Russia Plans Further ‘Modernization’ Of Armenia Base

Heavy artilery vehicles with Armenian and Russian flags during last year's join exercises (photlure)

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Russia considers its military base in Armenia to be vital for the South Caucasus country’s national security and will continue to strengthen it with modern weaponry, a visiting top Kremlin official said on Monday.

“I think the presence of Russian servicemen is a guarantee that there will be no negative developments in Armenia,” Nikolay Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, said at the headquarters of the base in the northwestern Armenian city of Gyumri.

“It’s a very modern, good military base that will continue to be modernized,” he told journalists there.

Asked what concrete forms that modernization will take, Patrushev said, “The [Russian and Armenian] ministers of defense are dealing with that. They have a plan. The military base will evolve and be modernized. I must point out, though, that it is already combat-ready and able to accomplish any task.”

Moscow has already bolstered the Soviet-era facility with new military hardware since the signing in 2010 of an agreement with Yerevan that extended the Russian military presence in Armenia until 2044. The agreement also upgraded the base’s security mission, leading Armenian officials to imply that 5,000 or so Russian soldiers serving there would intervene in case of another war with Azerbaijan.

As well as helping the Armenian military and strengthening its military base, Russia has been selling weapons to Azerbaijan, however. Patrushev effectively confirmed the sale of $1 billion worth of Russian tanks, artillery systems and other weapons to Azerbaijan, which was reported by Russian media last week. “Russia engages in trade with all countries and any country can legally buy weapons from Russia,” he said when asked about those reports.

The Russian arms supplies to Azerbaijan have prompted serious concern from Armenian analysts and opposition figures. Some of them have accused Moscow of betraying Armenia, its main ally in the region. The Armenian government has dismissed such concerns, saying that the reported deliveries will not change the balance of forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Patrushev traveled to Gyumri on the second day of his visit to Armenia that began with a meeting with President Serzh Sarkisian. A statement by Sarkisian’s press office said the two men discussed “regional developments challenges” and the Karabakh peace process.

Patrushev’s Armenian opposite number, Artur Baghdasarian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Friday that the Russian official’s visit will result in a new Russian-Armenian agreement relating to defense and security. He declined to elaborate.

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19 Comments

  1. GB said:

    Russia needs Armenia more then Armenia needs Russia. Oil rich North Caucasus is very important for RF security. Our stupid uneducated Armenian politicians can not take the most out of Russians and Western world to make Armenia’s geopolitical location as important as Turkey. Only Armenia’s military power and healthy economy, and right democracy will force Turkic tribes surrounded and live in Armenian Highlands to make compromises, recognize Armenian Genocide officially, and leave us alone forever!!

    • George said:

      Russia without Armenia is Russia. Armenia without Russia is dead. Our stupid politicians are showing their stupidity when they try to undermine Russia. You need to take a look at Cold War history to see why Turkey is very close to USA.

      P.S. Armenian politicians get stupider as you go more left on the spectrum.

    • GeorgeMardig said:

      Russia can take the risk of loosing Armenia, Amenia can’t take that risk. Washington in 20 years couldn’t make Turkey open the border with Armenia. an act that is agaist Int’l law.

    • Armanen said:

      Democracy has nothing to do with it. A democracy does not ensure a strong military, nor economy. Armenia needs a better form of government, whether that is democracy or something else is an unanswered question at this point.

      Regardless, this is good news and further proof that Russia is very serious about stepping up its presence in Armenia and by extension the S. Caucasus.

      • Avetis said:

        I agree my friend. “Democracy” is actually the best way to create a failed state – very fast. For the deaf, dumb and blind amongst us: the political system in the West is a tightly control, elitist system where only a handful of selected political parties participate in the political process. If you want to see what real democracy does to nations, you only need to look at Iraq, Libya and Syria.

        Reading the comments of our Captain Americas, I am frightened at how zombified people have become. It’s an upside down turned world.

  2. lobo said:

    “The agreement also upgraded the base’s security mission, leading Armenian officials to imply that 5,000 or so Russian soldiers serving there would intervene in case of another war with Azerbaijan.”
    – If I was Russian I would like someone to look into whether this is true; because if it is, Russian (national?) arms manufacturers would be supplying arms to a potential enemy force. The notion that anybody country can legally buy weapons from you also doesn’t make you look too good, Mr. Petrushev. It is the equivalent of Armenia renting an airbase to the U.S. next to Gyumri and claiming everyone can legally do that. It would be true, but it would also be stupid.

