Staunton, December 24 – Vladimir Prokhvatilov, a Moscow security analyst, says that Armenians who brought Nikol Pashinyan to power, are now disappointed in him, and, having suffered the shock of Yerevan’s loss in the recent fighting, may now show their anger at Russia by launching terrorist attacks against its forces in the South Caucasus and elsewhere.
It must be remembered, the Academy of Military Sciences expert says, that “the only terrorist act in the USSR” was carried out by “Armenian nationalists” and that Armenia, in its current situation, “almost the worst in its many-millenia-long history,” may do so against Russian targets (svpressa.ru/war21/article/285574/).
Among the most obvious of these, Prokhvatilov suggests, are Russian troops in the South Caucasus; and dangers to them need to be taken carefully into account when some are talking about increasing a Russian military presence there. That is especially true because Russia does not have a common border with Armenia.(svpressa.ru/war21/article/285574/).
Prokhvatilov’s remarks are in an article by Svobodnaya pressa analyst Sergey Aksyonov in response to calls by Edmon Marukyan, head of the Armenian opposition party Enlightened Armenia, for Moscow to open a second military base in Armenia, in the Zengezur region to block any attempt by Baku or Ankara to seize that land bridge to Nakhichivan.
The Armenian politician says that the opening of such a Russian base is “vitally important” for his country both to support Russian peacekeepers in Qarabagh and to ensure “long-term peace and security in the region” (topwar.ru/178447-armjanskaja-oppozicija-predlagaet-razmestit-v-strane-vtoruju-rossijskuju-voennuju-bazu.html).
Marukyan urges that the base be opened in Armenia’s Syunik Oblast, which is bordered by Azerbaijan, Iran, and Nakichivan, and would thus “become an obstacle if Baku were to decide to ‘push through’ a corridor through this territory.” Pashinyan’s government hasn’t commented; but, the opposition politician says, Yerevan could support it after he is ousted.
Armenian political analyst Ayk Khalatyan says that such a facility would in fact be “the third Russian military base in Armenia” because the Russian presence in Qarabagh represents the second and Gyumri the first. Moscow would need to ask itself whether it needs such an additional military presence.
The first two protect Armenia and Armenians, he says; but a third in Zengezur would be directed against Azerbaijan and might make Iran nervous as well. Despite that Armenians are likely to view it positively because they would view it as providing their country with additional security.
Moscow military analyst Aleksandr Khramchikin says that there are two aspects to the possibility of opening a base in Zengezur, The first is “where would the money for it come from?” And the second, is “how much do we, Russia, need to help Armenia?” If Yerevan does want our help, it has to behave differently than it has been doing recently.
Moscow should not be worried about offending Turkey, the deputy director of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis, says. After all, Turkey is “our most important political opponent, but there are no reasons to get into a fight with Azerbaijan. The only thing arguing for that is its friendship with Turkey.”
“Azerbaijan, unlike some post-Soviet republics, is not trying to save itself at our expense,” Khramchikin says. “On the contrary, it buys weapons with its own money, and they helped Baku in Qarabagh no less than Turkish and Israeli weapons … Armenia hasn’t thought to do this. Thus, from Russia’s point of view, Azerbaijan and Russia are two different things.”