Armenia–Russia relations

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Armenia–Russia relations
Map indicating locations of Armenia and Russia

Armenia

Russia
Armenian and Russian flags in Gyumri, Armenia

Armenia–Russia relations (Russian: Российско-армянские отношения, Armenian: Հայ-ռուսական հարաբերություններ) are the bilateral relationships between Armenia and the Russian Federation. Both countries are strategic allies and form an axis in the Caucasus along with Iran. Diplomatic relations between modern-day Armenia and Russia were established on April 3, 1992, but Russia has been an important actor in Armenia since the early 19th century. The two countries' historic relationship has its roots in the Russo-Persian War (1826-1828) between the Russian Empire and Qajar Persia after which Eastern Armenia was ceded to Russia. Moreover, Russia was often considered a protector of the Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire, including the Armenians.[1]

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Armenia has been regarded as de facto the only ally of Russia in all of Transcaucasia. The positions of Russia and Armenia in the majority of key international problems are coincident or close. Armenia shares the approaches of Russia, directed toward strengthening of the CIS. Armenia and Russia are both members of a military alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), along with four other ex-Soviet countries, a relationship that Armenia finds essential to its security. Among the contracts and the agreements, which determine intergovernmental relations – a treaty of friendship, collaboration and mutual aid of 29 August 1997 are a number of the documents, which regulate bases of Russian military units and liaisons in the territory of Armenia.

History

The significant part of the territory currently belonging to Armenia was incorporated into the Russian Empire pursuant to the 1828 Treaty of Turkmenchay signed between Russia and Persia following the Russo-Persian War (1826–28).

After the 1917 Russian Revolution, Armenia gained short-lived independence as the First Republic of Armenia. By 1920, the state was incorporated into the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, a founding member of the Soviet Union that was formally constituted in 1922. In 1936, the Transcaucasian state was dissolved, leaving its constituent states, including the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic, as full Union republics.

The modern Republic of Armenia became independent in 1991 as a consequence of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Russia is believed to have been instrumental in achieving victory by Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh War (1988–1994). In 2013, the deputy prime-minister of Azerbaijan Ali S. Hasanov said, "We need to become much stronger so that if we become involved in combat in Nagorno-Karabakh we can stand up to Russian troops, because that is who we will have to face. Did Armenia occupy our territories? Do you think Armenia's power is sufficient for that?”[2]

Military union

See also: Erebuni Airport

Military cooperation between Armenia and Russia is based on both states being members of the military alliance as well as participants in the Joint CIS Air Defense System. United Russian–Armenian troop groups are formed. The border guards group of the Russian FSB in Armenia together with the Armenian frontier-guards provide the protection of the boundaries of the republic with Turkey and Iran.

In October 2013, the chief commander of Russia′s 102nd military base Andrey Ruzinsky said to Russia′s official military newspaper, "If Azerbaijan decides to restore jurisdiction over Nagorno-Karabakh by force the [Russian] military base may join in the armed conflict in accordance with the Russian Federation’s obligations within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization."[3][4]

The 102nd Russian military base is stationed in Gyumri in the northwestern part of Armenia. The base was upgraded by a Russian-Armenian defense agreement signed in 2010. The agreement extended Russia’s basing rights in Armenia until 2044. Moscow also undertook to supply Armenia with more weapons and military hardware.[3] On 8 December 2015, the Erebuni base (part of 102nd) was reinforced with six advanced Mi-24P assault helicopters and an Mi-8MT transport helicopter delivered from the Russian Air Force base in the Krasnodar region.[5][6]

On 23 December 2015, Russian defence minister Sergei Shoygu and his Armenian counterpart, Seyran Ohanyan, signed an agreement to form a Joint Air Defense System in the Caucasus.[5][7] The conclusion of the agreement followed the Armenian minister′s assertion that the ceasefire with Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh virtually no longer existed.[8]

Developments since 2013

Faced with the choice of either joining the Russia-led Customs Union or signing the Association Agreement with the European Union, Armenia eventually chose the former option. The decision on Armenia's accession to the Customs Union was announced by the president of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan on 3 September 2013.[9][10]

On 2 December 2013, Russian president Vladimir Putin arrived to Armenia on an official visit. The heads of the two states discussed Armenia's accession to the Customs Union and signed 12 agreements on enhancing cooperation in a number of key spheres such as security, economy, energy and others. Russia also reduced the gas price for Armenia from 270 to 189 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters and enlarged the existing Russian military bases in Armenia.[11][12]

Armenia became a full member of the Eurasian Economic Union from January 2, 2015, whereupon cooperation and integration with Russia reached a new level.

See also

References

External links