Russia Risks Losing Armenia, ARF Leader Says

Chairperson of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau Hrant Markarian


YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Russia will lose Armenia as an ally if it continues to supply arms to Azerbaijan in large amounts, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) said on Tuesday.

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) representative of the opposition party’s Bureau Hrant Markarian reacted to recent reports suggesting that Moscow has sold modern types of weapons, including heavy materiel, worth around $4 billion to Baku in recent years.

“Russia should realize that this way it cannot keep its allies around for a long time. It should realize that this way it will lose them,” Markarian said. “One can always find options, one should always look for options, there are always ways, hard or easy, ways in which we may pay a heavy price, but still have an option. I don’t think that we are so helpless that our only way can be with Russia. And Russia should also realize this. It should realize that this is a wrong approach and it may have great losses.”

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian recently voiced dismay at continuing deliveries of Russian offensive weapons to Azerbaijan. In an interview with Argentinean media during a visit to Buenos Aires last week Sarkisian, however, insisted that Russia remains committed to its military alliance with Armenia.

“It is a very painful subject and our people are worried that our strategic ally sells weapons to Azerbaijan,” the Armenian president said. “But we are very confident that Armenia has the capability to defend its borders… Despite the fact that Russia sells weapons [to Azerbaijan] I have no doubts Russia will honor its commitments to us in times of adversity.”

Sarkisian did not specify what kind of Russian military assistance Armenia expects to receive in case of a renewed war for Nagorno-Karabakh. Meanwhile, Russia appears to have supplied more heavy weapons to Azerbaijan than Armenia, its main regional ally, in the past several years. Citing Russian government data, the UN Register of Conventional Arms revealed last month that Azerbaijan purchased 72 tanks, 34 armored vehicles, 456 artillery systems, 37 attack helicopters and 1,200 rockets and missile systems from Moscow in 2007-2013.

Russian and Azerbaijani officials have estimated the total volume of bilateral defense contracts signed between the two countries since 2010 at nearly $4 billion. A Russian newspaper reported recently that the figure could rise to $5 billion by the end of this year. Officials in Armenia have so far been careful not to publicly criticize the Russian arms supplies to Azerbaijan. Some of them have implied that they are offset by Russian military aid to Armenia.

The senior Dashnaktsutyun member believes that maintaining military balance in the region is in the interest of Russia. “This [arms supplies to Azerbaijan] is not something that we can ignore… There is only one way to make it acceptable – if Russia gives us whatever it sells to Azerbaijan free of charge while charging Azerbaijan for it,” Markarian said.

The Dashnaktsutyun representative also spoke about Armenia’s planned membership in the emerging Eurasian Economic Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, acknowledging that the decision to engage in the process stems from Armenia’s security concerns. Yerevan effectively gave up its process of association with the European Union after announcing its intention to become part of a Russian-led trade bloc last September.

Markarian said that remaining outside any blocs would be the best option for Armenia if it had no security issues. “If we could find a way to solve our security problems or to feel secure and not be a member of any bloc, but have relations with all, that would be an ideal way,” the Dashnaktsutyun leader said.

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24 Comments

  1. Arn.Sweden. said:

    Well – the only other option than Russia is China I Think ?.

    Arn.Sweden.

      • Artashes said:

        Iran? While currently they are a friendly country, they can never be a country we can rely upon. For one, they’re Muslim and have grand designs on the Caucasus themselves. If it weren’t for Russia, today the Caucasus would be under Iranian rule.

  2. hidi said:

    ***** ARF is the voice of hope and reason, Long live Dashnaktsutyun!!!!!!!!

  3. Dino said:

    Part of the arms agreement between Russia and turkey’s retarded younger brother is that the advanced weapon systems the azeri’s receive can not be sold or given to the Armenians. Check for yourselves what Armenia has received and what Azerbaijan has received in the recent past. There is no comparison. Armenia will NEVER receive those same advanced weapon models. If Armenia gave cash on the barrel, Russia will not sell those same weapon systems to Armenia.
    What does this mean then? Israel and Europe have sold the azeris advanced weapons by the boat load. the motivation by Israel and Europe was to buy Azerbaijan for the use of its territory for the next war against Iran pure and simple. Azerbaijan gets weapons and the OK to invade Artsakh and Armenia. While the west and Israel attack Iran, Azerbaijan invades Armenia and Artsakh. Russia counters by selling the most advanced weapons possible.
    At the end of the day the west and Russia will allow for a second genocide of the Armenian people. To the west and Russia, the Armenians are a marginal people who are on the way out. The vulnerable are despised, don’t ever forget basic social psychology. If Armenians want to exist on the Armenian plateau, they have to be more like their enemies.

    • Armenian christian said:

      We will go back and fight brother we dont need no russia or no US we just need eachother…1 armenian can take 10 mongols easy

  4. Serj Bulanikian said:

    Suppose that happens. Who will stand by our side when Turks invade to help Azeris?

  5. Hagop D said:

    Armenia needs Russia for security from Turkey and Azerbaijan, and Russia needs Armenia for security from NATO, or else Russia will be done with any business in the Caucasus. Russia cannot give up Armenia no matter what, because the US/UK team have their paws in a tight grip on Azerbaijan.

    Armenia’s relationship with Russia must thus involve this leverage, but in a cordial and positive approach rather than a threatening one. And Armenia’s demands and first priority and mission must be the military neutralization of the fabricated nation to its east, a critical objective which Russia has denied Armenia by first stopping Armenia from finishing its job 20 years ago and today by arming the country for both profit and to keep the status quo (which translates to future profit).

