Details of Russian Arms Sales to Baku Emerge

Russian-made tanks, artillery systems and attack helicopters on display at a military base in Nakhichevan


MOSCOW (RFE/RL)—Russia has officially admitted supplying more tanks and other heavy weapons to Azerbaijan than Armenia in the past several years, in annual reports submitted to the United Nations.

Citing Russian government data, the UN Register of Conventional Arms revealed this week that Azerbaijan received 72 tanks, 34 armored vehicles, 456 artillery systems, 37 attack helicopters and 1,200 rockets and missile systems from Russia in 2007-2013.

By comparison, Moscow reported the delivery to Armenia of 35 tanks, 200 rockets or missiles and 50 launchers used for them. The Armenian military also received 110 Russian armored vehicles in the same period. Most of those deliveries took place last year, according to the UN registry.

Some observers believe that the real amount of Russian arms supplies to Yerevan, mainly carried out at knockdown prices or free of charge, is larger than is shown by the official data. They say that a considerable part of Russia’s military assistance to its main regional ally is not officially declared.

Still, Russian-Azerbaijani military cooperation is causing growing concern in Yerevan even if Armenian officials avoid publicly criticizing it. Representatives of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) on Wednesday declined to comment on the latest revelation about the scale of that cooperation.

Opposition politicians did not shy away from denouncing Moscow’s arms deals with Baku. Naira Zohrabian of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the second largest parliamentary force, called them “troubling.” “We have to do something serious about that,” she said. “We must not be satisfied by Russian officials’ explanations that it’s a merely commercial affair.”

Former Foreign Minister Alexander Arzumanian, a pro-Western opposition figure, said that Russia is acting against the spirit of its military alliance with Armenia and that the latter must stop regarding it as a reliable partner. “Russia’s sole leverage in the South Caucasus is the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” Arzumanian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “From their perspective, it is in Russia’s interests to keep tension high and act like the main arbiter in case of a renewed [Armenian-Azerbaijan] war.”

Russia’s arms sales to Armenia’s arch-foe are continuing despite the Armenian concerns. In particular, the Azerbaijani army has yet to take delivery of most of about 100 T-90 tanks purchased from Moscow in 2012. Russian and Azerbaijani officials have estimated the total volume of bilateral defense contracts signed since 2010 at nearly $4 billion. The Moscow daily “Kommersant” reported last month that the figure could rise to $5 billion by the end of this year.

Authors

Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.

25 Comments

  1. Armenian said:

    The “promise” of Russian intervention in the case of a war has always been a weak one, and one that was consistently made with the intention of having it be broken when Moscow will have to turn talk into action. This was only said in order to keep us forced into a corner.

    We gave up everything– including sovereignty– to an “ally” that now openly admits to arming our enemy more than us. We gave them the rights to our gas, in hopes that the costs will go down, they don’t, and on the contrary, they rise. We give them our country hoping they will keep us safe from harm’s way, and they don’t, and instead, help arm people who make overt declarations of a new genocide against Armenians. This is what happens when you give someone everything they ask for and more. Given Azerbaijan’s courting of Russia by turning it down left and right (unlike giving it whatever it wants like we do), it seems to me that Russia would be happier to see the Azeris win the war than us. Now that the Russians control our entire country, I can easily see them demanding that Armenia withdraw from all of Karabagh in order to court the Azeris into their stupid Customs Union. I can easily foresee a situation in which Russia helps Azerbaijan win the war so the conflict is settled entirely in their favor and Aliyev will have the ability to preserve his autocracy under the Customs Union’s “Authoritarian/Dictators” only banner. What’s even worse is, Russia realistically has the power to do that and there is nothing we can do because our decision-making was clouted by eloquent praises of love and admiration for Russia.

    This is what we deserve for having such a large chunk of our public by blind, braindead Russophiles who constantly insist on having Russia take care of everything instead of trying to fix our problems by ourselves.

    I predicted this would happen a few months ago. What happened? The same fanatics called me a Turk, a traitor and the like, and said that “I wish for this to happen to Armenia”. Clearly the Russophile attack-dogs got their wish.

    • Hratch said:

      Where is Sarkis’ counter rebuttal? It seems he conveniently disappeared ever since this news came out.

  2. From Russia Without Love said:

    See how mother Russia cares for us? The region remains balanced so that we can have peace while in poverty. We should not worry about the local Turkos claiming they will destroy Armenia, it is just a Kavkaz joke. It’s funny right? God bless mother Russia for supplying Armenia’s enemies with deadly weapons instead of lobbying for no one to sell them weapons because then Armenia’s dry bread might disappear completely. But just in case we try to take Russia’s, I mean Armenia’s other lands back, the brave Russian army is ready to prevent us from advancing like they did in the Karabakh war. The Russian army will even kill Armenians like they did before so that we won’t advance to neutralize our enemies, because that may cause destabilization and so it means mother Russia cares for all of us.

    • hidi said:

      ***** lets not talk about mother Russia., lets leave that to the Russians.., how about coming up with an collective ideas and political strategy’s to talk about.., so we can protect “mother Armenia” and its national interests.

