Moscow decided to remind the West about who the boss is in the South Caucasus

Extension of stay of the Russian military base in Armenia may deliver a serious blow to the international image of Armenia as an independent state and affect its relations with Iran.

By signing with Yerevan a protocol providing for extension of stay of the Russian military base in Armenia for another 49 years, Moscow will finally establish hegemony in the South Caucasus. The disseminated information on possible amendments to the treaty on Russian military base, which, according to the protocol, shall exercise the functions of protecting the interests of Russia and together with the Armenian armed forces provide security of the country, has generated a lot of comments about the deepening Armenian-Russian strategic partnership and the age-old friendship between the peoples.

PanARMENIAN.Net - Of course, one cannot argue that in the view of the Armenian society Russia, graphically speaking, acts as an “elder brother”, who is willing to defend the Armenian state in the event of potential aggression from Azerbaijan or Turkey. But if you study the situation more deeply and beyond the background “Armenian-Russian centuries-old friendship”, you will notice that Moscow is trying to kill two birds with one stone.

The recent report in the Russian press about Russia’s intention to sell two divisions of anti-missile system S-300 PMU-2 Favorit to Baku, raises doubts among the Armenians about the sincerity of Russia. On the one hand, Moscow arms Azerbaijan, on the other hand proposes to extend the stay of her military bases in Armenia in order to prevent military aggression by Azerbaijan. Russia’s double play in the region is not a novelty. Keeping a certain balance in relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan has always been one of the main peculiarities of the regional policy of Moscow.

Regardless of whether the information on a possible contract between Moscow and Baku with the total amount of $300 million to be signed during the September visit of President Dmitry Medvedev to Azerbaijan is reliable or not, the Armenian government and society long ago ought to have learnt the lesson that “there are no eternal allies, but there are eternal interests.” Unfortunately, under the present circumstances security guarantees of Russia are irreplaceable for Armenia. But before signing the document on the presence of Russian bases in Armenia, the Armenian leadership had better express concern about her ally’s conduct in relation to CSTO and insist on stopping the arming of Azerbaijan. Besides, we should not forget another truth: it is just business, nothing personal. The arms trade has always been the primary means of replenishment of the Russian, and before it that of the Soviet budget. Let us recall that the USSR sold weapons to rather doubtful regimes in the Arab world and in Africa.

Many people in Armenia understand that Moscow’s desire to reinforce the military presence in Armenia especially now is not so much a genuine aspiration to ensure the safety and protection of the “strategic ally”, but it is intended to prevent unfavorable to Russia scenarios that may arise along with the growing tension over Iran. While Western players are trying to decide how to pass from words to deeds and strike a blow to Iran, our strategic partner expands her military presence in the South Caucasus and hastens to remind the West about who the boss is in the region.

Among other things, extension of stay of the Russian military base in Armenia may deliver a serious blow to the international image of Armenia as an independent state and affect its relations with Iran, which, although remaining silent, may sharply respond to the rapidly expanding military presence of Moscow. However, it would be useful to remind that the independence of former Soviet republics of South Caucasus is a very vague understanding. We can say that Armenia is as “independent” from Russia as Georgia is from the West, or Azerbaijan is from Turkey and oil.

Yekaterina Poghosyan / PanARMENIAN News
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