Russian Arms Broker Offers More Deals to Azerbaijan

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev inspects new T-90 tanks purchased from Russia at a military base in Nakhijevan


MOSCOW (RFE/RL)—Russia will complete the ongoing delivery of about 100 T-90 tanks to Azerbaijan early next year and is ready to modernize older tanks used by the Azerbaijani army, according to a senior Russian defense industry official.

The Itar-Tass news agency on Friday quoted Esen Topoev, a top aide to the chief executive of Rosoboronexport, as saying that the Russian state arms exporter could also sell anti-ship missiles to Baku and open facilities in Azerbaijan for repairs and maintenance of Russian-made military hardware.

Azerbaijan began receiving the sophisticated T-90 tanks last year in accordance with Russian-Azerbaijani defense contracts signed in 2010-2012. In Topoev’s words, these shipments will be complete “in the beginning of 2015.”

Speaking during an international arms exhibition in Azerbaijan, Topoev said there are currently no Russian plans to sell more such hardware to Baku. Instead, he said, Rosoboronexport has offered to carry out a “profound modernization” of less advanced T-72 tanks belonging to the Azerbaijani armed forces. He did not specify whether the Azerbaijani side accepted the offer.

Russian and Azerbaijani officials have estimated the total volume of bilateral defense contracts signed 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.

These arms deals envisage the delivery of hundreds of Russian-made tanks, artillery and missile systems and combat helicopters to Azerbaijan. According to Topoev, the Azerbaijani military will receive all of these weapons by the end of 2017.

Aleksandr Fomin, the head of a Russian government agency overseeing arms exports, and Anatoly Isaykin, Rosoboronexport’s chief executive, reportedly discussed with Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov the possibility of more such deals when they visited Baku in June. Hasanov’s press office cited the Russian officials as noting “big prospects” for stepping up bilateral military-technical cooperation.

The Azerbaijani news agency APA reported in July that Moscow has agreed to supply an unspecified number of Yak-130 trainer and light attack jets to Baku. In a separate report, it quoted a Russian defense industry official as saying that the two states have also opened negotiations on the possible sale of Russian Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters.

Topoev told Itar-Tass that during the exhibition he personally showed Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev one such helicopter put on display. “[Aliyev] expressed satisfaction and gave his subordinates instructions on further work on the issue of Alligator,” said the Rosoboronexport representative.

As part of the 2010 arms package, Azerbaijan has already received 24 Russian helicopter gunships of different type: Mi-35M. They are essentially an upgraded version of Soviet Mi-24 choppers designed in the late 1960s.

Topoev further revealed that Azerbaijan, highlighting its heavy reliance on Russian military hardware, asked Rosoboronexport to open “centers for repair and maintenance of helicopters and armored vehicles” on its territory. The Russian company is ready, in principle, to accept the proposal, he said.

The Russian-Azerbaijani military cooperation is causing growing concern in Armenia, Russia’s main regional ally locked in a bitter conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenian pundits and some opposition politicians increasingly accuse Moscow of acting against the letter and spirit of Russian-Armenian defense agreements.

“It is a very painful subject and our people are worried that our strategic ally sells weapons to Azerbaijan,” President Serzh Sarkisian said in a newspaper interview in July. He at the same time expressed confidence that Russia “will honor its commitments to us in times of adversity.”

Armenia itself has received large quantities of Russian weapons at knockdown prices or free of charge. It also hosts a Russian military base on its territory.

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13 Comments

  1. Armenian said:

    “Russia is Armenia’s only true ally”.

    “Without Russia, there is no Armenia”.

    “God bless the Russo-Armenian alliance and protect it from all enemies, foreign and domestic”.

    I wish people in Armenia and Azerbaijan would snap out of the malaise, compromise and make concessions for cooperation and peace so that they and their well beings would stop being used for the growth and development of Russia’s undiscriminating military industrial complex. It’s unfortunate that the autocratic leaders of all three of these countries capitalize on the collective misery of everyone else. There will be no peace and no final solution in Gharabagh in the near future, which is a shame because this conflict is partially what allows the criminal regimes in Armenia and Azerbaijan to continue to stay in power.

    • Hagop D said:

      Armenia, and Azerbaijan are miles apart and comparing and equating the two is ludicrous. Armenia needs to make zero concessions, because the people of the NKR said so with their lives, case closed. In addition, there can be no cooperation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, when Azerbaijan’s reason for existence is to harm Armenia. Its original mission was such, and almost a century later, nothing has changed.

      I’ll leave quotes 1 and 3 for the Armenians in fantasy land, but quote 2 is a fact. Until the US throws out Turkey from NATO, and recognizes the Genocide and also guarantees Armenia’s security like Russia, stating “Armenia needs to distance itself from Russia” is a complete waste of time.

  2. Hratch said:

    This is just getting plain boring. Sell all the weapons you want and let us in as an Oblast. That is the ultimate goal, so let’s stop pretending and fast forward the movie.

  3. zarkim said:

    Have you heard the story of “The Farmer and the Bear”?
    .
    GUGHAZIN YEV ARJE? Gughazin ir bostanum, garnane serm yer zanum….Arje yekav, Barev kez..
    .
    Well, Aliyev is the Farmer! I wonder who is the BEAR?
    .
    Ha brikallah, ha mashallah!

  4. Arn.Sweden. said:

    Its cheaper with Antiaircraft and Antitank Missiles,
    and the Aserbajani Investments will go to destruction in case of war.

    Arn.Sweden.

  5. Gurgen said:

    Stop the scare tactics and learn some politics. Without Russia Armenia would not last on year.

    • Armenian said:

      Say in about 20 years, a different type of nationalist political force comes to power in Russia and argues that no Russian men should be responsible for guarding foreign countries’ borders, and protecting those countries militarily. This power could potentially call for a withdrawal of all troops in the former Soviet space and work to build bridges with the West and Westernize Russia. Consequently, this would have an impact on Armenia in that all of Russia’s troops would be withdrawn. What are you going to do then?

      Most Armenians take military “assistance” (if what Russia is doing can even be called that) for granted, and I bet most of us haven’t even thought about what could happen in the event that they’re not there, much like what happened in 1917 when the Russian army pulled out of the Caucasus.

      What’s the utility in increasing your dependence on a foreign power significantly, when there’s no telling what can happen domestically in Russia that could potentially have a negative impact on us? Armenia should be working to make itself more self-sufficient and independent, and that should also start with guarding its own borders– which, by the way, we should be doing ourselves, and not the Russians.

  6. zarkim said:

    Aliyev has been encouraged to MODERNISE his army to reach NATO standards.
    Uncle Putin is helping Aliyev modernize again.
    No doubt Aliyev will declare war on the twitter again.
    The dealer in the photo looks like an Armenian. He will be selling ice to Eskimos after this one.

  7. Otonian said:

    Russians have found an avaricious glutton in the clown Alyev, who keeps buyings arms and technology. There can be no pact, nor compromise with Turks of any shape and color. Karabagh and Armenia are Russian bastions in the Caucasus. Azerbaijan is a virtual satellite of Israel and Turkey. NATO is leeringly eyeing Azerbaijani territories to establish a NATO military base. Russia’s trump card is Armenia. If there is a choice to become a vilayet or a province of greater turkey or becoming annexed to Russia, it is obvious which would be the preferred choice. As for America, they do not have Armenian interests in their agenda other than use Armenia to nettle and goad the Russians, very much like they used the Georgians in their Abkhazia adventures.

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