Stratfor: Worsening ties with Armenia could force Russia to bolster relations with Azerbaijan

Thu 24 Jan 2019 11:32 GMT | 15:32 Local Time

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If the Russian-Armenian relationship continues to fray, other powers, including the United States, Iran and Turkey, could make inroads in the Caucasus country and weaken Russia's position, read a material published by the US geopolitical intelligence platform Stratfor.

This, in turn, could force Russia to focus more on bolstering ties with one of Armenia's biggest nemeses, Azerbaijan, Stratfor analysts believe.

“Tight ties between Armenia and Russia have long been a mainstay in the Caucasus, but rising tensions between Yerevan and Moscow could significantly undermine their relationship. The tensions especially threaten Armenia's military ties with Russia, although they could also impact natural gas flows between the countries.”

The authors point out that recent political shifts in Armenia have thrown the traditionally strong relationship between Yerevan and Moscow into question – raising the possibility that other powers near and far could step in to fill any breach.

The analytics reads that security matters have added to the tension between the countries.

“During a visit to Yerevan in October 2018, US national security adviser John Bolton said the United States would consider the possibility of selling weapons to Armenia. Pashinyan, meanwhile, told Bolton that Yerevan was open to discussing an arms deal. The Kremlin already supplies certain weapons to Azerbaijan, but Russia could certainly ramp up such support if Armenia actually purchased US arms.”

Further, the analysts note that disagreements are also brewing in other traditionally strong areas of Russian-Armenian cooperation, including the energy sector.

“Following recent negotiations over natural gas, Russia increased the price from $150 per thousand cubic meters (tcm) in 2018 to $165 per tcm in 2019, disappointing Armenian officials who had previously expressed hope that Russia would actually lower the cost of natural gas. Pashinyan subsequently indicated his interest in expanding natural gas imports from Iran, noting that his government would do its best to defend the country's interests.”

Nevertheless, Stratfor analysts believe that in the end, Armenia's continued dependence on Russia for security support and its nonexistent relations with both Azerbaijan and Turkey due to Nagorno-Karabakh means Yerevan is unlikely to make any sudden moves to end its strategic alliance with Russia.

News.Az 

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