“Pashinyan’s attempts towards the CSTO are a bluff” - Oleg Kuznetsov talks on Ednews

Interviews 10:00 28.02.2024

Ednews presents its interview with Russian political scientist, candidate of historical sciences, professor Oleg Kuznetsov:

  - Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in an interview with France 24 that Armenia has frozen its participation in the CSTO. Will Armenia leave this organization, or is this another blackmail of Yerevan, what do you think?

  - The concept of “frozen” is very amorphous and legally vague; it is unclear what it means. Such concepts as “suspend” or “terminate” are much more understandable to the ears of the Russian people, and in the CSTO they communicate in Russian since it is the official language of the organization. But Pashinyan did not use these words. Perhaps the Armenian language - ancient and laconic - does not have such a wealth of concepts as in Russian, and their one word means all three concepts - “frozen”, “suspend”, and “stop”. But this still does not provide political certainty. It seems to me that Pashinyan is now maneuvering and bluffing, as is usual for him. It is clear that today, the CSTO is the only defense structure that, due to its authority and military power, is capable of protecting Armenia from external military influences. And the main threats, let’s be honest, are Azerbaijan and Türkiye. Neither Baku nor Ankara would risk getting involved in a conflict with Russia. As soon as Armenia leaves the CSTO, all historical claims, will immediately be presented to it. Yerevan understands this very well, and therefore they will definitely not be left alone against two traditional geopolitical opponents. All of Pashinyan’s current foreign policy flirtations, in my opinion, are now determined by domestic political issues. Now Robert Kocharyan has entered the National Assembly of Armenia as a deputy, who has objectively become the center of unification of all anti-Pashinyan forces, their entire spectrum, and there are many of them in Armenia now. To retain power, Pashinyan will opt for an alleged confrontation with Russia and an alliance with France and its NATO allies. But Western help is not enough to rearm or create a new army from scratch. Azerbaijan knows from its own experience how to create an army from scratch - this took your country, with its economic potential, a quarter of a century. Consequently, for Armenia, with its economic capabilities, to create an army equal to Azerbaijan’s, it will take at least 50 years. Lada with comprehensive medical assistance. A new generation of youth must grow up, raised in the appropriate spirit, so that there will be new soldiers. Armenia does not have time for this. This is why I argue that all of Pashinyan’s current attempts regarding the CSTO are a situational political bluff.

  - France is actively arming Armenia, provoking a new conflict in the region. Is there a high probability of such developments in the foreseeable future?

  - France’s actions to arm Armenia represent emergency deliveries of low-quality weapons that have not found their buyer in the global arms market. The 50 reconnaissance and patrol vehicles that were delivered to Armenia are not yet large-scale arms deliveries. This technique can also be used for purely police purposes against the opposition, and this should not be forgotten. So far, apart from negotiations, there is nothing significant. Where are the tanks, combat aircraft, and rocket artillery? There is none of this. Therefore, Armenia’s allies in the CSTO are not yet particularly tense about France’s efforts to drag official Yerevan into the zone of its military influence. In addition, the war in Ukraine clearly showed that French weapons are not the best and not the highest quality, and they are unlikely to be able to successfully withstand the types of Russian, Turkish, and Serbian weapons that Azerbaijan is currently purchasing on the battlefield.

France, by arming Armenia, is pursuing its own internal political goals. Macron needs to show that after French influence ended in several Central African countries thanks to Russia’s efforts, he had enough strength to launch a counterattack in the South Caucasus region. At the same time, Paris does not understand that as soon as the CSTO and the Kremlin make it clear that the fate of Armenia is now exclusively in its hands, the issues of Kafan, Zangazur, Sharur, and other ancestral Azerbaijani territories that are now part of Armenia will immediately arise in full force. Russia will not even have to make an effort to punish Armenia for its treachery, it will be done for it, but with its tacit consent and approval, and no military assistance from France will be able to resist this.

  - How do you assess the current level of dialogue between Baku and Yerevan, and the possibility of signing a peace treaty? Recently, as I mentioned, there has been a feeling that Yerevan is being actively used as a tool for the penetration of Western countries into the South Caucasus, including France with its aggressive and toxic ambitions. What is the risk of a new war in the South Caucasus?

  - I would not call the relations between Baku and Yerevan today a dialogue; rather, they are similar to the monologue of President Aliyev in Prime Minister Pashiyan’s address, which he listens to and tries to evade. I even came up with a formula to describe this: "Pashinyan is trying to lead Aliyev by the nose, but he holds him tightly by the scrotum". Baku has demanded constitutional reform in Armenia to renounce territorial claims to Azerbaijan, which I wrote about four years ago, and Yerevan is meekly convening a constitutional meeting on March 1 to develop a new draft of the basic law of its country. And we see something similar in all other areas of the Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement. In a word, the process is taking place under the implicit, but dictation of official Baku.

  - Do you think that after such behavior of Armenia, the fate of Georgia and Ukraine awaits Yerevan? And when approximately can we expect this to occur?

  - Of course, Armenia is worried about the fate of Georgia and Ukraine. However, this is the fate of all countries without their own political course. But it will definitely not be Russia that will determine the fate, but those countries that have historical and political claims against Armenia. There are many in the world who want to punish Armenia for its traditional meanness, and who will exact retribution for all its sins. It will be enough for Russia to wish them good luck.

- Europe is worried if Trump wins the election, he will stop helping Ukraine and leave the "Old World" alone with Moscow. Do you think so too?

  - Although I do not have much information in this area in general, as Trump is presented by the Russian-language and English-language press, he will not leave Europe and Ukraine without help but will force them to pay in full for American assistance, driving them further into debt and economic depression. And I don’t know what will be worse for Europe and Ukraine - to remain completely without free or conditionally free American assistance or to pay the full price for it and also as an advance payment.

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