What will be left of Armenia when the Russian base is withdrawn from Gyumri?

20.02.24 10:00

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's attendance at the Munich Security Conference (MSC-2024) was significant for his state. He held a meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, mediated by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Pashinyan declared his 'striving for peace' once again, despite the recent escalation provoked by the Khayan side. During his trip to Munich, Nikol Pashinyan stated that Armenia will no longer depend on its 'alliance' with Russia for security issues.


It was reported in the media during this trip that Armenia intends to remove the Russian Defence Ministry base in Gyumri by changing the basic law.


The Yerevan newspaper Hraparak reports that there is a proposal to amend the draft of the new Constitution of Armenia. The proposed amendment would declare Armenia a neutral country where foreign armed forces cannot be permanently stationed. This would require the Russian military base in Gyumri to leave, as well as the Russian border guards. The newspaper's article states that the amendments to the Constitution are aimed at the Russian bases and border troops.


Upon analysing recent events, it is evident that the Armenian authorities were dissatisfied with the fact that Russian border guards prevented a provocation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conditional border from achieving its intended outcome. Observers from EU countries were planned to move to the border immediately after Azerbaijan's response to the Khay provocation, which resulted in the heavy wounding of an Azerbaijani serviceman, and the subsequent Azerbaijani retaliation that destroyed a checkpoint of 'Yerkrap' militants, from where the shooting was carried out. To address the issue of aggression in Azerbaijan, there were plans to raise awareness and potentially incite a worldwide outcry about the threat of genocide. However, these plans were thwarted by Russian border guards who prevented European observers from entering the border.


During a speech in Munich, Armenia's prime minister announced his intention to pursue strategic cooperation with the US and NATO, while also distancing from Russia, a formal ally in the CSTO. On 17 February 2024, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Nikol Pashinyan discussed strengthening bilateral ties during a meeting in Munich on the margins of MSC-2024. Blinken noted the continued efforts of the US to support Armenia and its vision for a prosperous and democratic future for the Hai people, as well as Washington's support for Armenia's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. In response, Nikol Pashinyan made a number of demonstrative anti-Russian statements in Munich. In particular, it was explicitly noted that Yerevan is not an ally of Moscow regarding the issue of Ukraine. Additionally, it was stated that the Ukrainian people are friendly towards the people of Armenia. The speaker expressed regret for their inability to influence the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.


In principle, for most countries in the world, it is usual and normal to support Ukraine in its war with the Russian Federation. But there is a nuance - this war with the support of separatism, in fact, provoked the Hay lobby of the Russian Federation, as well as all in the post-Soviet space. And here the Hay lobby has outdone itself.


If Armenia "kicks Russia out", no one will be able to guarantee its current borders. Neither faraway France nor India. But the authorities in Yerevan could be asked to draw up fair borders. In particular, Azerbaijan can return Armenia to the borders outlined in the 1918 Treaty of Batumi. This excludes Zangezur and the eastern shore of Lake Gokha, which, as is well known, were historically inhabited by Azerbaijanis before the ethnic cleansing organised by the Hay nationalists.



Varden Tsulukidze

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