Russian weapons in Armenia
Arms supplies on credit are a usual practice. Almost all countries involved in the sphere of military-technical cooperation practice it. The reasons for this may be different, but usually they are of purely political nature: this is the way a country that provides a state export credit for the purchase of weapons produced in the same country indicates that the recipient country is considered as if not an ally, then a very close partner, friend, the Independent Military Review writes.
That's who the Republic of Armenia (RA) was for Russia for a long time. Yerevan received both political and military support (including the Russian military base) and economic preferences from Moscow. The Kremlin's position on Nagorno-Karabakh was also quite clear. That is why no one was surprised when in 2015 the Russian Federation agreed to provide the RA with a $200 million loan to buy weapons. Last month, deliveries under this loan agreement, which entered into force in February 2016, were completed.
Armenia received Smerch multiple rocket launcher systems, Igla-S short-range man-portable air defense systems, Autobase-M passive radar systems,Heavy Flamethrower systems TOS-1A 'Solntsepek', armored cars 'Tiger', guided missiles 9M113M, RPG-26 anti-tank rocket launchers and so on. Armenia's Defense Minister David Tonoyan noted: "Armament provided under the agreement is modern, modernized, not even in Russia's inventory."
In recent years, the balance of forces in the South Caucasus has been violated because of the growing military power of Azerbaijan, which threatened the resumption of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Arms supplies from Russia will help to slow down the escalation of the conflict, bringing the military advantage of one of the parties to an approximate equality.
But not everyone is happy to see the military-technical cooperation of Moscow and Yerevan. According to Worldwide Threats Assessment report of the director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, "both sides' reluctance to compromise, mounting domestic pressures, Azerbaijan's steady military modernization, and Armenia's acquisition of new Russian equipment sustain the risk of large-scale hostilities in 2018."
Perhaps it was the reason for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's visit to Brussels in July and his meeting with the Western leaders and the Secretary General of the alliance on the sidelines of the NATO summit. Pashinyan said at the summit that Yerevan is a party to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and he "sees Armenia in this organization and in this security system." The Prime Minister considers Russia a close ally, but hopes to develop relations with it, but also with NATO, the European Union and the United States. They do no miss an opportunity to discuss current regional problems within the framework of the NATO Partnership for Peace program. At the same time, according to media reports, the Armenian side will be included in the joint gas transportation system in the South Caucasus and in the "road map", where Armenia is viewed in a strategic partnership with the US and NATO.
Many experts have noticed the change in Yerevan's position. And how could you not notice the arrest of the CSTO Secretary General Yury Khachaturov, is charged in connection with a break up of protests on March 1, 2008. The court, however, agreed to release him on bail, but the charges were maintained. How can it be: talking about adherence to the interests of the CSTO and immediately arresting the Secretary General of this organization after it? After all, they could discuss this issue with other CSTO members in advance and stop Khachaturov's authority first, and only then arrest him. Such actions strike a blow to the organization with such a force, the only thing it compares to is direct aggression against CSTO members. And here Armenian Minister of Defense David Tonoyan, praising Russian weapons at a meeting with journalists, adds that although the Armenian-Russian good-neighborly relations are strengthened by many treaties, it is impossible to exclude revision of certain items in these documents if necessary.
Or maybe it's better keep it simple - not to sell modern weapons on credit, which is often, as historical experience shows, not returned for economic reasons or even not recognized, but to deliver it for "real" money. Then it would be a fair play.