Russian expert: NATO military may be deployed in Armenia under the guise of observers
    Caliber.Az talks to Dmitry Solonnikov

    INTERVIEWS  28 November 2023 - 17:30

    Matanat Nasibova

    Caliber.Az had an interview with Dmitry Solonnikov, director of the Russian Institute of Modern State Development.

    - What can US activity in the South Caucasus lead to, given Washington's openly pro-Armenian stance?

    - The US is active all around the globe: Asia-Pacific, Africa, Latin America, Arctic, and Europe, including the South Caucasus. Therefore, we cannot say that there is any special activity here than elsewhere. Another thing is that in this case, we are talking about a global confrontation because the South Caucasus is a region that weaves together the interests of China ("Belt and Road" project), Russia and Türkiye. Therefore, the US seeks to show its dominance in the region, i.e. no issue can be solved without their participation, and therefore everyone should negotiate only with the US. For this reason, they demonstrate active involvement in the processes in the South Caucasus.

    What will this lead to? Rather, it will lead to a clash of interests of these countries, each will solve problems in its own way and the strongest will win.

    As for Washington's pro-Armenian position, the Americans promote their interests through Armenia, because they make any steps through bribing local elites. In particular, there is also a person in Armenia, I mean Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who fulfils US instructions and through him, Washington pursues its policy in this strategically important region.

    - What are the chances of deploying American military bases in Armenia?

    - So far this probability is minimal, it has not come to that yet. Hidden armed forces of NATO countries can be stationed on the territory of Armenia under the cover of peacekeeping missions and observers. I think no American military bases can exist there as long as Armenia is a member of the CSTO.

    - Armenia does not withdraw from the CSTO, but at the same time, it refuses to participate in the activities of the bloc...

    -I don't think Armenia is ready to leave the CSTO right now. Pashinyan understands perfectly well that Armenia does not represent any subjectivity in military terms on its own. Today, Yerevan definitely needs an external security "umbrella", so, most likely, Armenia will not take part in the CSTO events, but the de jure CSTO format will be preserved.

    - Pashinyan is trying to push the "Crossroads of Peace" project at the international level. For what purpose do you think?

    - Mainly to get some money from Europe. It's not some kind of effective project, Europe mostly likes a beautiful PR move, and they don't spare money for it.

    - According to your observations, should we expect any harsh reaction from Iran to Armenia's rapprochement with the West and the US?

    - Tehran will stick to a careful political line. Yes, Iran is interested in maintaining a common border with Armenia, but it will not enter into an open standoff with the current leadership of Armenia. Therefore, Tehran will rather stand by its conservative line in the region, staying in a calm mode.

    - How do you see Armenian-Russian relations in the near future?

    - Armenian-Russian relations will remain suspended, and Armenia will continue to distance itself from Russia. Speaking about Armenia, I am referring to the current leadership of the country, as there are both anti-Russian and pro-Russian sentiments in Yerevan, and nobody has guaranteed that there will not be another coup or another change of power. Such a scenario is quite possible. But under the current leadership, as I have already mentioned, Armenia will distance itself from Russia and keep the course of rapprochement with Europe, first of all with France.

    - In case of a coup d'état in Armenia, could a Russian protégé come to power?

    - I would not be so categorical, Russia does not organise coups in other countries, but it is quite possible that a person with more pro-Russian views or more negative attitude towards European projects could come to power. Why not? And it is not a fact that it will happen only by revolutionary means, it is not excluded that it can happen through elections.


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