The newly installed “velvet” government in Armenia just arrested the head of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on the supposed pretense that he played a role in successfully quashing the failed 2008 Color Revolution attempt that ultimately led to the imprisonment of the country’s current Prime Minister, with the Yerevan authorities passively-aggressively hiding behind claims that this is a purely “internal matter” to de-facto carry out their regime change against the bloc and provoke an American-encouraged rupturing of relations with Russia.
Armenia’s pro-American government took its passive-aggressive provocations against Russia further than ever before after ordering the arrest of Yuri Khachaturov, the head of the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and triggering instant condemnation from their mutual defense ally. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that “recent events have clearly run counter…to the new Armenian leaders’ recent statements to the effect that it does not plan to persecute its predecessors for political reasons”, confirming that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is indeed carrying out a Ukrainian-style lustration campaign against his political opponents after successfully seizing power in the so-called “Velvet Revolution” that ended in early May.
Reputable international Russian media outlet TASS reported on a recent Kommersant article that quoted the top managers of two defense enterprises as saying that the implementation of a second round of military contracts “now remains doubtful”. Even though Pashinyan said that he doesn’t want to join NATO, his participation in the bloc’s summit last month drew suspicion from Russian observers, and Armenia’s plans to join the alliance’s upcoming drills in neighboring Georgia triggered Head of the State Duma Commission for legal support to the development of the Russian military-industrial complex Vladimir Gutenev to lambast the South Caucasian nation that’s supposed to be one of Russia’s closest partners.
Armenia’s rapid pivot to the West wasn’t unforeseen but was predicted and closely followed by the author in a series of analyses over the past three years that are chronicled below:
* 25 May, 2015: “Are Armenia And Belarus Wandering Westward?”
* 24 June, 2015: “‘Electric Yerevan’ is Sliding Out of Control”
* 13 August, 2016: “Serzh Sargsyan: All Roads Lead to Moscow”
* 9 September, 2016: “The Tripartite’s Big Barter In The ‘Eurasian Balkans’: The Southern Caucasus”
* 10 August, 2017: “Armenia Abandoning Russia: Consequences for the Caucasus”
* 29 August, 2017: “Are Armenia, India, And Serbia ‘Balancing’ Against Russia Or ‘Betraying’ It?”
* 4 October, 2017: “The US-Based Armenian Lobby Is On A Mission To Provoke Azerbaijan And Russia”
* 24 February, 2018: “Armenia’s Black Sea-Persian Gulf Corridor Plans Risk Antagonizing Russia”
* 17 April, 2018: “The Yerevan Protests Might End Armenia’s Unconvincing ‘Balancing’ Act”
* 23 April, 2018: “What Happened In Armenia Was A Defeat For Democracy”
* 26 April, 2018: “The News That Russia Won’t Intervene In Armenia Is An Infowar In And Of Itself”
The prevailing trend is that the US has been working very diligently through “grassroots” (Color Revolution) and elite (US-based diaspora) networks to “flip” Armenia into a de-facto American ally so that it could then exploit its location as a strategic forward-operating base for dividing the Multipolar Tripartite of Russia, Iran, and Turkey through a Washington-backed Continuation War in Nagorno-Karabakh. Having learned from the Ukrainian experience how counterproductive it is to have its new proxy openly telegraph its intentions, the US advised Armenia to play mind games with the Russians by saying the opposite of whatever they plan to do, therefore sowing confusion through the ranks of its military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”).
This charade is quickly coming to an end and Armenia is more openly behaving as the American ally that the author and many others predicted it would become after the arrest of the CSTO’s leader on the supposed pretense that he successfully helped to quell the 2008 Color Revolution attempt that ultimately landed Pashinyan behind bars. The halfhearted attempts to brand this internationally impactful regime change against the Russian-led military organization as a “purely domestic affair” that seeks to bring one of the “previous dictatorship’s henchmen to justice” are unconvincing and come off more as insults to the intelligence of everyone in Moscow’s strategic communities than anything else.
Not only that, but the symbolism behind this move is deliberately provocative – tiny Armenia and its new leader Pashinyan are being cast as a modern-day David challenging the Goliath that’s represented by gigantic Russia and its experienced leader President Putin. The optics are clearly designed to appeal to Trump ahead of his prospective meeting with Pashinyan during the latter’s upcoming trip to the UN in September. In the interim, Washington hopes that Yerevan will succeed in throwing Moscow on the horns of a dilemma that could lead to the rapid deterioration of their existing military alliance with one another and then be used to “justify” Armenia’s pivot to NATO.
To explain, Russia’s damned if it allows Armenia to get away with this egregious power play scot-free because Pashinyan will only continue to push the envelope until Russia’s so publicly humiliated that it has to respond, after which it’s equally damned because its reaction will be reversely reframed by the Mainstream Media as being the “cause” (and not the effect) of Armenia’s lightning-fast embrace of NATO & and the EU. Russia also can’t preemptively “dump” Armenia even if it no longer sees any value in keeping this small and impoverished landlocked state in its military and economic alliances because the void would immediately be filled by the West.
Therefore, for the time being, Russia has to proverbially “sit on its hands” and “suck it up” until after the upcoming Trump-Pashinyan meeting removes all doubt from even the most skeptical elements of the country’s “deep state” about Armenia’s loyalty to the US, after which a decision will have to be made about whether to respond to Yerevan’s provocations or continue looking the other way as they only get worse. It’s not a decision that Russia’s looking forward to make, but if its reaction to Armenia’s regime change against the CSTO is anything to go by, then a turning point in the two sides’ relations might have finally been reached.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.