  3. Avetis said:

    God bless Mother Russia, the last front against American imperialism, Western Globalism, Zionism, Islamic fanaticism and Pan-Turkism.

    From an Armenian perspective, the formula is rather simple: No Russia in the Caucasus means no Armenia in the Caucasus. Anyone that claims otherwise is either an agent of the West or an idiot.

    Long live the Russo-Armenian alliance.

    • Hagop D said:

      Yeah, and also no Armenia in the Caucasus means the end of Russia, and the soon to be placed nuclear arsenal in the soon to be established NATO nations of Georgia and Azerbaijan, not to mention ethnic secessionist revolts from groups like Chechens.

      Russia being on our side is great… Russia being our friends is great, but playing your trumpet on one note like you do every time you hear the word ‘Russia’ is what puts our nation in danger, and it is also what makes you a misguided patriot. Not even the Russia-serving members of the Armenian government think as blindly. Russia has a long way to go before it proves it is Armenia’s friend, and when that day comes, I welcome it.

      • Avetis said:

        Stop embarrassing yourself Hagop. Russia will remain a superpower in the Caucasus with or without Armenia. On the other hand, if for some reason Russia pulls out of the region, not even a million Hagops will prevent Armenia from turning into a Turkic/Islamic playground. Once you get this through your head, everything else will make better sense.

        PS: My sensational comments about “Mother Russia” are primarily meant to drag out our dangerous Russophobic rats from their hiding holes and beat them over the heads with a club.

        PS: Russia is a historic opportunity for Armenia. Instead of jumping on this opportunity, like Jews would have, our politically illiterate peasantry is fear mongering. Instead of figuring out ways of lobbying Armenian issues in the Kremlin, our self-destructive peasantry is fear mongering. Don’t wonder why Armenia has been so pathetic as a nation-state for over one thousand years, just look at the low caliber of those who post comments in Asbarez and Armenian Weekly…

      • Gurgen 2 said:

        It’s amazing how blind you diasporans can get. You see an enemy (US, Europe and Israel) and you think it’s your friend, you see a friend (Russia) and you think it’s your enemy. Guess what Hagop? Armenia can survive without the diaspora, but Armenia cant survive without Russia. How does that make you feel? Why don’t you visit the Russian embassy one day and thank them for keeping Turks away from Armenia for the past two hundreds years.

        But knowing your type, I’m sure you will bring up Sartarapat and Artskah as examples of how “mighty” and “invincible” Armenians are. Yes Hagop jan, if we only united we COULD TAKEOVER THE WORLD!!!

        God save us from politically illiterate nationalists…

      • Hagop D said:

        It is you who needs to stop embarrassing yourself Avetis. Your subservient attitude is pathetic. You call yourself a “real nationalist” with your allegiance to “Mother Russia” – yeah OK I believe you. You and Gurgen want to compare us to USA/Israel? I only wish that was true. While you and your friend here play your one-note Russian trumpet, “Mother Russia” is busy supplying sophisticated missile defense systems to Azerbaijan, not to mention another billion dollars in arms deals, and building a nuke plant in Turkey. At the same time, the US sends billions upon billions to Israel, while “Mother Russia” raises gas prices for Armenia’s poor who can’t afford it. “Mother Russia” gives our enemies all the weapons they want, while USA labels the enemies of Israel as terrorists, and wouldn’t be caught dead supplying them weapons.

        “You see an enemy and you think it’s your friend, you see a friend and you think it’s your enemy”. Where did I ever say that? And where did I say Armenia can survive without Russia? My message is Armenia has no friends except itself, and Russia has a long way to go before it proves it is “our friend”. Russia is vital for Armenia’s survival, but that does not mean Russia is the greatest thing that ever happened. Yes “we need to act smart with Russia” – becoming their slaves is not one of the ways to act smart. You people have done that for 70 years, and all it got us was the free handouts of Armenian territories to Turks and Georgians.

        “Armenia can survive without the diaspora” – yeah after we save Armenia from its imminent early collapse, that’s such a nice thing to say, you’re welcome. Sure it can survive without the diaspora… the way things are going as a Russian village.

  4. Harutik said:

    @ GB

    Russia needs Armenia more than Armenia needs Russia? What planet do you live on?

