Experts believe that Armenia's pull out from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) is a foregone conclusion. Russia could take advantage of such a development, but it appears that President Putin does not think so.
At the Collective Security Council (CSC) of the CSTO in Yerevan, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan refused to sign both the final document and the document on "assistance to Armenia." Pashinyan appealed to political assessments of the conflict with Azerbaijan that did not meet Armenia's interests.
Pashinyan believes that Azerbaijan occupied the territory of Armenia (he probably means part of the Syunik region). He proposes the CSTO Security Council should "speed up the necessary political and diplomatic work with the Azerbaijani side to contribute to the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Azerbaijani troops from the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia to initial positions as of May 11, 2021".
"A political assessment of the above events is required from the moral point of view in the first place, since this should be a logical manifestation of allied relations," Pashinyan said.
He also complained of the Russian peacekeepers, who, in his opinion, do not fulfill their duties on the demarcation line in Nagorno-Karabakh.
It is worthy of note that Azerbaijan already considers Karabakh its territory de jure, whereas Armenia insists the status of Karabakh should be determined in a referendum.
"On October 31, during a trilateral meeting in Sochi, I presented the proposal from the authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh on this topic: to create a demilitarized zone around Nagorno-Karabakh with international guarantees, as a result of which Nagorno-Karabakh may not need a Defense Army of this magnitude," Pashinyan said.
Speaker of the Armenian Parliament Alen Simonyan believes that the CSTO is not viable.
"Life proves that the military role of the CSTO in post-Soviet space does not justify itself,” he said.
According to the deputy, Armenia joined the CSTO "to protect itself against the Turkish-Azerbaijani tandem.” However, Armenia did not get this protection.
"We expected that there would be a political assessment in the document,” Simonyan said.
According to "Image of the Future" Telegram channel, Armenia's withdrawal from the CSTO is a foregone conclusion. The West promises big preferences to Yerevan and Astana (Kazakhstan) for their decision to pull out from alliances with the Russian Federation. The process may start in the spring of 2023.
Iosif Diskin, a political expert, Doctor of Economics, Deputy Chairman of the Scientific Council of the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion, told Pravda.Ru that Russia has to get involved by virtue of CSTO obligations.
Armenia's pull out from the CSTO "would greatly reduce" Russia's obligations in the region, the expert believes.
"Russia would not need to keep a military base there (in Gyumri) and remain in problematic relations with Azerbaijan," Iosif Diskin said.
Iosif Diskin believes that Russia should not ensure Armenia's national security as this is Armenia's job.
"During the military Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, which Russia largely caused to subside, there were many claims about Russia's unwillingness to send troops to the conflict zone. Armenia did not use a significant part of its defense potential to solve its problems. One shall assume that it is everyone, but not Armenia, that should solve Armenia's problems," the expert noted.
Armenian Defence Minister Suren Papikyan said on his social media page that he exchanged opinions with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu after the meeting of the CSTO Security Council.
"We exchanged views on a number of issues of mutual interest, such as cooperation in the field of defenсe," the Armenian Defence Minister wrote.
Armenia and the Russian Federation have a bilateral agreement on mutual assistance and cooperation, which will probably become the basis for further relations between the two countries.
Judging by the lively exchange of views between Putin and Pashinyan, Armenia managed to obtain certain guarantees. Russia, of course, will do its best to hold on to the South Caucasus with its military base in Gyumri. This stops the threat of Islamism, taking into consideration the fact that Turkey finances the Turan battalion that fights on Ukraine's side.
To crown it all, Putin understand that he needs to strengthen the CSTO rather than cause it to fall apart. NATO may see some opens gaps otherwise.
Kinzhal hypersonic missiles of the Russian forces destroyed the joint Ukraine-NATO command and communications center where foreign officers were also staying