Recent events in Armenia make Russia doubt Yerevan's desire to cooperate

Recent events in Armenia make Russia doubt Yerevan's desire to cooperate

Moscow closely monitors recent events in Armenia. Deputy head of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots, Konstantin Zatulin, believes that Yerevan's decision to withdraw the current CSTO Secretary General Yuri Khachaturov does nothing good, since this way new Armenian authorities try to settle scores with former leadership of the country, including former President Robert Kocharian.

Commenting on this and other statements of Zatulin, political scientist and expert on Caucasus, Andrei Epifantsev, wrote on his Facebook page that Zatulin is a man known for defending Armenia's positions: "He had excellent relations with almost all previous Armenian leaders and a huge number of high level officials. And now he openly threatens Armenia, saying that Russia may revise its position in the field of military cooperation with that country. At the same time, I can't say that this is his position as a statesman. As soon as Armenia's course goes against Russia's policy, Zatulin shows that his attitude towards this country can change. By the way, we saw something similar from him earlier with Abkhazia. Another signal that shows that Moscow is irritated by Yerevan's actions is that our large Armenian lobby in the media and expert community stays silent this time."

Recall that in late July, the Special Investigation Service of Armenia initiated criminal case against the CSTO Secretary General Yury Khachaturov for going against constitution during dispersal of protest actions, held on March 1, 2008. Yerevan court released Khachaturov on bail, and the CSTO partner states were asked to begin the process of changing organization's secretary general. CSTO Deputy Secretary General Valery Semerikov said that representative of Armenia will continue to hold this post until January 1, 2020.

Yepifantsev was surprised by this position of the CSTO leadership. He said that Yerevan ignored the CSTO Charter and the Chisinau agreement on legal status of this organization. In addition, Yerevan completely ignored its own promise to only invite Khachaturov as a witness, not as someone who's being accused. Expert believes that this way Yerevan shows that it doesn't care about the CSTO, international law and its own signatures under documents, as well as about Moscow's concerns about this situation.

Meanwhile, head of the Caucasus Institute Alexander Iskandaryan said in an interview with Kommersant that current events in Armenia can't be projected on country's foreign policy priorities: "Current developments in Armenian can be seen as a logical result of Armenian internal political process. It must be viewed in the context of relations between newly arrived elites and old elites. These developments don't have foreign policy component, but their consequences are not always well calculated."

Yepifantsev considers this position a usual, traditional explanation, used by Armenian side: "He basically says: We act based on our national interests, it's none of your business. This explanation has been used for years on many occasions. If we continue to 'understand and forgive', like some experts proposed, we will continue to face new demands from Yerevan... I think we must respond to such things accordingly. It doesn't have to be a radical response, such as expulsion of Armenia from the CSTO, but maybe we should give the Secretary General post to another country, stop giving Armenia new loans for military needs, publicly resume sale of the most advanced heavy weapons to Baku, actively go against Pashinyan's proposal to introduce Karabakh as a separate side in the Minsk negotiation process... I think it would be a right thing to do and it can help to resolve this situation. And then Armenians can decide how will they act next time: based on their own domestic political interest, or according to their obligations."

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