    For Russia Armenia is a very important piece of real estate to control for strategic purposes. Russia can get by in the region by relying on brut force, as it has been for centuries. For Armenia Russia is a vital lifeline. Without Russia scaring off regional predators, Armenia wont last long as a state. Did you ever bother looking at the neighborhood Armenia is in?

    The south Caucasus is like a table were Turks, Persians, Azeris, Georgians, Islamists, Western oil interests, Jewish interests, Armenians and Russians sit. Now imagine that table without Russia. Perhaps now you can imagine just how ridicules you sound.

  5. Gurgen said:

    I disagree that Russia needs Armenia more than Armenia needs Armenia. Russia is a nuclear power with vast resources. They will go on without us. On the other hand if Russia pulls out of Armenia, I give us a maximum of 1 month before we are squashed from both sides. Our current politicians are not stupid, they know this too well and have done everything possible to strengthen military strategic ties with the ONLY country that will help us with billions of dollars of free and subsidized weapons. I suggest all the west loving Russophobes meditate on this a little.

  6. Dave said:

    I’d like to hear the rationale from a Russian of why selling $1 bil of weapons to a sworn enemy, including 100 tanks and sophisticated missiles, helps Armenia’s security? You won’t hear an explanation-because there isn’t one you would want to hear.

  7. Ararat said:

    I think both Armenia and Russia are important to each other and in different ways but there has to be a balance in the relationship. Armenia is naturally surrounded by hostile nations and not just today but throughout its ancient and tumultuous history.

    In modern terms, Armenia today is a very young and vibrant country despite the fact it was an ancient kingdom for thousands of years with a brief independence in 1918 which was very critical and became the catalyst for its current existence among the nations of the world.

    Armenia needs the Russian bear to keep away the Turkish and pseudo-Turkish Azerbaijani wolves with their insatiable appetites and predatory schemes on our nationhood. Russia needs Armenia on its southernmost border to keep an eye on the very same wolves and their cousins to the north for their Islamic schemes on Asiatic Russia.

    It is not only ancient ties and brotherhood in Christ but also mutual enemies that bring the Armenians and the Russians together and create this mutually inclusive bond between the two nations. I don’t think the question should be whether or not one can exist without the other but how this union can mutually benefit one another.

    Russia is a superpower and not only can stand on its own but in many ways it can also dictate the course of action and the politics of the region. Armenia, as a newly independent and young country, should be smart enough to use its alliance with Russia to invest in its future and to get stronger, both economically and militarily but militarily in particular, and eventually become a force in the region to reckon with all on its own.

    The enemies of Armenia are not of the mindset to sit around a negotiating table and if they do rest-assured it is for their own benefits and to our detriment. Unfortunately, Armenia is in a region and among a people who still believes the strong dictates and there is no place for the weak. It is because of such draconic mentality of our enemies that I strongly believe Armenia must gain their respects by show of force.

    If Armenia acquired nuclear weapons all its problems will disappear overnight. If this happened, the Turkish Erdogans of the world would amuse themselves with how magnificent their Armenian-built architectures are instead of lecturing us about our history and the pseudo-Turkish Azerbaijanis would pray to Allah every day their oil pipelines are still intact and spend their time fishing on the Caspian.

    Needless to say, the nuclear weapons should eventually be used to liberate every inch of the Armenian homeland from the Caucasus to Asia Minor.

  8. Arziv said:

    Russia is our ally and close neighbor. What other allies are there without Russia ? Turkey, mortal enemy, Israel another enemy with their alliances with the Truks and Azeris . Iran ?, Azeris , Georgia ?. In any case neither Iran nor Georgia carry the weight of Russia.We are of interest to Russia from a perspective of a military base and a trustwothy ally. We need to capitalize on these two factors. We are the only trustworthy allies for the Russians in that sensitive are of Transcaucasia. We hope the Russians will invoke the return of Kars and Ardahan in the not too distant future , or at the time of redrawing the borders which will happen with the eventual disimemberment of Turkey. There is a lot of work ahead and lots of ancestral territories to be reclaimed . These can only materialized with the assistance of our Russian partners.

  9. Ricardo1 said:

    As a US taxpayer, I DEMAND a complete stoppage of any monies going to Armenia as US Military Aid (as part of the foreign aid package)!!! If Russia has been there all of these years with tons of military, missles and men, Armenia has no right to beg for money from the US!!!

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