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ARMENIA BECOMING COMPLETELY ISOLATED COUNTRY

The Azeri Times

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Last Friday, Armenia has signed a cooperation agreement with the European Union at the Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels, which aroused a lot of controversy about dangers for Russian-Armenian allied relations caused by Yerevan’s rapprochement with the West. The director of the Institute of Contemporary Economics Nikita Isayev told Vestnik Kavkaza about current and long term threats of it.

– Nikita Olegovich, what are the threats from Armenia’s EU Association Agreement for Russia and Russian-Armenian cooperation?

– Indeed, Armenia does not hide its integration aspirations, which are economic, military and geopolitical, in the vector of the European Union, primarily Germany and France. Yerevan explains this to the external Russian observer by the fact that Russia conducts some kind of bilateral policy towards Armenia and Azerbaijan, primarily in relation to arms sales to Baku. Yerevan also says that Moscow also is in contact with the European Union and NATO, and therefore Armenia, being a sovereign country, has the right to do the same thing, even if Russia is the basic guarantor of security for the republic. In my opinion, the approach is only partially true in diplomatic sense, since both Russia and Armenia still continue to call each other “allies,” while other countries are designated by the less obvious notion of “partners.” Despite the fact that President Serzh Sargsyan made a number of statements that the agreement with the EU is not directed against Russia and does not violate the agreements with Moscow, the event itself was not in the interests of Russia. Look, Belarus was presented at the Eastern Partnership summit not by President Alexander Lukashenko, but Foreign Minister Vladimir Makey, thus, Minsk made it clear to the organizers of the Eastern Partnership that its attitude to this project is very restrained – while Armenia, on the contrary, did not demonstrate any restraint in respect of this EU program, because Sargsyan personally led the Armenian delegation.

What does this mean for Russia? In fact, Russia’s position on the Eastern Partnership format was voiced by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who said that this program is not perceived by us as harmless. For Russia, this is the formation of a certain group of post-Soviet states to reconfigure them and put under the influence of Western countries, primarily Germany, although Berlin is wary of the Eastern Partnership, and Poland, which plays an increasing role in the disintegration processes in the western part of the post-Soviet space. In this regard, Russia continues to observe the rapprochement between the program participants and Europe with apprehension and concern.

At the same time, the Eastern Partnership is rather a club for the release of negative energy from our direct enemies, like the president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, who incites the leadership of European countries, in particular, British Prime Minister Theresa May to make tough anti-Russian statements . As long as it is limited by anti-Russian Ukraine’s statements, as long as the Eastern Partnership has no integrated image in the form of permanent governing bodies and sufficient influence on the states participating in the program, Russia will not actively react and perceive it as a serious threat. But we do not rule it out, given the way in which conflicts in the post-Soviet space are fueled at various levels, in particular, the new events in the Donbass and the Karabakh conflict that has reached direct military action over the past year and a half. Such things can be used, including, to strengthen the influence of the Eastern Partnership.

– Does it mean an even deeper separation between Armenia and Russia and its greater focus on the West?

– Yes, of course. As long as Russia does not correspond to Armenia’s understanding of the allied relations between Russia and Armenia, as for economic support and a direct pro-Armenian vector in international politics, Yerevan will continue to strengthen integration processes with the European Union and, of course, with the US, which still patronizes it.
– What is the most probable impact of a greater focus on the West for Armenia and Russia?

– The consequences of such a drift are very uncertain. Armenia is increasingly becoming a completely isolated country, among other things, it is limited by Russia’s actions, in particular, agreements with Yerevan’s direct geopolitical opponents – Baku and Ankara. Here it is worth mentioning Putin’s latest active diplomacy at the presidential level, and the tripartite meeting between Moscow, Iran and Azerbaijan, and the agreements with Turkey on the situation in the Middle East, economic and trade relations. We also should not forget the Chinese One Belt One Road Initiative, which builds different logistics branches, bypassing Armenia, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, bypassing Armenia, which turns the republic into an enclave.

Accordingly, in case of Armenia’s active movement towards the West, it will be very difficult for Europe to provide economic support to Yerevan in the existing tangle of relations in Transcaucasia, especially against the background of the Chinese factor. And in case of obvious unfriendly steps towards it, Russia can reconsider the format of allied relations with Armenia.

– In that case, are there any sectors where Armenia won’t be able to replace Russia with the European Union?

– There are historical trade relations between Russia and Armenia, Russia accounts for more than a quarter of Armenia’s trade volume, even though it mainly relates to the sale of Russian hydrocarbons. Of course, it will be much more difficult for the European Union to provide adequate supplies of energy-dependent Armenia, for which it will have to negotiate with Iran and other countries surrounding Armenia, and the EU, meanwhile, has uneasy relations with Turkey, turning into blackmail. In this regard, I believe that Armenia will try not to bring the situation to a serious strain of relations with Russia, otherwise, in case of a large geopolitical conflict, Armenia may get a threat of weakening its sovereignty.

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Armenian police sent to border with Azerbaijan

The Azeri Times

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On August 23, the first units of the Armenian internal troops will leave for the border with Azerbaijan. As reported by Azeri Daily with reference to the Armenian media, the head of the police of Armenia Valery Osipyan said this at the preparatory meeting in connection with the sending to the border of the Ministry of Internal Affairs employees.

‘Police troops are distinguished by their discipline. You have many years of experience, there are commanders who have passed the military way. I am more than sure that you will accomplish your mission with honour,’ said Osipyan to the commanders of internal troops.

The head of the Armenian police reminded that in April 2016 police troops participated in military operations in Karabakh, and promised at the first opportunity to arrive at the positions.

The first watch of the Armenian internal forces will be held in the Tavush region on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

It should be reminded that Defence Minister David Tonoyan proposed to send Armenian Internal Troops to combat duty on the border with Azerbaijan.

As is known, due to the acute shortage of military personnel experienced by the Armenian army in occupied Karabakh and on the border with Azerbaijan, residents of nearby villages were periodically recruited for combat duty. As a result, because of the lack of military discipline, unpleasant incidents occurred.

It is assumed that after the deployment of the internal troops units on the border with Azerbaijan, the Armenian Defence Ministry will have the opportunity to send additional troops to Karabakh. The fact is that there is a shortage of Armenian troops on the contact line. Many posts have only two or three servicemen on duty, and at some points of observation there is no one at all.

As noted by Valery Osipyan, in order to repulse the counter-offensive undertaken by two or three units of the Azerbaijani Army in April 2016, not only the occupation forces of Nagorno-Karabakh, but also the internal forces troops from Armenia were mobilised.

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Kocharyan returning to politics after arrest

The Azeri Times

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He again stated that the accusations against him were fabricated and that he is ready to meet with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

Former Armenian President Robert Kocharian has announced his return to politics in a statement released on 16 August. His return follows his recent release from custody.

“Consider that I have definitely returned [to politics]. It may be in different formats. I can tell you about the reasons that prompted me to return to politics. Two reasons.

“The first is the geopolitical threats that I see today. Just look at the map and see which countries surround us and what kind of relations we have with them. Today, Russian-American relations are at the lowest level since the Cold War; [there are] new sanctions, [and consider] the state of US-Iranian relations.

“And look at the behavior of Turkey. This is a different state than ten years ago. They aspired to the European Union and this has limited them in terms of aggressive policies and interference in the internal affairs of their neighbours. We know about Turkey’s relations with Azerbaijan and the unresolved Karabakh conflict.

“And try to connect it all … We have a government that, in my opinion, does not understand all this. That does not have experience. That does not understand that in this situation only a powerful army is the true guarantee of our statehood.”

 

Robert Kocharyan was the President of Armenia from 1998 to 2008. His arrest is connected to the events of 1 and 2 March, 2008. Following the presidential elections on 18 February 2008, supporters of the first president of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, demanded an investigation into the election results, claiming Levon Ter-Petrosyan won the election instead of Kocharyan. Thousands of protesters occupied the central square in Yerevan, taking part in demonstrations round the clock until 1 March.

On 1 March, military-grade weapons were used in the dispersal of crowds. Eight civilians and two police officers were killed in the process. Kocharyan was still the president of the country at the time of these events. According to data from the Central Electoral Commission, President Serzh Sargsyan was elected. However, he had not yet taken office.

Robert Kocharian also said that he is concerned about the relations between Armenia and Russia and the rhetoric of the Armenian government regarding Moscow:

“Russia is not a country with which one can speak in the language in which the Armenian authorities speak today. This is our strategic partner, with which cooperation is very important for our security.”

•  Why was the former president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan arrested and why was he released?

Robert Kocharian also once again stated that the current authorities fabricated the lawsuit against him. He believes that what is happening with him is the elimination of political opponents. Robert Kocharian considers the decision of the court on his release a victory of his lawyers.

“This is not the case when you can say that this or that part of the charge is weak or strong. All charges were based on false, falsified, artificial evidence and conclusions,” he stated.

Kocharyan called for making the trial public and giving the public an opportunity to get acquainted with the details of the criminal case.

“Let the defending side publicly speak about everything connected with the case. You will see that the whole thing is artificial, this is a model of classical political persecution,” he said.

The former president also announced he was ready to meet with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan:

“Of course I’m ready to meet with him. I never avoided negotiations, I was always ready for them.”

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Pashinyan: My predecessors wanted to surrender Karabakh

The Azeri Times

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The case of March 1 was fully disclosed, Nikol Pashinyan said during the rally in Yerevan. According to him, there is no option for a single leader of this crime to escape responsibility. Those guilty of killing ten people on March 1, 2008 will be punished.

‘Now, many people, realising that their hours are numbered, that their place is in prison, that they will answer to the people, began to present themselves as victims of political persecution,’ the Armenian premier stressed.

‘All of you will be imprisoned as assassins, I am authorised to declare it on behalf of the Armenian people, citizens of Armenia,’ Pashinyan said.

He pointed out that some people say that a ‘civil war’ is possible in Armenia: ‘Civil war can only be in your offices. How many citizens’ support do you have to start a civil war? 17 former corrupt officials and 22 other fakes. This is your civil support,’ Pashinyan said.

According to him, if someone once again threatens a ‘civil war,’ the National Security Service of Armenia will deal with it.

* * *

‘I will not sign a single piece of paper on Karabakh in secret from you. If there is an option, I will come here, I will introduce it to you, and you will decide whether we should act on this option or not,’ said Nikol Pashinyan during the rally on the Republic Square in Yerevan.

He accused his opponents of acquiring media, creating fake accounts in social networks and spreading rumours that the Pashinyan government came to power allegedly in order to ‘surrender the territories.’

According to Pashinyan, in fact it was his predecessors who planned to do it, and he has all the documents at his fingertips that confirm this.

‘We are ready for a peaceful settlement, but anyone who tries to suspect me of the intention to surrender the territories does not understand that the issue is not decided by the government, but by the people,’ Pashinyan added.

He stressed that he has not entered into any talks on Karabakh so far.

* * *

‘Today the Armenian people are more united than ever. Today is the day of victory for the entire Armenian people. This is a rally of the unity of the Armenian people,’ said Nikol Pashinyan, writes Aysor.

In their hands the rally participants hold posters with the crossed out portrait of Serzh Sargsyan.

Nikol Pashinyan also addressed the April events, as a result of which Serzh Sargsyan resigned, which, according to him, became possible only thanks to the Armenian people, not the West or the North.

‘The strength that made this unprecedented event possible, exceptional and powerful, is the Armenian people, the citizen proud and with dignity, the Diaspora, every Armenian… The direct rule of the people, the direct power of the people was established in Armenia,’ the prime minister said.

* * *

A rally was held at the Republic Square in Yerevan, convened by the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. During the rally, Pashinyan sums up his work in 100 days.

At the rally, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in support of the incumbent government of Armenia and Nikol Pashinyan.

‘This rally is not directed against anyone,’ Pashinyan said, adding that the action only symbolises 100 days of people’s victory in the ‘velvet revolution.’

He also noted that what happened was exactly a revolution, because there was a change in the system of government.

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