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News – Relations between Armenia and Russia

How are the relations between Armenia and Russia developing?

Relations between Armenia and Russia are getting strained. It might just be my perception. How are these relations developing? Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has been at the helm of Armenia since 2018. All this time, he takes a controversial position about Moscow. On the one hand, he intends to maintain good ties with Russia due to some economic and political dependence. On the other, he wants to establish contact with the Western world. Politics traditionally explain this uncertainty by the pretext of “usefulness” to the country.

Pashinyan probably wants to strengthen only his position in the leadership. However, he has yet to choose which way it is more profitable for him to look.

To understand how the highest political forces of the Republic of Armenia relate to Russia, you need to turn to the earlier comments of the Prime Minister. 

There are rumours about the country’s possible withdrawal from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The organisation comprises Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Rumours about the alleged withdrawal of Armenia from the organisation arose after the authorities refused to conduct security unit exercises on their territory. They were supposed to organise training under the auspices of the “Indestructible Brotherhood”.

The Kremlin reacted to these rumours. According to Russian President’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, the Russian Federation will continue to work with Armenian colleagues, including on the issue of cooperation on the CSTO. The prospects for Armenian-Russian cooperation will depend on how the events further develop and whether Armenia leaves the security agreement.

PM of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan

Communication problem

The Armenian press claims that the local population either does not support Prime Minister or stands on his side but does not understand what is happening. Residents often cannot decide how to relate to Russia, which acts as a mediator in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

According to the deputy of the opposition faction «Armenia» Vage Hakobyan, many in Armenia are confident that the position of the current authorities cannot determine Armenian-Russian relations. The problem is that the leadership does not talk with the people or explain the direction of the republic’s relationship with Russia.

The problem on the Russian side is the problem of communication with Armenian society. More specifically, an almost complete lack of communication. Traditionally, the main partner of the Kremlin was the current authorities. The Russian sources consulted representatives of other forces on a residual basis. It is unlike representatives of Western countries, who, on an equal footing, communicate with all representatives of society and the political class.

Russians in Nagorno-Karabakh

The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh has entered the stage when active hostilities have stopped. However, occasional provocations take place in the disputed territory. Armenia has become accustomed to the historical confrontation with Azerbaijan. How do Armenians see the actions of the Russian peacekeepers?

The Russian peacekeeping contingent was introduced by agreement to ensure security in the event of contradictions between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. Previously, the forces of the Russian Federation defended the interests of the Armenian population. But recently, local publications reported that the military’s actions sometimes do not correspond to the expectations of Armenians. Russia is accused of tolerance of provocations by Azerbaijan.

An illustration is a case of blocking the road in Karabakh when Russian peacekeepers allegedly did not know what to do with warlike protesters.

If Armenia is a partner of Russia, it will play on the Russian field. However, this is the Russia-Azerbaijan-Turkey field, and this game is lost for us

Armenian Political Analyst Edward Antinyan

The analyst summarised that Azerbaijan is trying to set Russia against Armenia. When they saw it was impossible, they turned to the aid of Israel and the United States.

On May 22, Pashinyan said that Armenia is ready to recognize the disputed territory as part of Azerbaijan. 

On Thursday, the 25th, the Prime Minister will meet with the leader of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, in Moscow. There he hopes to conclude a peace agreement on Karabakh. However, Pashinyan and the forces behind him are not sure about the success of the upcoming negotiations.

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