OSCE] Istanbul summit. And there was no discussion of a withdrawal of military bases there. Yes, it is necessary to make an arrangement about the direct terms, but it must not be like a retreat. And it must not be a situation where immediately after the end of negotiations we start the withdrawal. So the question is about the maintenance of Russian military bases and facilities in Georgia and we shall continue this policy. As for Gyumri military base, that, according to our common opinion, is a factor of stability in the region, a factor averting aggressive actions towards Armenia.

[Q] Today the necessity of forming a Caucasus-wide security system is much spoken about. What is the position of Russian military servicemen with regard to this matter?

[A] If the question is about regional security, in that case it is necessary to talk about the whole region, and here there are the interests of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russia as well as Turkey. There are fewer US interests. And where there are US troops it will not make the region more stable. We are ready to participate in a discussion concerning the problems of regional security, but only taking into account the interests of all the countries. But the presence of NATO on the territory of the former Soviet republics is not acceptable for Russia.

[Q] Recently Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan stated that the Russian military base located in Armenia is there to prevent danger from a third side and to guarantee stability. Do you agree with this?

[A] Yes, I do. That is really so. It is very important for us so that Armenia is stable. The domestic instability of any country can be exploited by a third force. That is why we have to observe so that the Armenian armed forces are capable of functioning. We must also watch so that the Russian military base corresponds to the level of those dangers which are present in the Transcaucasus today. The sum of the potential of the Russian military base and of our military and political and military and technical cooperation, as well as the stable development of Armenia, will give us an opportunity to maintain peace and stability on Armenian territory.


Armenia Armed by Russia for battles with Azerbaijan Scandal compared to Iran-Contra


Russia secretly has shipped more than $1 billion worth of arms to Armenia, apparently to be used against - pro-Western Azerbaijan and - to force the Azeris -and their strategic oil reserves into Russia's orbit. Aman Tuleyev, minister for relations with the Commonwealth of Independent States, has acknowledged that Moscow supplied Armenia with 84 T-72 main battle tanks, 72 heavy howitzers, 24 Scud missiles with eight launchers, 50 armored personnel carriers and millions of rounds of ammunition. Lev Rokhlin, the chairman of the Defense Committee of the Duma, the lower House of the Russian parliament, told a closed Duma session April 2 that Moscow had -shipped $1 billion worth of weapons to the tough, nationalist government of President Levon Ter-Petrosian in Yerevan. His report was similar to Mr. Tuleyev's acknowledgment. Between 1992 and early 1994, when the conflict was at its height, Russian heavy transport aircraft were said to have ferried 1,300 tons of ammunition across the Caucasus to the Armenian capital. Most of the tanks were flown in aboard giant Antonov planes from the city of Akhtubinsk.

The Azeris say Russia also supplied 1,000 hand-fired Strela-2 and Strela-3 anti-aircraft missiles, which were moved by ship across The Caspian Sea, then sent over land through Iran to Armenia. Iran has denied playing any role. Western intelligence sources said The weapons played a crucial role in Armenia's, seizure of large areas of Azerbaijan, which created a million refugees, more than from any other conflict in Europe since World War II. Although Russia's military support for Armenia in its long conflict with Azerbaijan has been well-known, the extent of the arms transfers came as a surprise.

Responding to the revelations, Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered a major government probe Saturday that could implicate his longtime defense minister, Marshal Pavel Grachev who was fired last spring. Russian military prosecutors are considering calling Marshal Grachev in for questioning over the scandal, which has been compared to The Iran-Contra affair. The- chairman of the Azeri parliament, Murtuz Alesketov, said Saturday the arms shipments could destabilize the Caucasus. "If these arms are not returned, this could lead to a new large-scale war in the region" he said at parliamentary hearings in Baku. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, Shi'ite Muslim Azerbaijan has eagerly courted American oil companies to help it develop the immense oil and gas reserves of the Caspian Sea, estimated as second in size and value only to those in the Persian Gulf. Russia has responded by backing Orthodox Christian Armenia, its historic ally.

On March 29, shortly after Mr. Yeltsin's Helsinki summit with President Clinton, the Russian leader finalized a treaty of friendship and strategic partnership with Mr. Ter-Petrosian. The move came after Mr. - Ter-Petrosian alarmed Azerbaijan by appointing The hard-line leader of ethnic Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh, a region of Azerbajjan, as prime minister of Armenia, a move widely regarded as paving the way for a renewed attack on Azerbaijan. There are at least 20,000 Russian 4th Army troops in Armenia concentrated around three major bases. Ivan Rybkin, head of Russia's Security Council, said after a meeting in Moscow with Mr. Ter-Petrosian on March 27 that the new bilateral treaty would have a "military component", the Moscow newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported March 28. Some Moscow analysts believe that Defense Minister Igor Rodionov and his supporters leaked details of the arms deals now to prevent Mr. Yeltsin from bringing back Marshal Grachev as chief military inspector at the Defense Ministry, the independent Moscow newspaper Segodnya said.


Russian Patriarch at the Armenian Genocide Memorial

Former President Medvedev at the Armenian Genocide Memorial 

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov at the Armenian Genocide Memorial

CSTO Troops at the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex