Russia’s Defense Minister Hails ‘Strategic’ Ties With Armenia

President Sarkisian with Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov emphasized the “strategic significance” of his country’s relations with Armenia after meeting Armenian leaders and watching military exercises held by the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) near Yerevan on Wednesday.

Serdyukov joined President Serzh Sarkisian as well as his Armenian and Belarusian counterparts in monitoring the concluding phase of the five-day maneuvers held at the Armenian army’s Marshal Bagramian training ground. Kazakhstan’s top army general also arrived in Armenia on the occasion.

They looked on as about 2,000 soldiers from Armenia, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan simulated a joint operation against imaginary “illegal armed formations” invading a CSTO member state. The CSTO troops were backed up by tanks, armored vehicles, artillery systems, helicopter gunships and warplanes firing live rounds.

The drills also involved unmanned aircraft designed and manufactured in Armenia. The Krunk drones were first demonstrated by the Armenian military during a September 2011 parade in Yerevan.

Serdyukov praised the course of the war games when he held talks with Sarkisian later in the day. The Armenian president’s press office said they also discussed Russian-Armenian military ties and security “challenges” facing the region.

Serdyukov said Russian-Armenian relations are currently “at the highest level” and are strategically important to both nations after a separate meeting with Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian. The meeting focused on what the two men called a “reorganization” of Russian troops stationed in Armenia.

“We have had quite good meetings today during which we discussed a broad range of issues related to the 102nd Russian military base stationed in Armenia and its reorganization taking place within the framework of a reform of Russia’s Armed Forces,” Serdyukov told journalists.

“We are transferring about 10 facilities to the Armenian side,” he said without elaborating. “We also discussed the issue of material-technical supplies to the base and our relationships in that regard.”

The Russian minister appeared to refer to a redeployment of Russian army units in Armenia, which began in early 2011. In an apparently related development, the Russian military announced in June that it will double this year the number of its soldiers serving at the Soviet-era base headquartered in Gyumri on a contractual basis. It is still not clear if the total number of its military personnel will change as a result.

The Russian base is believed to have between 4,000 and 5,000 troops. It is equipped with hundreds of tanks, armored vehicles and artillery systems as well as sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missiles and a squadron of MiG-29 fighter jets.

A Russian-Armenian agreement signed in 2010 extended the Russian military presence in the South Caucasus nation by 24 years, until 2044, and upgraded its security mission. It also committed the Russians to helping the Armenian military obtain “modern and compatible weaponry and (special) military hardware.”

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17 Comments

  1. AraK said:

    Instead of “hailing the strategic ties” Russia should stop her hypocrisy and start helping economically Armenia, like building a new Medzamor to start with. She’s keeping Armenia under her boots and using us according the political situations. I never trusted Russians completely and never will. Enough!

    • Avery said:

      Yeah ?: why don’t you ask your AzeriTatarTurk and Neocon friends to give RoA US$15 Billion to build a new Metsamore, to start with.

      Why don’t you ask Aliyev, you know, the guy you think is ‘right’, to stop spending US$3 Billion @ year on offensive weapons to attack NKR ?

      Enough. OK I’ll break down and put in an exclamation mark: ‘Enough !’.
      You like that ?

    • Zareh said:

      If the Russians leave their base in Armenia the second and final Genocide will ensue in one day.
      Be thankful for the Russian protection. 100 years and the West continues to deny the Genocide.
      Please stop this nonsense.

  2. Avetis said:

    I want to salute the historic bond that has existed between Russia and Armenia for over two hundred years. Russia gave us Armenians the historic opportunity to reestablish a nation in the south Caucasus, we gave Russians the peace of mind knowing that Turks and Islamists will never infest the South Caucasus ever again. The Russian-Armenian alliance today is the last front in the Caucasus against American imperialism, NATO expansionism, Globalism, Zionism, Islamic fanaticism and Pan-Turkism.

    • john said:

      Oh please. Imperialism huh? That is a completely uneducated comment. Russia has always had ulterior motives as they have for years. They are on their way back so look out out surrounding states. Ready to be a puppet again? Ask Georgia. Armenia is on its way. After all lest you forget, we are the most giving country the world has ever known even if this president is a failure at his job at sustaining our reputation. He has only added vulnerability to us. Later Karl Marx.

    • Hagop D said:

      In this thread, you posted the same garbage, and attacked my post, and you want a response, so here it is.

      http://asbarez.com/105464/csto-military-exercises-begin-in-armenia/

      You’re the one who is ignorant, and clueless about Armenian culture and history. It is very well known the Soviets sent arms to Ataturk so he could invade Armenia in exchange for Azerbaijan. And you need proof that Armenia was cut up by the Soviets? Really? I know you are clueless, but are you THAT clueless?

      There is a source in Russian published 1995 Shemets: “The Soviet supply of gold and armaments to the kemalists in 1920-1922 was a key factor in the latter’s successful grab of power in an Ottoman Empire defeated by the Triple Entente and their victory in the Armenian campaign and the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922)”

      All the rest of you Russian Hayastantsi drones: Russia is Russia’s friend. The only friends Armenians have is guns. Get that through your heads. If not for the Tashnagstun there would be no Armenia today. Get that through your heads too. Thanks to our “Russian friends” Kars is gone, Nakhichevan is gone, and if it was up to them Artsakh would be gone too. And some of you here like this clown have the audacity to come here and ask “how did Russia cut up Armenia” as if thats supposed to be such a genius question.

      In addition, if Russia was “our friend”, today we would not have a growing Azeri threat, and they would have supported our cause in finishing the job in 1994. Instead they licked American boots and said “aye aye captain” when NATO threatened to attack. But when it came to their own security, they made no hesitation to invade Georgia. So get this through your thick skulls: Russia is Russia’s friend.

      This does not mean Russia is not important today for Armenia’s security, but I look at it the way I see it. You people say Russia is our friend… and I would love to see that, because based on past events that statement is simply not true.

    • Fred said:

      Avetis. Go and read the Armenian history. Russia made a treaty with Turkey to devide Armenia. When during the second War Russia invaded Germany they did not lift a finger to take our land back from the Turks. Dear friend Russia has been the worst friendly nation we have ever had.

    • Zareh said:

      Avetis, a few numbers for you to think about.

      -11 Billion Dollars: The amount of dept North Korea owed Russia, which yesterday was wiped clean by Moscow. This morning (Sept 20th) N.Korea owes Russia $0.00

      -100 Million dollars (yes with an “M”) Armenia owed Russia, in return Moscow demanded the entire energy infrastructure, heavy industry, the the entire rail system to cover the dept.

      Today, Armenia laterally has lost its energy and transport sovereignty. Not only that, Moscow forbade Armenia to have a large diameter pipeline to import gas from Iran. It forced Armenia to reduce to half the size of the original diameter so that energy dependance of Armenia on Russia is guarantied.

      This is not what I would call a strategic partnership, this is a strategic slavery.

  3. Kevork said:

    When are Armenia, Russia and Iran going to have that high-powered meeting to redraw the borders, and get Armenia a common border with Russia?

  4. Sevag said:

    Armenia needs to further enhance relations with Russia and allowing the Russians to build an early warning radar in Armenia is a good way to start. Armenia needs to make the US aware that this is not a hostile move and Armenia and the US are friends. The major goals is to eliminate the importance of the early warning radar in Azerbaijan and reduce the importance of Azerbaijan to Moscow and to strenghen Russia-Armenia military ties

    • Tigran said:

      The original contract expires in 2020. After which it will be extended for another twenty years, as has been signed. Thus 2044. :)

  5. George said:

    Russia should back Armenia and Iran to invade the terrorist country of Azerbaijan, spliting them between Armenia and Iran.

    • Zareh said:

      it is just a matter of time. Just make sure your children grow up Armenian so we repopulate the sea to sea Armenia.

  6. Armenian said:

    Some of these comments prove that Armenians are not only horrendous diplomats, but haven’t learned anything at all from the past. We must really stop being so loyal to people who occasionally sweet talk us and throw us a bone every now and then. I’ve noticed we do this with everything and everyone. We do this time and time again during every US election: vote in droves for the Republican who promised genocide recognition, then 4 years later switch our allegiance to the next candidate who will inevitably break their promise. Some Armenians are so forgetful- Russia was on Azerbaijan’s side at the beginning of the NKR War. Russia was helping level Armenian villages in NKR so that it would get Azerbaijan’s compliance with future oil and natural gas deals. Russia only started supporting Armenia after it became apparent that Azerbaijan was going to lose.

    What century do we live in, honestly? We should really stop being such one-sided cheerleaders for Russia, or anyone else for that matter. Nobody in Russia has as much adoration and love for Armenians as Armenians do Russians. If anything, Russia is the cause of a lot of Armenia’s modern day problems: corruption and the NKR problem being two of the main ones. Armenians need to stop talking about dividing other countries to protect their position in the future and start looking for themselves for that. Iran and Russia are not going to protect you or save you when it’s not in their interest. Armenians need to understand that there is no such thing as a “true and everlasting” friendship between nations in terms of politics. Russia is merely using Armenia. Countries use countries. If one country is more useful than the other, than the more useful country will be chosen. Russia does not care about Armenia’s future nor its present. It just wants what it can get from Armenia, and that’s it. I hate to see Armenians making Russia’s enemies their enemies, especially the ungrateful jerks who are trash talking the US from the US. Stop being such brown-nosers and think for yourself for a minute. Russia will not save you. Nobody but Armenians can save Armenia, but we’re too busy looking for someone to cling to for survival.

    It’s almost as if Armenia being its own country with its own support system and capital is completely out of the question now, and we’re looking to make ourselves another Russian oblast to ensure our spot in the world. The responses to this article are incredibly saddening and indicative to the modern Armenian mindset.

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