Two opinions on Russia’s goals in the Caucasian and Middle East regions

possible pipelinesThis material presents translated publications in Russian Internet segment, reflecting polar opinions on the need to maintain strategic alliance with Armenia.

The first opinion:“Reversing of Alliances” in the Caucasus; it’s time for Russia to get rid of Armenian dead weight.

It’s quite the thing for Russia to criticize the present race of Western politicians for their disability to distinguish real interests of own nations from home propaganda. It’s being understood that “Kremlin highly pragmatic policy” deters one or another global civilizational idea’s zealots from final drifting into apocalyptic “holy war”. But in fact, we only counter empty ideological rattles of self-proclaimed “democratic community” with new geopolitical mantras, whether they are “Russian World”, “Orthodox Oecumene” or “Historical Ally”. There is little sense to consider pragmatic the getting in hair of Minsk and Astana for the sake of such witty remarks as “collecting all things Russian”, the hope that Orthodox Romania, Bulgaria and Georgia will fall into disenchantment with Euro-Atlantic structures or the waste of narrow sovereign resources on imitation of friendship with miserable “allies” who are ready to sell you in any inopportune moment.

In the heat of information fights for Moscow isolation it stands to reason to initiate putting as much as possible international entities down for so-called “friends”, no matter that this entity is one and a half aboriginal in some godforsaken place. But aboriginals themselves build up relationship with Kremlin, based on quite pragmatic rules: we are friends only while you maintain us, and no other way. This approach is popularized by, for instance, Chairman of the Union of Political Analysts of Armenia, Hmayak Hovannissyan (“Instead of Russian drying tree the American one can be grown”). His arguments are quite coherent: if Russia does not wish or is not able to meet mounting needs of Yerevan, then the United States will do it with great pleasure as Washington is in more vantage position to do it and is more skilled in raising such potential allies. But they ignore only one thing: in any moment the USA is able to repurchase the marketed “lot” even if Moscow continues to invest in Armenia at a sacrifice (in the end, it is they who are printing dollars). Simply Americans have no stake in this matter. In exchange for what do they need to take a bit of land, deprived of access to sea, any natural resources, and of no strategic importance? Will they do it in exchange for new complications in relations with Baku and Ankara? Nonsense, man! Although today one would expect everything from American political elite, pinned faith on own ideological and propaganda clichés.

Let’s wonder now, what Russia can get and reliably lose in the case of Armenia’s modifying its allied obligations in the US favor. Is that notorious bases, which in conditions of real military conflict with NATO don’t affect total balance of strength one way or the other and do not belittle determining importance of strategic nuclear potential? It is propaganda spangle and non plus ultra. Verbal “presence” in the South Caucasus is hardly worth expired costs and unique diplomatic opportunities, dallied away for its support.