  3. Ferenc said:

    As long as Armenia keeps the leading edge in technology and superiority in weapons quality, the Azeries can sink themselves in a sea of hardware. It will not matter in the long run. Qualitative superiority over quantitative factors will favor Armenia in the forthcoming crucible. Nothing, nothing, will wrest Artsakh away from Armenia.

    • Armenian said:

      Not even Russia, a country that has been given the deed to our home, and can virtually terrorize us economically, socially if not literally with its stockpile of weaponry in Gyumri? If Russia feels that Azerbaijan should get Karabagh so that it can appeasing Baku into joining the Customs Union, then Russia will give Azerbaijan Karabagh. Just as it was done initially when Azerbaijan’s borders were drawn by an entity that was not us, we will have no say in the matter even though we very clearly fought for that land and won by ourselves.

      The weaker states will always lose, as nobody needs to answer to them. By siding so closely with Russia and not trying to diversify our relations soon enough, have made ourselves an incredibly weak state by not addressing destructive issues in our government and society. We have lost our sovereignty and are about to lose something even bigger than that: land. Russia can and will happily wrest Artsakh away from Armenia because Russia acts in its own interests. It’s about time Armenia and Armenians started doing the same, too, and not circle-jerking to that mindless drivel that is that Rise of Russia blog.

  4. James said:

    I suppose Washington/NATO is generously going to provide military assistance to Armenian in combating the dictatorship in Baku? Fat chance.

    “Pro-Western” officials in Armenian only know how to whine, instead of offering concrete solutions with realistic steps that keep the geo-strategic relations in the region in mind.

    • Armenian said:

      Please. The EU was turning a blind eye to the Karabagh issue when Armenia was about to signed the EU Association Agreement.

  5. Hratch said:

    Thank you Mother Russia, we are forever grateful to your benevolence. We always knew that you are the most khelok (smart) people. Now just tell us what other concessions you want from us? We are ready, willing and able to deliver your every request.

  6. Sokimag said:

    That’s how Russia treats it’s allies. I guess it’s time for Armenia to show Russia that it will not remain dependent to Russia. Because if we remain dependent, Armenia is doomed. There is no way Armenia will become great if Armenia remains in this situation. Russia, our ally, is helping our enemy more than it is helping us.

    Armenia always needs to keep balance of foreign policies. Always. We simply cannot afford to put all our trust in one single nation. We have to have good relations with the West, Russia, China, etc. We need to look at Armenia’s interests FIRST, before “mother” Russia as some would like to call here.

    One cannot consider itself Armenian if he puts Russia’s interests before Armenia’s interests. Armenia’s interests must be the top priority. I’m not saying we should sever our friendship with Russia, but we shall not be their slaves. That is unacceptable for any self-respecting Armenian. Armenians are not slaves of any foreign nation.

    Look at Hayk, the legendary patriarch of Armenians. He rebelled against the tyrant king Bel, fought back and even defeated that fool king. We, Armenians, must be like Hayk, our beloved patriarch. Fight back and not submit to the enemies. Not submit to Russia, not submit to Turkey, not submit to Azerbaijan, not submit to the West. That’s how a true Armenian is. A great Armenian warrior is.

  7. GeorgeMardig said:

    To Russia the proceeds of the sales are not as important as to keep the status quo between Azerbaijan and Armenia, thus keeping the west away from the area.

    • Armenian said:

      Yes. So therefore we should remain in a perpetual state of warfare and economic hopelessness because Russia feels like the West should not have any presence in the region.

      • GeorgeMardig said:

        That’s it, you can’t do anything about it, US is worst than Russia, they don’t even respect the signature of their own President Woodraw Willson, neither recognize the Armenian Genocide, contrary knowingly the truth they lie and cooperate with Turkey

        • Armenian said:

          The Treaty failed to take effect because Congress rejected it at the time, not because the US is bad. The US is not the one keeping Armenia and Azerbaijan at odds with one another so that there is a market for weapons sales. This tension dramatically reduces the quality of life in Armenia, as well as the average Armenians’ possibility to thrive in their homeland. From the Armenian standpoint, Russia is much, much worse than the US.

  8. dvo said:

    Azerbaijan states it will use smerches from naxichevan to bombard Armenia

    • Armenian said:

      Of course. They still believe Zangezur is theirs and want a common border want to connect their country with the other half of it). Numerically speaking, it seems probable. There are more people in Nakhichevan than in all of Southern Armenia put together. Just as the idiot Republican Party has helped depopulate Armenia (especially Southern Armenia) by literally encouraging people to leave the country if they don’t like what they’re doing, we’re going to pay for it dearly for our short-sighted policies and our complacency with the idiots and geghatsis who govern Armenia.

