Russia, Azerbaijan Hint at Further Arms Sales

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev


BAKU (RFE/RL)—General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian army’s General Staff, arrived in the Azerbaijani capital on Monday to attend a meeting of fellow army chiefs from other ex-Soviet states. Gerasimov also held talks with Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov and the chief of the army staff, General Nejmeddin Sadigov.

“We discussed with the chief of the [Azerbaijani] General Staff further military-technical cooperation. There are prospects for stepping it up,” Gerasimov told Hasanov, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

Hasanov was reported to praise the “high level” of that cooperation. “In recent years, a lot of work has been done in this direction,” he said. “Today Azerbaijan’s armed forces receive modern weapons from Russia. That helps to boost our country’s defense capability.”

“Russia is our main partner in military-technical cooperation,” Sadigov said for his part. “The implementation of big [arms] deals is continuing.”

The scale of those deals was most recently exposed in June last year when it emerged that Russian has begun delivering $1 billion worth of offensive weaponry, including about 100 tanks, to Azerbaijan in accordance with defense contracts signed in 2010-2011. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in August that “the volume of military-technical cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan is measured at $4 billion and it tends to grow further.”

The Russians had previously supplied Azerbaijan with state-of-the-art S-300 air-defense systems worth hundreds of millions of dollars. They also agreed in 2010 to sell 24 Mi-35 helicopter gunships for a combined $360 million.

The recent Russian arms deliveries to Armenia’s arch-foe raised eyebrows in Yerevan, with local politicians and pundits accusing Moscow of acting against the spirit of the Russian-Armenian military alliance. Armenian government leaders refrained from voicing such criticism, however. They insisted that the Russian-Azerbaijani defense contracts will not change the military balance in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Top Russian security officials gave similar assurances last summer. They also implied that Russian military assistance to Armenia will continue unabated.

Russian arms supplies to Armenia, mostly carried out free of charge, appear to have intensified in the last few years. “In the last three years we have acquired as much weaponry as we did in the previous 20 years,” Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian declared in September.

Russian assistance is critical for Armenian efforts to offset Azerbaijan’s massive military build-up. The Azerbaijani government has increased annual military spending by almost 30 times to $3.7 billion during Aliyev’s decade-long rule. Aliyev regularly threatens to forcibly regain control over Karabakh and other Armenian-controlled territories surrounding it.

General Gerasimov reportedly told the Azerbaijani military leaders that Moscow is against attempts at a military solution to the Karabakh conflict.

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19 Comments

  1. Armenian said:

    God Bless Mother Russia and protect the Russo-Armenian alliance from all enemies foreign and domestic.

  2. Armenian said:

    I wonder how many times Armenians are going to get slapped across the face by any foreign power we try to cling to for us to collectively realize that the only hope we have is collective strength within ourselves and self-reliance.

  3. Danoog said:

    This is Armenia’s thanks for joining Putin’s crappy trade organization.

  4. Vindicated Man said:

    If Alibaba and his 40 thieves choose to misbehave, Russia will take these toys back.

  5. GeorgeMardig said:

    Hasanov …..“Today Azerbaijan’s armed forces receive modern weapons from Russia. That helps to boost our country’s defense capability…… to defend Against who? Instead of spending their money on improving the quality of life of his people and education, Aliyev and his family are busy to embezzle and misuse the monies of his people, WHAT A WASTE.

  6. Avetis said:

    Oh God, no. This is it, Russia has betrayed us just like what our Russophobes had been claimining all the while. Dashnaktsutyun help!. Please help us save Armenia! Oh, dear…

  7. Sokimag said:

    Russia is acting for it’s own interest again. Wanting to sell more weapons to Azerbaijan. All this shows that Russia is not pro-Armenia, nor is it anti-Armenia. It is simply pro-Russia. There is a difference between knowing we need Russia and between worshipping Russia. I hope the former attitude is more common among Armenians. We have no right to criticize other countries that sell weapons to Azerbaijan if our closest ally Russia does it too.

    • Armenian said:

      No, there’s a clear double standard. Russia can act in its own interests, while when the Western countries that act indirectly act against Armenia through their support of Turkey are apart of a Zionist plot to destroy us. This is claimed even after the fact that Russia itself is contributing militarily to a country that very explicitly seeks to destroy Armenia. Don’t get me wrong, it is absolutely inexcusable for me that any country sell weapons to Azerbaijan, but if we’re going to condemn Israel, the US, Turkey and NATO for doing so, you might as well toss Russia in there as well because what they do is no different from what the others have done.

      Clearly this is okay because some in the Kremlin have convinced naive Armenians that there is a romantic “Orthodox Brotherhood” in place, and that Russia has a special relationship with Armenians, even though it overtly disrespects and disregards that “special relationship” every time it finds it appropriate to do so. No matter how much Russia takes a slaps us across the face, we very large majority of Armenians still won’t get it because as a nation, we choose to defer our problems onto others and hope that by being passive in things that matter to us, our situation will miraculously get better.

      Our problem is that we as a nation don’t look out for our own interests, and instead choose to devote ourselves to one party or another hoping that they’ll be nice and throw us a bone. It saddens me to see how much Armenia has a country has lost in terms of dignity. Our people as well as our leaders (if it’s even safe to call them that) are so easily manipulated because we continue to place all of our hopes onto the backs of others, not realizing that if the proper opportunities and avenues for diaspora-based and foreign investments and cooperation were created, we could do a lot more than just hand everything over to Russia by default because they asked for it.

    • H. Boghossian said:

      Very well said. Don’t worship false Gods…only respect them for what they’re worth at the moment.

    • GeorgeMardig said:

      Russia is acting for it’s own interest again?…….. All the world act on behalf of their own interest, ARMENIA and ARMENIANS SHOULD LEARN THIS ”ONCE FOR ALL” .

      • Armenian said:

        Exactly. The first step is by not pledging loyalty to neither Russia nor the West, and picking and choosing the best parts of each instead of devoting ourselves entirely to the Kremlin and giving them waaaaaay more than they even asked for.

  8. H. Boghossian said:

    Mixed messages from Russia again. What can U say. We’re like ducks in the sea, only the waves determine our direction.

    • Armenian said:

      We can also determine our own direction, but we’re busy being complacent with oligarchs and sitting on our hands, hoping Russia will coddle us with their benevolence and undying affection.

  9. H. Boghossian said:

    This is just a divide and conquer technique by the Russians. They don’t want either side to be stronger than the other, but yet at the same time have enough power to create tension in the region and have Russia step in and exploit the situation for if necessary. Standard MO from the KGB manual Putin keeps on his night table.

  10. Armenian said:

    Where are the Kremlin fans? Or do we like to pick and choose the realities and negative implications of what’s going on on the ground?

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