Russian-Armenian Military Drill Targets ‘Ottomania’

Russian and Armenian tanks during a military exercise. (Photolur)


YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Russian and Armenian troops simulated on Friday a joint operation against an imaginary enemy dubbed “Ottomania” by their commanders on the third day of their joint exercises held in central Armenia.

Practicing what was clearly a joint response to possible Turkish invasion, they pounded “enemy positions” with heavy fire from tanks, self-propelled artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems. The infantry participating in the exercises was also backed up by unmanned aircraft belonging to the Russian military base headquartered in Gyumri, Armenia’s second largest city close to the Turkish border.

Mikael Grigorian, an Armenian army general commanding the drills, stressed that drones have never been used in Russian-Armenian war games held in the past. “There were many novelties today and you probably saw them,” told reporters at the vast Alagyaz shooting range near the northern slopes of Mount Aragats.

“We are using here rocket artillery on a full scale. All artillery detachments are involved right now,” Pavel Aleksyuk, the deputy commander of the Russian base, said for his part.

The annual five-day exercises got underway on Wednesday, involving more than 1,500 Russian and Armenian soldiers and around 300 artillery systems, tanks, armored personnel carriers and other vehicles. Russian MiG-29 fighter jets stationed in Yerevan were also due to be used in the joint maneuvers stemming from Armenia’s military alliance with Russia.

Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian has repeatedly said that Armenia hosts Russian troops on its territory primarily because of a perceived security threat from Turkey, rather than Azerbaijan. “With the existing forces at our disposal, we not only can defend ourselves against Azerbaijan but also take, if need be, preemptive, counteroffensive or other measures,” Ohanian said in February.

From Yerevan’s perspective, the Russian military presence precludes Turkey’s direct military intervention on Azerbaijan’s side in the event of another full-scale war for Nagorno-Karabakh.

A Russian-Armenian agreement signed in 2010 extended that presence until 2044 and upgraded the security mandate of the Russian base. Moscow has since beefed up the base numbering between 4,000 and 5,000 soldiers with heavy weaponry. It is due to deploy about two dozen combat helicopters in Armenia late this year.

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32 Comments

  1. Avetis said:

    For those with a brain, the geopolitical formula all but simple: No Russia in the south Caucasus = no Armenia in the south Caucasus. In the big picture, Armenia came into existence and continues to live as a result of Russia. Had it not been for the Russian factor in regional politics, Armenians of Armenia would either be herding goats in either eastern Turkey or selling carpets in northern Iran. God bless Mother Russia. God bless our Hayrenik. And may God help us protect Russo-Armenian alliance from all enemies both foreign and domestic.

    • Adnan Bey said:

      What an alliance, such as Levon Hayrapetian getting sent to jail, Russian Nazis beating up Armenian immigrants in Moscow, Russia selling weapons to Azerbaijan, and Russia using you as puppets to wage war against your neighbors, this just proves Armenia is a good lackey for outside powers.

  2. Armenian said:

    This is good. This should be the extent of Armenia’s relationship with Russia: strictly military and nothing more.

    • Hratch said:

      If their military is actually station in the country, they can’t help but get involved in all Armenian political and economic facets.

      Of all the support the US has given to Israel, officially there has never been a single instance of overt US presence on their soil. That is what real friendship and wise diplomacy looks like. Not the barbarian Russian way of demonstrating brute force. It’s as if the other side does not possess equal or greater might. Suppose there is a war and Russia wins, so what about the property destruction, economical damage, and the dislocation of the population? Or is that all considered collateral damage to Mother Russia’s interests?

      This is yet just another example of Tsar Putin’s crude approach for regional domination.

  3. Armanen said:

    This is wonderful! More joint exercises like this ought to take place. For Armenia the existential threat has been and remains the turks, and by extension nato.

  4. dvo said:

    Hope Armenia buys some new weapons also becouse they promised a 5 year plan of military modernazation with real powerfull weapons

  5. Hratch said:

    Since Azerbaijan now possesses billions of dollars worth of weapons, Mother Russia actually has someone to fight with.

  6. Hratch said:

    Everyone knows Turkey and Russia will never get into a shooting war, especially since the former is a NATO member. This demonstration of force is intended for internal consumption only. This is Mother Russia’s way of justifying her occupation of Armenia. Sure, our oligarchs know the charade being played out, but they benefit from the unnatural relationship. It is the Armenian people who have suffered the loss of their sovereignty and dignity.

    To prove the point, just sit back and read all the wonderful praises for Mother Russia on this news.

  7. GB said:

    Once again after many many centuries, little Armenia become a battleground between East and West adventurism. Rome, become Turkey and NATO, Persian Empire become Iran and Russia! This is how we have lost our historical Armenian Highlands to Turkic invaders from Central Asian steppes, where until today, most of sacred Armenian Highlands become part of genocidal Turkic herds!

  8. dvo said:

    Armenia and Russian are brothers but Russia should help Armenia in case of any war. we have dont so much to protect their intrests. and i believe Russia will help Armenia in any case. Armenia is Russia’s only friend left.

    i said earlier that Armenia should join european trade union. i was wrong i rather see Armenia join this euroasian union. i dont want Armenia to fall in dirty western games we all end up brainwashed who is gonna protect us from Turks, The problem that Armenia isn’t becoming much wealthier is becouse of the corrupt politicians. Long live Russia and Armenia.

    Armenia should and must modernize their military equipments.

    • Hratch said:

      If only your Russian brothers were a beacon of democracy, justice and righteousness.
      Let’s take stock, Stealing (the Crimea), Lying (no involvement in Ukraine), cheating (selling weapons to Azerbaijan) and murder (malaysian flight 17). Did we forget to including any other outstanding qualities?

      • dvo said:

        it seems the western propaganda brainwashed you, and you are probaly raised in a western naigberhood. firs of all there is no solid prove that Russia shoot down the plane.
        Crimea was part of Russia like karabakh is Armenia. Stalin gave those lands.

        Russia had no choice but to retake crimea cause of bases there. becouse when ukraine desided to join europe trade union. nato would station their troops in crimea, which would be athreat to russia. look at almost all ex soviet states have become a nato member. they all want to breng Russia down.

        • Armenian said:

          There comes a point where you can’t keep dismissing opposing views as mere “propaganda”. What Hrach is saying has actual merit. Democratic countries that are based on the principles of justice are statistically more prosperous both economically and politically. Putin’s Russia is a hallow example of “strength”.

  9. Hratch Karamanoukian MD said:

    “Ottomania” is the Trans Turkic Empire that they are trying to revive, isn’t it ?

  10. GB said:

    If a war beak up between Turkey and Armenia, for sure NATO will be collapsed among Eastern partnership. There will be many NATO countries such as Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Baltic states, Croatia, Serbia, Albania, France, and even neutral Switzerland, who suffered in the hands of Ottoman Turkey, will never support Turkey’s intention toward Armenia!

    • Hratch said:

      Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Baltic states, Croatia, Serbia, Albania, France, and even neutral Switzerland have more to gain from NATO membership then the other way around. They join voluntarily for a reason!

  11. Vindicated Man said:

    Some mixed feeling here: So the target is ‘Ottomania’ (thanks God), yet the ally sells very real weapons to Stalin-dubbed ‘Azerbaijanis’.

  12. Alex Postallian said:

    Do you notice,that jerky turkey,never says a word of disdain,to the BIG BEAR,(RUSSIA),always to a much smaller defendless neighbor,UNARMED,WOMEN,CHILDREN,OLD PEOPLE..BECAUSE jerky turkey are the biggest COWARDS,in the Middle East,even their paid stooges,know.go down real low,on their knees,for the buck…..

    • Ararat said:

      That is also true of Azerbaboonis. They keep barking about Russia being the reason they lost the war but they only attack the Armenians. Of course, the reality is quite different and they had the Soviet troops fighting along with them. They seem to be suffering from amnesia and keep forgetting how they paid big bucks to hire the North Caucasian Terrorists, Turkish Fascists, Dirty / Filthy Afghan Mujaheddin, Pakistani Muslim Terrorists and Pimps from Former Soviet Republics, to do the fighting for them. They also forget that there were no Russians fighting among the Armenians and that it was because of Russian mediation that the Armenians agreed to a ceasefire in 1994 when they could have reached Baku pretty much unopposed after humiliating and destroying the entire Azerbabooni military. You never hear them talk dirt about Russia.

      This is real Turkish and pseudo-Turkish Azerbabooni mentality. To take on what they perceive to be weak and at a disadvantage. That is how the myth about their coward, blood-thirsty child killer ancestors developed over the years. But when they fought against an equal foe they always lost. The Ottoman Empire lost all wars it fought against the Russia Empire since the 1700s.

  13. Arn.Sweden. said:

    Exactly !.

    I Quote –

    Russian-Armenian Military Drill Targets ‘Ottomania’

    Comment –

    Ottomanias intention is a Panturkish State from the Mediterrainian to the Pacific !.

    Bevere of NATO,
    the usefull idiot of OTTOMANIA.

    Arn.Sweden.

  14. Gurgen said:

    Armenia’s place is with Russia. Without Armenia Russia is weak. Without Russia Armenia is lost.

  15. Boghos L. Artinian said:

    Otto-Immunity

    They massacred with absolute impunity
    And a passionate Ottoman brutality
    Unleashed by fatwas horrific,
    That turned them to monsters pogromic

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