“Moscow mulls retaliatory strike on Yerevan”
    Foreign experts on Caliber.Az

    INTERVIEWS  27 February 2024 - 13:11

    Vadim Mansurov

    President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko urged Armenia not to be stupid and to think carefully before leaving the CSTO. Lukashenko specifically suggested, "not to be hasty and not to make sudden movements." He emphasized the ease of departure but warned about the difficulty of returning, subtly alluding to potential consequences.

    In addition, Lukashenko assured that the CSTO itself would not suffer from Armenia's withdrawal, stating, "We react to this absolutely calmly. If they don't want to be in the CSTO, it won't collapse, it won't fall apart."

    Meanwhile, Dmitry Peskov, the Press Secretary of the Russian President, pointed out that the Russian Federation would continue seeking clarification from Armenia regarding the [freezing] of work in the CSTO. Peskov asserted that there is no such provision as a "freeze" in the CSTO plan, necessitating further discussions with Armenia about their statements.

    How should the reactions of the Kremlin and Minsk to the new passages of unpredictable Yerevan be viewed? How can events unfold further? Caliber.Az asked political analysts with these questions.

    Thus, according to Russian political scientist Alexander Ryabtsov, it is already evident from Moscow's reaction that this political pirouette of Armenia will not be painless.

    "Moscow understands perfectly well that the suspension of cooperation with the CSTO is an almost certain sign that Armenia will start even more intensified cooperation with the military structures of the West, primarily the EU. This means that the Armenian authorities will fuel anti-Russian sentiments in society, including by organising provocations against the Russian military in Armenia and other anti-Russian activities. Therefore, Russia is extremely concerned about such behaviour of Yerevan and would like to prevent such games," the political analyst noted.

    According to him, the Kremlin has long tolerated the fact that Yerevan has been actively building up the number of special services of European countries on the territory of Armenia, and judging by Peskov's statement, Moscow intends to give Yerevan a tough interrogation.

    He also went on to say that Moscow is already thinking over a retaliatory strike against Yerevan, and it is unlikely to be pleasant.

    "I cannot say in which sphere this will happen, but if Yerevan does not come to its senses soon and somehow soften its position, Russia will surely tighten the screws on Armenia. And there are enough sensitive points. Starting with the passage of Armenian trucks through the Upper Lars customs point on the border between Russia and Georgia and ending, for example, with the supply of gas to Armenia. Russia can simply cut off the gas pipe to Armenia if it wants to. In addition, let's not forget that there are hundreds of thousands of Armenian migrants in Moscow, and if Russia comes up with a way to detain and expel migrants, Armenia could very quickly have a fifth column of thousands that would threaten Pashinyan's power."

    "However, all of the above is likely to apply if Pashinyan completely withdraws from the dialogue with Moscow. But I think Armenia will have some "misunderstandings" in the above-mentioned spheres very soon - this is to keep Yerevan in tone," Ryabtsov stressed.

    According to Belarusian political scientist, candidate of political sciences Sergey Tomits, Lukashenko's message to Armenia should be read as a polite warning.

    "Frankly speaking, there has already appeared such a political tradition - to pre-empt Pashinyan's behaviour with Lukashenko's statements. I think, of course, it is not for nothing. And not because Belarus is the second country in the CSTO after Russia in terms of readiness to conduct operational military operations, but because Lukashenko does not say anything for nothing, there is always a background to his words, and one should be able to hear and decipher his messages."

    In this case, his words should be perceived not just as an attempt to get through to Pashinyan's logic, but as a last warning "in a nice way". Because the president of Belarus is not the level of representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry and not even the level of Peskov, the press secretary of the Russian president; this is the second person in the CSTO after Putin - one should not underestimate his appeals. This means that after Lukashenka, Putin himself will have the next word.

    So far, Putin clearly does not want to enter into this one-sided polemic, so to speak, to come down to it, apparently allowing Pashinyan to win back. It is worth noting that the President of Belarus has already brought Pashinyan to his senses once, when he tried to bring Moscow and Baku together, to interfere the CSTO in the conflict between Baku and Yerevan, thus destabilising the balance of partnership relations in the CIS - it worked then. I hope Pashinyan will listen to Lukashenka's words this time too," Tomits said.


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