  9. Armenian said:

    Now that we’ve spat on the EU and the West, and were forced by Russia to tarnish our reputation with them by (that “consultation” in Moscow at the very last minute resulting in the U-turn away from the EU was planned ahead of time by Putin to isolate Armenia and paint it as an unreliable, volatile and counterproductive partner and all-around unattractive entity to work with given that it can work on an agreement for four years then throw it down the drain, and it worked, the EU wants nothing to do with us) we literally have no where to go and are heading towards a very, very deadly confrontation. It’s rather obvious that Azerbaijan knows that Russia is where it will have to turn to solve its Karabagh problem, and not the EU. Its flirtation with the EU is only an act, and a way for it to show Russia that it has alternatives (something that we could have also done had we been a bit more assertive). I am certain that in the end, the Azeris are going to ask for all of Karabagh before joining the Customs Union, and I am certain that Russia will give it to them because they virtually own our entire country, and the spineless pieces of shit who call themselves HHK.

    I can already see Russia playing a very active role in the resumption of warfare in the South Caucasus and Karabagh in particular. The Russians will assert pressure on us to give up the surrounding regions of Karabagh to Azerbaijan so that they can enter the Customs Union, while Armenians and Karabaghtsis in particular will object and will even go so far as to fight. If fighting does resume, the Russians will cash their checks on all of the artillery that will be consumed for the short time warfare does take place, and then if they see that we’re advancing too much, they can use the military base in Gyumri to start terrorizing Armenia from within and force it to give up so that the Azeris are not too badly defeated (if at all)

    Now not only will our sacrifices from the initial Karabagh war be lost and forced to be given away to the Azeris by Russia, but we will have succeeded in virtually losing our statehood to Russia in everything but name all because we believed that Russia would “protect us” in the outbreak of war and we should therefore continue to give it everything it wants. Best of all, the Republican Party of Armenia will be trying to sell pulling out of Karabagh to the Armenian people– after all, they have always been pushing Moscow’s interests more than that of the entire country and have always caved into pressure.

    At the end of the day, blind allegiance and loyalty to Russia is going to cost us dearly and we will have to pay for our stupid decision-making with blood. Worst of all, we have more odds stacked up against us than we did last time around, especially because Russia will be working in Azerbaijan’s favor this time around because it wants it in its idiotic union, and with Armenia and Azerbaijan under its belt, Georgia will become easier to consume. None of this is coincidental or emotional. The only emotional arguments being made on this site are by fanatic Russophiles pushing the Kremlin’s agenda on here and the nonsense that is that “Orthodox Brotherhood” that will slow feel the cold barrel of a gun pushing against our heads. God bless Mother Russia, the Russo-Armenian alliance and save it from all logical people both in Armenia and in the Diaspora!

  10. Robert said:

    Time to keep a cool head about us and not the time to announce how pro Western we are and throw Russia out. Take a look at our history and face up to reality. As much as we love Armenia, we must recognize that we are a small nation with a relatively small fighting force. That’s not to say that we can’t fight. We can fight and just as we did in the liberation of Artsakh, we can win. But lets be realistic here, we can’t just tell the Russian to go take a hike. No… the reality here is that we Armenians are in a tough situation and hey… what else is new. We’ve been in tough situations for the last 2500 years. Again… lets keep it cool… play the game… and look to do our best with the cards we’ve been dealt.

  11. hidi said:

    **** Long live free & strong and prosperous Armenia…., we should come out of this victimized clothing and have more of an aggressive and assertive Armenian government and population.., we are smarter than the barbaric Azeris.., period..!!!

  12. Gassia Deuvletian said:

    If Azerbaijan doesn’t buy from Russia it will from the west…it is even offering to pay more than the market price…now which do you prefer? Our army dealing with arms it knows and is used to or new ones from the west? Do you prefer the money goes to the west whose interests are definitely with Turkey and Azerbaijan to weaken Russia? When did the west ever helped Armenia? Wake up people….with all Russia’s faults I am afraid it is our only choice unless we decide to unite and strengthen our country( and it is done when you are strong economically and you depend on no one)…

    • Armenian said:

      More defense of Russia. The West acts in its interests. Turkey and Azerbaijan offer things to the West that we clearly don’t even offer to our own people (given that they’re leaving en masse). Armenia is for and run by oligarchs, and that alone makes it an unattractive environment for anyone to invest in, let alone have any serious diplomatic relations with. When people like Dodi Gago or Nemets Rubo are representing your country abroad, can you blame them? Armenia needs to offer something to the West before it can expect the West to show some interest in it. At this time, Armenia is even alienating its own citizens, as well as everyone who once had even remote alliances with it (Ukraine, the EU) so don’t blame the West for turning a blind eye to us.

      • www.Voskanapat.info said:

        Your propaganda is getting old. When did Ukraine have a remote alliance with Armenia? Was it when they supplied volunteers to drive Azeri Turk tanks and bomber pilots during the Artsakh Liberation War?

        Anybody can see YouTube documentaries of Western Ukrainian Nazi (yes, the ones killing people in Eastern Ukraine now) mercenaries caught in Artsakh? What a shameful bunch of State Department rubbish you are trying to present here as facts!

        Ukraine has been selling arms to Azeri Turks all these years and was ready to supply more tanks. If that deal went through Armenia would be in more trouble.

        Russia supplies Armenia with modern weaponry almost free of charge. Russia explicitly stated that Azerbaijan cannot use the weapons it purchased against Armenians.

*

Top