Relying on Russia: Sargsyan slams Azeri warmongering as Putin announces new Defense Deal with Armenia

Earlier this week Russian news agencies, citing the Kremlin, disseminated a slightly odd piece of information saying that “Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed with the government’s proposal to hold talks with Armenia for the signing of the agreement on the development of military-technical cooperation” and that “after the conclusion of the negotiations the Government has been instructed to sign an agreement with this country.”

The agreement has been under development since last February when Security Council Secretary of the Russian Federation, Nikolay Patrushev, visited Armenia. He signed an appropriate protocol with his Armenian counterpart Artur Baghdasaryan.

It is not yet known what the new treaty implies, especially that in 2010 Armenia already transferred to Russia the last thing that a sovereign state can give to a military partner - the right to protect its security. However, that agreement, as it was construed later, applies to protecting Armenia from “external enemies”, and by “external” Russia still means any country that was not part of the USSR. Azerbaijan, with which Armenia is, in fact, in a state of war, is not one of those countries.

Perhaps, the new agreement will also include an item specifically concerning Azerbaijan. Moreover, on January 15, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan stated that Azerbaijan continues to threaten Armenia and a military adventure of Azerbaijan could be expected any day.

Sargsyan had gathered leaders of all branches of power at a meeting at the Ministry of Defense to say that the first priority of the state is to maintain security. He urged all to consolidate around the armed forces and be ready for mobilization -- because Armenia from now on is the guarantor of the physical security of Karabakh.

“The main threat to our security is the clearly anti-Armenian, fascist, militarist policy of the leadership of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan openly violates the ceasefire agreement, soldiers are periodically killed along the line of contact and the leadership of Azerbaijan is responsible for their blood,” stated Sargsyan.

Also, the head of the Armenian state said that Armenia is a part of various integration processes, at the same time it is being guided by its own economic and strategic interests. “Nevertheless, the core of Armenia’s security will continue to be the Armenian-Russian military allied cooperation, which has proved its viability. In this context, we attach great importance to our membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization,” said Sargsyan.

“By entrusting to this organization certain components of our security, we believe this organization is one of the guarantors of our security,” he continued, adding, that Armenia is also in close cooperation with NATO, trying to learn its best practices.

“Armenian peacekeepers continue to participate in NATO missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo, but the core is cooperation with Russia,” concluded Sargsyan.

The agreement on the extension of the lease on the Russian military base in Armenia and transfer to Russia of the functions on protecting the security of Armenia signed in 2010 drew some criticism of the leadership over its unilateral policy. Many call for a revision of relations with Russia and transition from vassal to political arrangements. As a result, Armenia strengthened the European direction of its policies and in November 2013 it may sign an association agreement with the European Union. But the Armenian authorities are trying to provide a “division of labor”: they leave economy and democratic reforms to the West and security to Russia.

Europe has already stated that Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will block the way for the establishment of a deep and comprehensive free trade area with the EU. The day will surely come when Europe will also declare the inadmissibility of the presence of the Russian military base in any country associated with the EU.