Armenia is stuck between Russia and the USA

On March 10th in Moscow, the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The heads of state will discuss issues of bilateral cooperation, prospects of development of the Eurasian Economic Union, and the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.


Armenia has traditionally been considered a key ally of Russia in the South Caucasus, and is a member of the CSTO. There is an established Russian military base on the territory of Armenia in Gyumri, and the Armenian leadership calls Russia its strategic ally. Armenia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union since 2015.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

The possibility of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resuming is the main factor that destabilises the situation in the region. In any case, this implies an armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, something that Russia is not interested in. In recent years, Russia has kept their allied relations with Armenia and has sought rapprochement with Azerbaijan, but the US, the EU, and Turkey are also fighting for the influence of this major oil-producing country. In the event of an armed conflict, Russia will be forced to take sides, and will most likely side with Armenia, thus, Russia will lose all relations with Azerbaijan. Russia is interested in “freezing” the conflict since it cannot be resolved peacefully in the current geopolitical situation.

During the past year, the number of provocations on the contact line in Karabakh and on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border has increased dramatically: artillery battles, raids from subversive groups, mutual attacks etc. In particular, the Azerbaijani side is the most active in violating the international agreements. A neo-Ottoman Turkey, whose Foreign Minister, Çavuşoğlu, promised to "make every effort to liberate the occupied territories of Azerbaijan”,and is pushing Azerbaijan into making aggressive provocations.

The struggle for Armenia

The United States and its European allies are fighting to influence Armenia, and in the summer of 2015, the so-called "elektromaydan" was organized in the country. Higher prices for energy were used to create a protest movement, backed up by anti-government and anti-Russian slogans (the electricity monopoly that had raised prices had been a subsidiary of the Russian company "Inter RAO UES"). In the same year, a Russian soldier, Valery Permyakov, murdered an Armenian family. This tragedy was also used to organize mass anti-Russian protests that demanded the withdrawal of the Russian military base in Armenia. The killer was an adept of the neo-Pentecostal church, associated with the American neo-Pentecostals.

Besides the organization of pressure in civil society, the US and the EU are trying to involve the Armenian leadership in joint projects, holding meetings in return. Since cooperation with the EU is growing within the Eastern Partnership mechanisms, Armenia cooperates with NATO. On the day before the visit of the Armenian President to Moscow, the Foreign and Defense Ministers of Armenia, on March 9th in Brussels, took part in the meeting of the Atlantic Council, discussing issues of cooperation with the anti-Russian alliance. The Armenian side uses the sale of Russian weapons to Azerbaijan as an excuse for such an ambiguous policy.

By staying within the Eurasian Economic Union, Armenia has not yet yielded tangible benefits that undermine Russia's influence in the country.

The Syrian issue

It is most likely that, in addition to issues of security and the economy, the Syrian problem will also be discussed. Armenia has accepted 20,000 refugees from Syria, most of which are representatives of the Armenian community. This has transformed the conflict into an indefinite one due to the new influx of refugees.