    The west uses the Baku gas station for oil, while Turkey uses it for its dirty work against Armenia: genocide denial, historic lies and attempts at revision, diversion from its own criminal history, terrorist attacks and harassment, etc. It is very clear that Azerbaijan’s belligerent military existence cannot co-exist with Armenia, or else things will get worse for Armenia as time passes, not better.

    We in the diaspora must appreciate the fact that the Armenian government, regardless of our legitimate complaints for certain things, has an extremely hard task in balancing its relations with Russia, while keeping an eye on the local belligerents. I am not impressed with Russia’s arms sales to Azerbaijan, noting that it could have instead lobbied on our behalf to prevent such sales from all countries due to Azerbaijan’s chauvinistic and terrorist minded state of existence, but I think instead of getting away from Russia, it may be more prudent instead actually getting closer, and using her more effectively to reach our long-term goals in securing, might I add permanently, our “eastern border”. Only then would Turkey understand that we Armenians collectively mean business.

    • Norin said:

      Very well said Hagop, unfortunately many small minded “leaders” in the Diaspora think maintaining Armenia’s deliciate balance is as easy as coordinating the Navasartian Games. They adamantly call for severing strategic ties with our allies whilst basking under the California sun.

  6. vartan said:

    PUTIN IS ACTING LIKE SMART POLITICAL BUSSINRSMAN, RUSSIA IS SUROUNDED BY MILIONS OF UNFRENDLY TURKIC . CHECHEN .DUGESTSNI , TATARS AND SO ON …WHEN EVER HE BECOMES PRESIDENT, HE ACTS LIKE DICTATOR OF REAGON. HE IS ALINIATING ORTODOX POPULATION AND THIS IS DENGROUS FOR FUTURE OF RUSSIA AND OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE REAGON. BY ANTAGONIZING UKRAIN…. AND OTHER COUNTRIES. PUTIN IS ON WRONG PATH.

  7. GeorgeMardig said:

    A sad situation, Armenia continues to be an orphan in the int’l arena. NO body cares, the world continues with it’s B shtng, about human rights, values, friendship, sympathy, dignity, humanity, etc..etc.. the list goes on….

  8. arziv said:

    The only way to stay out of either bloc, ( the western bloc is more harmful than than the Russian bloc- with the Russian we can at least keep body and soul together, with the West is a short cut to biological oblivion) is to go nuclear and make any other country pay an unaffordable price should they try to mess around. Our geographical position is very perilous to guarantee an existence and survival without a nuclear deterrent. The other option is the hope that a regional war changes the demarcation lines and geographical boundaries in the area, e.g the eventual dismemberment of Turkey and Azerbaijan into their different internal races and minorities. The Kurds will gettheir independence, Israel has decreed so . The other races –lezgis and others–in Azerbaijan are simmering in restlessness. A major conflagration involving Azerbaijan will necessarily have collateral effect injurious to the Azeri state emanating from their restive minorities. Azerbaijan is an oxymoron as a unitary state. It has to be dismembered. The arms sales from Russia to our enemy is deplorable and downright obscene; on the other hand the armaments Russia supplies to Armenia are superior in technology and more powerful. We have a balance of qualitative advantage against quantitative disadvantage. Whatever happens, it is not a colorful picture or scene, but it is not a hopeless one either. A flare up between Armenia and Azerbaijan will only last two weeks at a maximum. Atsakh is an impregnable fortress, to invade and conquer the mountains of artsakh is beyond the military capacity of Azerbaijan and even Turkey. We also need to remind ourselves that Russias military bases also extend into Artsakh territory. If russia were to stop providing arms to Azerbsaijan, the Israeli and americans would be the main beneficiaries of those army contracts. Azerbaijan is one of the best clients of the Israely armaments industries. Armenia is a Russian client state; Turkey is an American-Israeli client state, Azerbaijan is a turkish colony and an appendage of turkey. Russia will not abandon Armenia, she will have much , too much to lose. A Russia without Armenia, would morphed into a Transcaucasus without Russia. Historically, geopolitically that is not an option for the russians to contemplate. We know our strengths and weaknesses. We have to drive and exact maximum benefits from Russia from our position of strength as a strategic ally and bastion in transcaucasus .

  9. Hratch said:

    There is no way Mother Russia will give up the southern Caucasus in general and Armenia in particular. They will never allow another Ukraine style defeat in their orbit of influence. In fact, they have done everything necessary to make the whole region subservient to them and their interests. It’s too late for Armenia or any other nation in the region to break away from the slave-master relationship. We’re just spinning our wheels by stating the obvious. Our so-called leaders have destroyed any sense of independence, sovereignty and dignity that is the core of any nation. We are at the complete mercy of Mr. Putin in his former KGB buddies. This will go down in history as our national tragedy of the 21 century.

    • Norin said:

      Yes of course, and by joining the EU we would have truly been in the lap of independence luxury. Oh wait you and Armenian said we should join neither and be “truly” independent. Though according to Margaret Thatcher “those that stand in the middle of the street get run over”.

  10. Sokimag said:

    Great! That’s how the armenian government must act. Russia can not continue to call itself our allies if it continues to help our enemies ( Russia has sold more weapons to Azerbaijan than Armenia). If Russia continues in it’s pro-Azeri stance, then we must show them that we, Armenians, can not tolerate to remain slaves of Russians.

  11. Armenian said:

    The title of this article is unrealistic. Russia stands a greater chance losing Kamchatka than it does Armenia. Especially with all of the loyal and devout Armenians ready and willing to serve Russia at all costs.

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