President Putin and the leader of the Velvet Revolution in Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, have announced what they call an “attentive attitude” that suggests Moscow has recognised mistakes in its response to previous revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine. Though anger and discontent in Armenia was aimed at its former leaders and their internal policies, the relationship with Moscow would not have been far from the minds of the leaders of this revolution. They have quickly announced their “assurance of the consistency of this relationship and confirm their compliance with agreements and international treaties previously signed in Yerevan, as well as Armenia’s role in many regional alliances, including the Collective Security Treaty, and the Eurasian Integration treaty with Russian and a number of the countries of the former Soviet Union”.
Warm welcome for new prime minister
Vladimir Putin was the first to congratulate Nikol Pashinyan after he was elected Armenia’s Prime Minister. Moscow considers what happened in Armenia an “internal affair”. President Putin had “enhanced” his congratulations with an exceptionally warm welcome for the Armenian Prime Minister in Sochi before the meeting of the leaders of the countries of the Eurasian Integration Organisation. It reflects the move that Moscow seems to have made away from its previous policy towards neighbouring countries, during what is an extremely critical time for Russia as it faces the harshest Western sanctions yet.
Relations between Yerevan and Moscow
Some suggest there is a shared mutual interest between Yerevan and Moscow in maintaining good relations. Moscow wants good strategic relations with its neighbours, while Armenia remains in need of Moscow’s military and economic support in facing its neighbours and rivals, Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Armenia has remained on a war footing with Azerbaijan since the crisis of Nagorno-Karabakh towards the end of the 1980s. Russian military support is based at two Armenian military sites, while a historically aggressive relationship with Turkey has existed since the massacres of the early twentieth century.
While President Putin confirmed that Russia “considers Armenia a close partner and ally in the region”, Panishyan declared his appreciation for the balanced response by Russia towards recent events in Armenia. The Armenian leader added that his country does not need to reconfirm its strong ties with Russia, and that no one in Armenia can doubt its relationship with Russia, indicating specifically cooperation in military and technological matters.