Experts believe Russia will insist on Armenia's effective CSTO membership
    Yerevan should quit playing games

    INTERVIEWS  10 February 2024 - 17:55

    Vadim Mansurov
    Caliber.Az

    Russia seems to have had enough of Armenia's attacks on the CSTO, which is understandable. While Yerevan remains in the bloc and seems to have no intention of leaving, it regularly denounces Russia's "inactivity" and is stepping up military-technical cooperation with the West, including NATO. It seems that Moscow wants to put an end to this game.

    This week, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Pankin "urged his colleagues in Yerevan to start discussing overdue issues at the political and expert level, rather than engaging in public emotional outbursts and criticising the Organisation".

    "We are all interested in further improving the activities of the CSTO and its effectiveness as a politico-military alliance. This would undoubtedly be facilitated by Armenia's early return to normal and full work within the organisation. Unfortunately, our Armenian allies have so far really distanced themselves from this," the diplomat said.

    Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also called on Yerevan to cooperate constructively. "In this sense, the return to active cooperation within the CSTO is first and foremost in the interests of Armenia itself," Zakharova said.

    How should Moscow's appeal to Yerevan be interpreted? Does Moscow really believe that it's time to come to terms with conflict-prone Yerevan? Caliber.Az posed these questions to Russian experts.

    According to journalist and political observer Timur Bulgakov, this isn't the first time that the Russian Foreign Ministry has spoken out about Armenia, calling on Armenia to stop publicly criticising Russia and the CSTO.

    "The current rhetoric of Armenian politicians is probably related to the fact that they see what is happening in Ukraine and are afraid that they will lose Zangezur and Azerbaijan will end up on the shores of Sevan (Goycha - ed.). Although now Yerevan may be feeling a bit giddy with success after France supplied Armenia with several dozen armoured vehicles, this 'triumph' has clouded the minds of some Armenian politicians. However, it is a much more complicated issue for Western countries to send more expensive and important military equipment. It should also be understood that Armenia's transition to NATO standards means a huge amount of money, which the country cannot obtain. And France or the US will probably not be ready to provide such significant resources to Armenia, a country of minor or third-rate importance," Bulgakov said.

    According to him, provocative and blackmailing attempts are to be expected regarding the Russian 102 military base in Gyumri, Armenia. However, against the background of Armenia's gigantic political and military losses and Azerbaijan's strengthening both in the region and in the whole Eurasian space, much of this is just being played out in order to somehow save face.

    "I think that the Armenian authorities understand that despite making active statements, consulting with Western partners, contacting Western countries, first of all, France and the USA, they can't get any firm security guarantees. Only the CSTO can provide them. And despite all this ridiculous game, the issues of participation in the CSTO are very sensitive and extremely important for Armenia," Bulgakov stressed.

    Anton Bredikhin, a political scientist, researcher at the Institute of China and Modern Asia of the Russian Academy of Sciences, editor-in-chief of the journal Archont and president of the Centre for Ethnic and International Studies, noted that Russia is tired of the Armenian leadership's constant accusations against the CSTO and threats to leave the bloc.

    "I would like to remind you that even during the Armenian chairmanship of the CSTO there was a crisis in relations, Yerevan acted destructively within the organisation, although it was possible to somehow properly start discussing the accumulated problems. But today, when Armenia is, let's say, completely in the hands of the West, when its main partner and "sister" is France, and Yerevan itself actually pursues a pro-NATO policy, Russia wants an answer: how long will this go on and why, what does Yerevan want? If you want changes in the CSTO, please propose them, but don't just criticise and accuse them indiscriminately. That is why Russia will insist that Armenia should be an effective member of the CSTO and not make empty attacks aimed at disintegrating the bloc," Bredikhin concluded.

    Caliber.Az

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