Armenia Tension — Military Support Deteriorating, Talk of Coup

  • Pashinyan is one away from loosing all military support.
  • Pashinyan made a statement claiming the reason for the Armenian losses in the Nagorno Karabakh are due to the Iskander missile systems failures.
  • The 9K720 Iskander is a mobile short-range ballistic missile system produced and deployed by the Russian military.

The tensions in Armenia continue to escalate. This week people took to the streets with many demanding the Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to resign. There is a possibility of the military coup in Armenia. Earlier this week, Pashinyan fired one of the military leaders, which resulted in the large protests.

Nikol Vovayi Pashinyan is an Armenian politician serving as Prime Minister of Armenia since 8 May 2018. A prominent journalist and editor, Pashinyan first founded his own newspaper in 1998 which was shut down a year later.

Pashinyan is one away from loosing all military support.  The firing came after, Pashinyan made a statement claiming the reason for the Armenian losses in the Nagorno Karabakh are due to the Iskander systems failures. Both Russia and the Armenian military command disagreed, claiming Iskander systems were not used in the Nagorno Karabakh.

The 9K720 Iskander is a mobile short-range ballistic missile system produced and deployed by the Russian military. The missile systems are to replace the obsolete OTR-21 Tochka systems, still in use by the Russian armed forces, by 2020.

The Kremlin urged Armenians to follow the laws. However, since last year escalation of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, the rise of the anti-Russian propaganda is observed. A number of the Armenian news agencies made a lot of negative comments towards Russia.

Immediately after the trilateral meeting of Vladimir Putin, Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan, which took place on January 11, 2021, the online publication “Lragir”  published a number of articles with an anti-Russian orientation. Interestingly, the Lragir is based out of San Francisco and the articles claim that Russia is lobbying for the Azerbaijan.

Russian media did an expose on the Open Society of Armenia claiming that their funding is received from the EU  and the last grant was given to the foundation was  last year. According to the independent reports, the Open Society of Armenia was working on the formation  of the routes from Armenia to the EU. This project started approximately 5 months before the Nagorno Karabakh conflict escalation.

Furthermore, when Pashinyan came to power, he always had pro-Western views. He started terrorizing military leaders, including in the Nagorno Karabakh region. Hence, when the conflict escalated in the Nagorno Karabakh, he was too busy setting personal scores than actually trying to protect the region. Hence, allowing Azerbaijan to gain certain advantage in the region.

Currently, the UK is trying to interfere in the Nagorno Karabakh region. Now that the main issues of the parties to the conflict have been resolved and negotiations on unblocking the routes have been initiated, the British government is taking measures to intervene in this process.

The topic of introducing a “peacekeeping” contingent of Turkey is also being discussed. This will provide the United Kingdom with the security of future infrastructure projects, set a precedent for accusing Moscow and Ankara of collusion, and reduce Russia’s role in the region.

Joe Biden

Moreover, the opening of new routes is also beneficial for Armenia, as it pulls it out of almost complete isolation and opens up new economic prospects, even at the cost of allied and friendly relations with Russia. Reducing the influence of Russian Gazprom through the construction of a new gas pipeline from Baku also helps to level the levers of pressure from Moscow.

Against this background, the active involvement of regional players in new routes has begun. So, anticipating the imminent lifting of sanctions by the administration of the new US President Joe Biden, Iran has started the construction of a railway line to Parsabad, which will connect the Azerbaijani and Iranian railway networks.

Overall, all this projects can end up being at risk, if Armenia plunges into chaos. The military coup would not aid the situation. Pashinyan should resign, otherwise the protests will continue.

Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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