The Armenian parliament has ratified the agreement on the Armenian-Russian joint contingent. The joint contingent includes the Russian military base in Gyumri and the 5th
corps of the Armenian army. The agreement regulates the cases of deployment, operations and other issues of the contingent. There are controversial provisions that give rise to concerns, namely on the ones that limit the actions of the Armenian army.
Russian experts say the joint contingent is intended for the defense of Armenia, particularly if threats come from Turkey or Nakhijevan. The Russian expert Vadim Yevseyev says Russia will expand its military presence if such necessity arises. In addition, if the corridor via Georgia is closed, Russia will use the Iran-Armenia border to strengthen its military presence in Armenia and neutralizing threats from the side of Turkey and Nakhijevan, he said.
Nakhijevan appeared at the center of attention of the Russian experts after Turkey started increasing its political, economic and military presence. Several exercises were held there, a separate army has been created in Nakhijevan, which is actually coordinated by Turkish professionals. A modern Russian weapon has been deployed in Nakhijevan which, according to experts, may pose threat to Yerevan. Besides, Turkey is trying to integrate Nakhijevan economically, opening an office of its Ministry of Economy there.
Nakhijevan’s current status was determined back in the last century under the Russian-Turkish treaty signed in Kars. It was defined as an autonomous territory under Azerbaijan’s aegis. In other words, it is a protectorate the guarantors of which are Turkey and Russia. In fact, Russia handed over Nakhijevan for the second time, this time from Azerbaijani “protectorate” to Turkey.
Nakhijevan is a special region. Currently, it is a cork which keeps the region closed, particularly envisaging the isolation of Armenia within the logic of the Russian-Turkish status quo.
In theory, if Nakhijevan opens up, all the existing communications start working, and it is the shortest way for the new ones that can connect the region with Europe. This can be the end of the Russian-Turkish status quo and the logic of the current security system in the Caucasus.
Turkey increased its presence in Nakhijevan after the onset of the Syrian events, strengthening its back.
Russia which is now “enjoying” the fruits of its policy of the 1920s has decided to “cover” Nakhijevan with the joint Armenian-Russian contingent. What is the purpose? Correcting the “historical mistake” or “strengthening” the agreement of Kars? The future developments will show.