Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Russian Soldiers Sow Panic in Panik and Concerns Far Beyond that Armenian Village

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 18 – As part of an exercise that was not announced in advance, soldiers of the 102nd Russian military base in Armenia today came into Panik, a village adjoining the base, fired blanks and terrified local residents. The commander has apologized and promised an investigation, but that is hardly likely to be the end of the matter.

            At a time when Moscow is increasingly uneasy about the efforts of the new government of Nikol Pashinyan to move closer to the West, this is not the kind of event that is in any way reassuring about how Russia and Russians will behave. Instead, it is likely to alienate many in that Caucasian republic and reduce Yerevan’s willingness to defer to Moscow in all things.

            Undoubtedly, both Russian commanders and Russian diplomats on the scene will do what they can to try to calm the situation; but it is things like this that tend to cast a far larger shadow over future events than even intensive efforts by both will be able to dispel completely. Armenians are going to remember this.

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