Russia restricts “the military” the freedom of Armenia

In the agenda of the Armenian government submitted a draft decree on “Rules of implementation of supervision over the availability and targeted use of military products delivered within the Agreement on “the Development of military-technical cooperation between the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation” dated 25 June 2013 between the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation”. The project was included in the agenda without a report, that is, in the government meeting it was not discussed.

This agreement provides that: “Supply under the contract military products Side has the right to exercise control over its availability and intended use. The subject of supervision is the military products delivered in the framework of the Treaty”. Another article stipulates that: “the Purpose of oversight is to check the availability and targeted use of products supplied by contracts made within the framework of the Treaty”. And the eighth article stipulates: “the party in whose territory supplied products for military purposes, must provide that in the application of military products, as necessary to confirm its intended use documents.”

“Aravot” sent a written request to the Ministry of defense of Armenia and asked to provide some details about this agreement. In particular, the Agency asked the Defense Ministry whether to restrict the agreement of Armenia’s actions in providing military equipment obtained to the other party, insisted that if the Armenian side to Russia signed with Azerbaijan a similar agreement whether a party, who supply military equipment right to influence any decision of the Armenian side, in particular, the time and order of its application. We also asked whether it is possible to provided in the agreement for supervision was carried out solely for technical purposes. The Defence Ministry has promised to respond to these and other issues regarding the agreement, in due time, assuring that the answer requires more time.

While the defense Ministry will shed light on the dark side of this agreement and may dispel or confirm our doubts in a conversation with “Aravot” political analyst Stepan Safaryan says: “This is amazing agreement.”

According to the head of the Armenian Institute for international and security Affairs, “it would be very desirable to know whether Russia signed a similar agreement with Azerbaijan, supplying military equipment. If it concerns only Armenia is unacceptable. First and foremost, come to mind “Iskander” or similar weapons provided by Russia, and especially the statements of Serzh Sargsyan, made in the last period. In this context, the Russian side wants to control, what purpose will be used purchased from her arms. In any case, the Russian side clearly knows that these weapons are purchased for protection against possible aggression of Azerbaijan. Don’t want to say would have used these weapons for a different purpose, or not? Armenia in these years did not give reason to doubt that, for example, weapons via Armenia may fall into the hands of others.”

In Safaryan’s view, Russia sells weapons to Armenia and Azerbaijan, and he knows that for both countries the number one threat is different, and, in this sense, Russia is trying to keep the process in their hands. According to Safaryan, no matter how much Armenia had no right to use the purchased weapons, the impression that only under this agreement, freedom of Armenia will be limited: “Because it is obvious that Russia at any moment can send the oversight group to see where these weapons and for what purpose will be applied. It bothers me in the context of the ability to use if necessary of arms in the vital for Armenia issues.” According to Safaryan, it is important that at the critical moment of the war, when you will need to use, say, “Iskander”, do not need to get permission from Russia: “In any case, the contract does not. I’ll be a little bit careful — there is the concept of military secrecy, but what on this issue agreed that Russia and Armenia, can’t say. From the visible part of the document created the impression that Russia is this mechanism already to some extent limits the freedom of Armenia. For example, if you come inspection team will check and will say that these weapons in the event of hostilities were not to be used”. The political analyst noted that it is very important which agreements about the use of weapons, acquired under the credit agreement on $ 200 million, and “Iskander”, details about which were not solved, and where and for what purpose can Armenia use the weapons that gets with the new Russian loan is expected in the near future: “While we do not know, do not know other details of the agreement, it is difficult to say something clear”.

To our question why Armenia undertook to sign the agreement, Safaryan responded as follows: “From the text it becomes clear that Armenia was not interested, it is the desire of Moscow. It will be even worse if it turns out that, for example, Moscow does it to Azerbaijan is not worried that the weapons for 200 million and the “Iskander” can be used against him. Consequently, Russia assured Azerbaijan that controls the process. Or Moscow understands that supply of weapons has reached such volumes that it will no longer be able to control and suppress their proliferation, and as a result, even a small escalation or incident can be running dangerous weapons, able to bring to a large-scale war. We now do not know what is the interest of Moscow”.

To another question of Aravot whether this agreement of the opinion that the key to Karabakh conflict is in the Kremlin, Safaryan said: “the Kremlin wants to create this key, but even that agreement will not help in this. The Kremlin just wants a settlement was in his hands and that even in the case of a military escalation Moscow had leverage over the process. April war of 2016 showed that Russia does not have one hundred percent control. When Serzh Sargsyan gathered ambassadors and threatened that Armenia enters into an agreement with Artsakh and, in fact, enters into legal actions, Russia was scared because her plans was not.”