Armenia wants to pull out from CSTO quietly, but will not be allowed to

A military conflict is brewing in Transcaucasia as Armenia is pulling out from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO). Russia is getting involved when major events in the region unfold next year.

Pashinyan refuses to go to the CSTO summit

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan informed Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that he would not be able to participate in the meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit on November 23 in Minsk. Pashinyan expressed a hope that the partners would treat this decision with understanding.

Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin regretted Pashinyan's decision, since such meetings are "a good reason to compare notes and exchange views."

According to Peskov, the CSTO remains a relevant platform and its meetings indicate the relevance of this format of interaction. This is a veiled warning about unpleasant events that Armenia may have to deal with soon.

Pashinyan has long demonstrated his distrust of the CSTO. In May, the Armenian Prime Minister said that he did not rule out a decision to either suspend or freeze Armenia's membership in the organisation. In July, Yerevan refused to participate in joint exercises with member countries of the bloc. In September, the Armenian authorities recalled the Armenian Ambassador to the organisation.

Yerevan believes that its appeal to the CSTO regarding Azerbaijan's strikes on the territory of Armenia (Syunik region) was left unanswered. CSTO members did not condemn Azerbaijan for those attacks. The authorities of Armenia also blame Russia and the CSTO for the fall of Nagorno-Karabakh, although Armenia itself did not recognise the former unrecognised republic.

Armenia will go West through non-aligned status

Armenia's Security Council Secretary Armen Grigoryan said at the Strategic Future of Armenia summit in Brussels that Armenia was considering a possibility of becoming a non-aligned state. According to Armenian media, Pashinyan views this status as a transitional stage on the path to NATO.

We assume that this decision was coordinated with Western partners not to cause a sharp reaction from the Kremlin. It will open ground for the withdrawal of the 102nd Russian base from Gyumri. Pashinyan believes that there will be no reaction from Moscow, since Russia is "weakened by war and sanctions.”

Armenia will leave the CSTO "silently and softly,” Pashinyan said at a meeting with reporters.

The West will not let Armenia leave CSTO 'softly'

A military conflict may spark in Armenia should nationalists attack the Russian military base in Gyumri. This already happened in Georgia in August 2008 — the conflict was inspired from outside within the framework of the "anti-Russia” project. It is no coincidence that the Armenian army starts getting weapons from France. It goes about the supplies of French air defence systems to the former Soviet state.

EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell said on November 13 that the EU was studying a possibility of providing military assistance to Armenia under the European Peace Facility. He expressed unconditional support for the democratically elected authorities of Armenia and called for vigilance against any attempt to destabilise Armenia.

In a nutshell, the West gave Armenia a green light to take any action against opposition and revisit loyal relations with Russia. Western officials used to make such statements for Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and they led to sharp crises everywhere.

Armenia will not evade a new war with Azerbaijan

Meanwhile, Baku is not meeting Yerevan halfway on the issue of concluding a peace treaty. On the contrary, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev it putting forward new claims.

There are three of them:

  • failure to fulfill obligations under the 2020 tripartite statement on the creation of a connection between Eastern Zangezur and Nakhchivan;
  • using the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh "for the transportation of military equipment, personnel and mines”;
  • denying the right to return of Azerbaijanis to Armenia.

Aliyev considers many Armenian territories to be territories of Azerbaijan. There is no doubt that he will not stop in pushing Pashinyan to make concessions at this point.

All this suggests that the military conflict in Transcaucasia is far from being over. Pashinyan hopes that the West will protect him in exchange for his anti-Russian position. Ukraine knows how the West can make it happen. At the same time, military logistics from Europe to Armenia will be carried out by sea only if Georgia provides a corridor for that. This will increase both time and costs. Main events are going to unfold in the region next year. If they want to pull Armenia away from Russia, they will try to do it during the time when Russia is busy with the special military operation in Ukraine.

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Author`s name Lyuba Lulko
Editor Dmitry Sudakov