The Prospect of Withdrawal of CSTO from Armenia

    • Politics - 29 December 2016, 00:30
CSTO blocks Armenia; Astana and Minsk act against Yerevan

The two summits that took place in Russia at the end of the year, the meetings of CSTO and EAEU heads of states, again not attended by everyone, demonstrated once again that Armenia has appeared in a place where the issues of security and economic developments are not reflected at all.

Armenia is a hostage to both organizations and has joined them only because Russia needed that because without the membership of Armenia the South Caucasus would be left out of the “area of influence” of both CSTO and EAEU. In other words, without Armenia the borders of these organizations would shrink. And the South Caucasus is a core region, not only for Russia.

Russia has a central role in these organizations but Belarus and Kazakhstan are neither voiceless, nor weak-willed. Hence, the membership of Armenia to CSTO enables Astana and Minsk to act in the South Caucasus. In addition, both Astana and Minsk play against Armenia, this is beyond doubt. To put it in a different way, the membership of Armenia to EAEU and CSTO enables Astana and and Minsk a wider scope of acting against Yerevan. They are using this possibility openly and cynically.

In this context, it is not only welcome that the representative of Armenia does not appear in the post of CSTO Secretary General but also the issue of putting forth the membership of Armenia for a serious internal discussion in Armenia is up.

The point is that the only “argument” is Armenia does not have a prospect for an alliance, whether a good or a bad one, CSTO is the only one where Armenia is under a collective security umbrella. The war in April demonstrated more vividly that this is not true, and Azerbaijan which is not a member feels more successful and comfortable than Azerbaijan.

Obviously, Russia is the hope of a security “alliance”. In reality, CSTO assistance means Russia’s assistance.

If Russia is the “argument”, Armenia has quite sophisticated bilateral agreements on mutual military and political assistance which are sufficient for ensuring de jure opportunities for Russia’s assistance of an ally. CSTO is not needed at all, including for buying weapons at preferential prices because one cannot impose prices of weapons supplied to Armenia, irrespective of being a CSTO member state.

The problem is rather the withdrawal of CSTO from the South Caucasus, not the narrow task of withdrawal of Armenia from CSTO.

This is true and the April war revealed in a tragic way that the South Caucasus needs a deep change in the security system, otherwise the Armenian armed forces are left all alone, and the security system in the Caucasus relies practically on the Armenian armed forces.

By withdrawing CSTO from the unviable CSTO which has nothing in common with the interests of Armenia, a new opportunity and setting for overcoming the isolation of the Armenian armed forces in regional security is created. The situation of the April war grants an opportunity to at least include these problems in the Armenian domestic political agenda, especially ahead of the parliamentary election.

The post-April situation gives a chance for this because the new situation has not hardened as much as the one following the first war.