Concerning Opportunities

Abandonment of unjustified association with Armenia in matters that are of no importance for Russian Federation will remove key barriers on the way toward rapprochement of Moscow’s positions with Azerbaijan and Turkey. There are a lot of prerequisites for it. Baku’s unpreparedness to reproduce thoughtlessly Western pattern of social and political order, which is fraught with state’s dissolution in local conditions, arouses even greater criticism of “democratic community” than any arbitrary undemocratic action of Yerevan. It creates affinity between Azerbaijan, Iran, Erdogan’s Turkey, and Russia, in short, between all stakeholders of this region. The countries we’ve named are not weak, controllable and dependent enough so as the USA and the EU could recognize their ruling regimes as reasonably democratic, depriving themselves of legal opportunity to meddle in the internal political affairs of the sovereign states. Besides the inherent solidarity of “totalitarian systems” the leading regional states are knit together by issues of production and transit of energy resources, counteraction to separatism and radical Islamism although responsibility for their spreading often rests with the very Washington; and many other actual aspects of the present-day politics. More intensive cooperation between them is observable in absolutely all spheres in spite of difference in their stands on Crimean, Kurdish, Syrian matters and a variety of other international issues; such as the problem of so-called “South Azerbaijan” and Turkey’s NATO membership, largely depreciated by Greece’s participation in deeds of the same organization.
If Russia takes pro-Azerbaijanian position in Karabakh conflict, pro-Turkish position on non-recognition of “Armenian genocide” and lifts all restrictions on contacts with Ankara and Baku in military sphere, then a good few of barriers on the way toward execution of joint energy projects and counteraction to regional separatism and Islamism will disappear. Broad range of states, effectively interacted and systemically engaged with each other by common interests, is formed in the Caucasian and Middle East region now. By virtue of simple logic Central Asian republics and the best part of the Arab World will gravitate toward the new informal club. It will enable to solve a lot of problems, including the ones caused by Washington-oriented anti-system opposition and separatist forces. This also makes it possible to move from simulation to real struggle against ISIS at last and with time fully to exclude pro-American Georgia and – if necessary – Armenia from economic and political life of the region, including transit of energy resources. The latter will turn into a new Israel, isolated from all neighbors, deprived of access to resources, heavily-armed and wanted by no one.
P.S. In that almost anecdotic case, if the USA nevertheless decides to shoulder such next non-box-office burden as the eastern part of Armenian Highlands, historically belonged to Turkey, it would be funny to take a look at the squabble between Israeli and Armenian lobby in Washington about such matter as who exactly (Tel-Aviv or Yerevan) is worthy of saving through using US budget funds.

The second opinion:Attachment to allies is the best type of political pragmatism.

CrusifixLarge-scale crisis, similar to the Ukrainian one, is inevitably the test for long-term international alliances. It is not surprising that in conditions of Western sanctions against Russia doubts about expediency of maintaining allied relations have come to be heard in Russian and Armenian information space. For the time being, statements of skeptics practically fade away amid voices of the alliance’s supporters. To the large extent, this contributes to the fact that criticism mostly originates from circles, associated with various Western Funds and non-profit-making organizations, whose political bias raises no doubts. But it is reasonable to suppose that a number of opponents to the maintenance of exclusive relations between Russia and Armenia will grow with extending of sanction and deepening recessionary trends in the economy of both countries.

Factually, the “case against” boils down either to proclamation of the universal retrenchment policy, including savings on the allies’ projects, by the Russian side, or to calls to avoid collapse simultaneously with Russia, from the Armenian side. Concerning the first item I’d like to note that effective economies should be well-thought-out, including without limitation each the reduction in some spheres and investing in others. And here the maintenance of strategic partnership with Armenia is just the sphere where investments will repeatedly pay off in economic, political and military terms (the one, who does not understand the importance of Russian presence in Trans Caucasus, only demonstrates own incompetence in the matters in hand).

As an example of quite tangible benefit from consistent and faithful fulfillment of allied obligations you can remember the impression from Moscow’s attachment to the alliance with Assad, delivered to Arab leaders, even to those, who are hostile to current Syrian leadership.According to estimates of Israeli journalists Kremlin fidelity to principles towards supporting Damask has become the last outpost of at least relative stabilities against the backdrop of constantly changing alignment of forces in the region. This has roused Egyptian, Saudi and other local politicians to the mass pilgrimage to Moscow for coordination of their positions on regional and global issues. In the eye of Israeli and Arab observers Russia’s approach to foreign policy contrasts painfully with the Obama administration impotence in the face of the Islamic State, as well as, with Washington’s actual betrayal of its Middle East allies in consequence of the US deal with Iran.

I would advise supporters of the “pragmatic” foreign policy not to confuse true pragmatism, based on long-term planning, with myopic adherence to the constantly changing political climate. Interstate and international ties, based on centuries-old cultural, religious and political commonality, cannot be a value, exposed to ageing. They are building blocks of the world which we want to create. Abandonment of them is not pragmatism, but stupidity! This is exactly what is expected from us by globalists of all sorts, those who try to substitute the system of relations between original peoples, states and civilizations, which builds on mutual respect, by standardized world of transnational corporations and consumer universalization.