Friday, December 11, 2020

Only Way Armenia Can Take Revenge for Loss of Qarabagh is to Become Part of a Russian Union State, Latvian Analyst Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 9 – Armenia lacks the population to field a larger army and the money to purchase more modern arms, thus limiting its ability on its own to take revenge for its loss of the occupied territories in Azerbaijan, Zintis Znotins says. The only obvious way out is to join a union state with Russia.

            But it is far from clear, the Latvian security analyst says, that Armenians would be willing to sacrifice their independence; and it is certain that were such a union to form, Tbilisi would likely step up its efforts to join NATO and that Baku would as well, something that should give Moscow and Yerevan pause (

            Armenia has discovered that its membership in the CIS and the Organization for the Collective Security Treaty has given it little in its conflict with Azerbaijan and that its more than 250 bi-lateral agreements with Russia have not made it into a genuine “strategic ally” ( and

            Indeed, even before the latest round of fighting took place, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan criticized former Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan for purchasing 42 million dollars-worth of what were supposed to be modern weapons from Russia but that turned out to be little more than scrap metal (

            That makes the comments of Pashinyan, not to speak of others, about the need for Armenia to broaden and deepen its military and security cooperation with Moscow intriguing. Given the current state of bilateral ties, Znotins says, what more could Armenia possibly seek and what more could Russia give?

            In the wake of the fighting, Armenia doesn’t have more money to buy more arms from Russia, and it can’t transform a situation in which Azerbaijan not only has more money to buy weapons not only from Russia but from other countries as well but a far larger pool of men who can serve in its military (

            The only way out of this dilemma for Armenia, the Latvian analyst says, is for the Armenian military to become part of the Russian armed forces, something that “would be possible only if Armenia became a subject of Russia or if the two countries decided to establish a union state.”

            That would certainly please Vladimir Putin and give Russia a useful and much larger base in the Caucasus, but only if Armenians accepted such an arrangement that their leaders might feel compelled to agree to and if Georgia and Azerbaijan did not react by seeking far closer integration with the West.

            “It is difficult to predict how the Armenians would view such a turn of events,” Znotins says. “Undoubtedly, they would be happy to defeat Azerbaijan and recover Qarabagh, but would they be happy if at the same time Armenia returned to the close embrace of the Kremlin?”

            But one can say for certain that “if this happened, Georgia and Azerbaijan must strengthen their own military forces and consider joining NATO,” exactly the opposite result that Moscow would want.

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