Armenian base part of Russia's quest for 'superpower' status

Mon 30 August 2010 11:35 GMT | 16:35 Local Time

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Ilyas Ismayilov

News.Az interviews Ilyas Ismayilov, a member of the Azerbaijan-Russia inter-parliamentary friendship group and chairman of the Adalat (Justice) Party.

Will the extension of the Russian military presence in Armenia and its status change the balance of power in the region?

Of course, the balance of power in the region has changed though nothing new has happened in terms of the situation in the region. Merely, the term of the Russian base in Armenia has been prolonged which means the previous situation has been preserved.

Does the change in the status of the Russian military base in Armenia target Azerbaijan?

When they withdrew troops from Georgia and relocated them to Gyumri, Russia said they were not targeting Azerbaijan. Nonetheless, even without these statements I believe Russia will never defend Armenia if Azerbaijan starts military actions in Nagorno-Karabakh to liberate its occupied lands. People in Russia are convinced that if they interfere in this conflict, they may lose the entire Caucasus. In this respect, the world community, states and power centres, use the presence of the Russian military base in Armenia in order to make us give up the liberation of our land. This is being done even when there are no changes in Armenia’s military power and no significant changes in the balance of power in the region. The West is pursuing its interests in the policy of persuading Azerbaijan to reject the use of military force to liberate its land. The West’s interests once pushed Georgia to war against Russia. The West was pursuing the goal of deepening the enmity between Russia and Georgia. The West wants Georgia to remain an enemy of Russia, regardless of who is in power there.

Who does the Russian military base in Armenia target?

The extension of the term of the Russian military base in Gyumri is intended for the future. Russia continues behaving as the former Soviet Union in order to become a country that determines the fate of the world. Therefore, I believe one of the main factors in extending the term of the presence of the Russian military base in Armenia is Russia’s self-assertion as a superpower. I suppose Russia’s actions target the United States, since it is difficult to imagine that this base is targeting Turkey, with which it has brilliant relations, or Iran, with which Russia also has historically good relations. 

What steps should Azerbaijan take to neutralize any possible threats from the Russian base?

Official Baku has chosen the right way on this. Azerbaijan acts correctly by refusing to join the Collective Security Treat Organization. We must not join the organization, I mean the CSTO, of which Armenia is a member - Armenia that occupied part of our land. Azerbaijan should also not seek NATO membership. We should continue an independent policy and remain neutral.

How does Armenia benefit from the presence of the Russian military base on its territory?

It is clear that Armenia lacks resources therefore, it is obliged to look for a supporter in Moscow. Armenia’s economy is fully dependent on Russia. Armenia’s dependence on Russia is so strong that it does not even ask for means for the base maintenance. Armenia has already played the role of a weapon for Russia against the regional countries. It will continue playing this role at least until 2044, that is, until the completion of the term of the agreement on the presence of the Russian military base in Gyumri.

Leyla Tagiyeva



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