As expected, terror is beginning to be unleashed against "pro-Russian" activists in the Republic of Armenia. Armenian investigators detained seven people in the border town of Goris on suspicion of illegal firearms trafficking, including pro-Russian blogger and activist Mika Badalyan and Sputnik Armenia radio columnist Ashot Gevorkyan.
"They were detained on the basis of reasonable suspicion of committing an offence within the framework of a criminal case initiated by the National Security Service and transferred to the Investigative Committee in accordance with Part 2 of Article 335 of the Armenian Criminal Code (illegal trafficking in firearms, their main components, ammunition and other materials, devices, objects)," Armenian Investigative Committee spokesman Gor Abrahamyan said.
It is interesting that the same Armenian Investigative Committee "did not notice" the mass illegal and unlawful transfer of weapons to illegal "Artsakh" armed formations to the territory of Azerbaijan through the same Goris, while the Lachin road was functioning and there was no Azerbaijani border checkpoint on it. Although pro-Russian propagandists have begun to claim that the charges of illegal arms trafficking under which Mika Balayan and his "associates" were detained were allegedly "fabricated" and that the weapons were most likely "planted" on them, the fact of illegal arms trafficking did take place.
Pro-Russian forces may well launch an armed insurrection or organise an action similar to the Sasna Tsrer group's seizure of a police station. This could be a "desperate gesture" to provoke Russian military intervention in Armenian affairs and organise a violent change of power in Yerevan. In fact, this is their only chance to "save" the separatist "Artsakh" with the help of the Russian Federation.
Russia has reacted negatively to yet another anti-Russian move by the Armenian authorities. Yevgeny Primakov, the head of Russian cooperation, raised an "alarm" after Mika Badalyan was detained, saying on his Telegram channel that Badalyan had been "kidnapped by unknown masked men outside a hotel in the town of Goris, Syunik region, southern Armenia". He noted that the day before the abduction Mikael Badalyan had taken part in his radio programme "in which he took a rather harsh opposition stance and criticised the Armenian government for what Mr Badalyan considered to be an anti-Russian policy". "I would not like to think that Mr Badalyan's abduction has anything to do with his appearance on the radio programme," Primakov said.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also commented on the situation: "I do not exclude that this is another provocation in connection with the Russian-Armenian media forum in Yerevan. A provocation by those who are asleep and know how to spoil relations between the two countries. And the West has invested a lot of money in this. Obviously, the forces aimed at this have recently become more active," Zakharova wrote on her Telegram channel.
However, Russian officials are unlikely to be able to help their supporters in Armenia with anything other than words of indignation and "concern". Just like the previously "all-powerful" Armenian lobby in Moscow. The regime in Yerevan is heading for an open break with Russia. It has long since found Western patrons who, by all accounts, have promised to support it. In fact, active work has begun to finally destroy pro-Russian influence and "squeeze" Russia out of Armenia.
There is no doubt that the anti-Russian terror that has begun in the Republic of Armenia is being directed from the West. For example, the head of Armenia's Special Investigation Service, Sasun Khachatryan, is the brother-in-law of the chairman of the board of the Open Society Armenia Foundation, which is part of the well-known Soros Foundation and which once ensured that the current prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, came to power.
The arrest of Mika Badalyan and Ashot Gevorgyan is a signal to other pro-Russian activists in Armenia. They must flee Armenia before it is too late, lest they end up in Pashinyan's clutches, from which Russia will certainly not be able to free them. At the same time, this is a wake-up call for many of the Artsakh separatists.
It is no secret that many pro-Russian Armenian figures, including those from the "Karabakh clan", are entrenched in Azerbaijani Karabakh under the cover of Russian peacekeepers. However, the Russian peacekeepers will not stay in Karabakh for long - until November 2024 at the latest. To avoid ending up in Azerbaijani prisons for their crimes against Azerbaijan, the separatists will have to leave Khankendi before then. So far this has been theoretically possible under the cover of the same peacekeepers along the Lachin road and in one direction. Now the separatists, using the "cover" of the "peacekeepers", are actively taking their families out of Karabakh.
But in the future, the separatists who have waited so long for the "arrival of Russia" in Artsakh and unfurled Russian flags will probably face questions from the Armenian authorities. And the more the enmity between the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation escalates, the more such questions will arise. So, having fled the prospect of an Azerbaijani prison, if you delay, you may well find yourself in an Armenian prison. As the saying goes, "you can't escape destiny".
The separatists, if they do not want to end up behind bars, should hurry up and leave both Karabakh and the Republic of Armenia along the Khankedi-Yerevan-Moscow route. As long as there is an opportunity to leave. Tomorrow there will be no such opportunity.