Armenia–Russia relations

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Armenia–Russia relations
Map indicating locations of Armenia and Russia


Armenian and Russian flags in Gyumri, Armenia

Bilateral relations between modern-day Armenia and the Russian Federation were established on 3 April 1992, though Russia has been an important actor in Armenia since the early 19th century. The two countries' historic relationship has its roots in the Russo-Persian War of 1826 to 1828 between the Russian Empire and Qajar Persia after which Eastern Armenia was ceded to Russia. Moreover, Russia was viewed as a protector of the Christian subjects in the Ottoman Empire, including the Armenians.[1]

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Armenia has shared Russia's approach aimed at strengthening the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Armenia and Russia are both members of a military alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), along with four other ex-Soviet countries, a relationship that Armenia finds essential to its security. Among the contracts and the agreements, which determine intergovernmental relations – a treaty of friendship, collaboration and mutual aid of 29 August 1997 are a number of the documents, which regulate bases of Russian military units and liaisons in the Republic of Armenia. Armenia became a full member of the Eurasian Economic Union on 2 January 2015.


Vladimir Putin in Armenia, 2001.

The significant part of the territory currently belonging to Armenia was incorporated into the Russian Empire pursuant to the 1828 Treaty of Turkmenchay signed between Russia and Persia following the Russo-Persian War (1826–28).

After the 1917 Russian Revolution, Armenia gained short-lived independence as the First Republic of Armenia. By 1920, the state was incorporated into the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, a founding member of the Soviet Union that was formally constituted in 1922. In 1936, the Transcaucasian state was dissolved, leaving its constituent states, including the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic, as full Union republics.

The modern Armenia became independent in 1991 as a consequence of the dissolution of the Soviet Union due to the failed coup that happened in August. Armenia boycotted the union-wide preservation vote earlier that year.

The Russian Federation, the successor state of the Soviet Union, is believed to have been instrumental in achieving victory by Armenians in the First Nagorno-Karabakh War (1988–1994). In 2013, the deputy prime-minister of Azerbaijan Ali S. Hasanov said, "We need to become much stronger so that if we become involved in combat in Nagorno-Karabakh we can stand up to Russian troops, because that is who we will have to face. Did Armenia occupy our territories? Do you think Armenia's power is sufficient for that?”[2]

Developments since 2013[edit]

Vladimir Putin and Serzh Sargsyan opening the Days of Armenian Culture in Russia during a ceremony at the Tretyakov Gallery.

Faced with the choice of either joining the Russia-led Customs Union or signing the Association Agreement with the European Union, Armenia eventually chose the former option. The decision on Armenia's accession to the Customs Union was announced by the president of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan on 3 September 2013.[3][4]

On 2 December 2013, Russian president Vladimir Putin arrived to Armenia on an official visit. The heads of the two states discussed Armenia's accession to the Customs Union and signed 12 agreements on enhancing cooperation in a number of key spheres such as security, economy, energy and others. Russia also reduced the gas price for Armenia from 270 to 189 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters and enlarged the existing Russian military bases in Armenia.[5][6]

Armenia became a full member of the Eurasian Economic Union from January 2, 2015, whereupon cooperation and integration with Russia reached a new level.

Gyumri murders[edit]

On 12 January 2015, Valery Permyakov, a Russian soldier from the 102nd military base in Gyumri, murdered an Armenian family of seven during the night.[7] He was formally charged under the Armenian Criminal Code but still held at the 102nd military base.[8] On 15 January, popular protests broke out in Gyumri demanding that Permyakov be handed over to the Armenian justice system.[9] A protest rally was also held at Freedom Square in Yerevan, where 20 people were detained due to clashes with police.[10][11] In August 2015, Permyakov was convicted by the Russian military court on a number of charges excluding murder; in August 2016, the Armenian court that held the hearings in the compound of Russia's 102nd military base found Valery Permyakov guilty on a series of charges including murder, and sentenced him to life.[12] The court's ruling was upheld in December 2016 by the Appeals Court in Yerevan.[13]

Relations under Nikol Pashinyan (since 2018)[edit]

Relations between the countries′ governments strained following the election of Nikol Pashinyan as prime minister of Armenia in May 2018. Pashinyan has been compared by Russian politicians and media to Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko, who was elected president shortly after the pro-Western 2014 Ukrainian revolution.[14] Tensions were further raised following the arrests of former president Robert Kocharyan and CSTO secretary general Yuri Khatchaturov[15][16][17] as well as business disputes involving Russian companies operating in Armenia.[18]

Russia was described as reluctant to openly intervene in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war in support of Armenia due to the ongoing tensions between Putin and Pashinyan.[19][20] Russia ultimately held peace talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia, culminating in a ceasefire agreement of 10 October,[21] which was subsequently disregarded by both sides.[22] The war was halted when the belligerents′ leaders and president of Russia signed an armistice agreement in Moscow on 9 November 2020.

Military union and cooperation[edit]

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia.

Military cooperation between Armenia and Russia is based on both states being members of the military alliance (CSTO) as well as participants in the Joint CIS Air Defense System. Russia maintains in Gyumri (formerly, Alexandropol), north of Yerevan, one of its military bases abroad (102nd Military Base) as part of Russia's Transcaucasian Group of Forces; the relevant treaty was extended until 2044 in 2010.[23] Moscow also undertook to supply Armenia with more weapons and military hardware.[24] On 8 December 2015, the Erebuni base (part of 102nd) was reinforced with six advanced Mi-24P assault helicopters and an Mi-8MT transport helicopter delivered from the Russian Air Force base in the Krasnodar region.[25]

The Russian border guards directorate in Armenia (c. 4,500 strong) along with the Armenian border guards is responsible for the protection of the Soviet-era border of Armenia with Turkey and Iran.[26]

In October 2013, the chief commander of Russia's 102nd military base Andrey Ruzinsky told Russia's official military newspaper, "If Azerbaijan decides to restore jurisdiction over Nagorno-Karabakh by force, the [Russian] military base may join in the armed conflict in accordance with the Russian Federation’s obligations within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization."[24][27]

On 23 December 2015, Russian defence minister Sergey Shoygu and his Armenian counterpart, Seyran Ohanyan, signed an agreement to form a Joint Air Defense System in the Caucasus.[28] The conclusion of the agreement followed the Armenian minister's assertion that the ceasefire with Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh virtually no longer existed.[29] In June 2016, Armenia's National Assembly voted 102–8 to ratify an agreement to create an Armenia–Russia joint air defense system.[30]

In 2016, it was reported by media that Armenia had received from the Russian state a divizion of Iskander-M ballistic missiles[31] (earlier, in 2013, it was revealed that Russia had deployed several Iskander missile systems at undisclosed locations throughout Armenia.[32]) In February 2017, the Defence minister of Armenia told a Russian mass media outlet that the Iskander missiles stationed in Armenia and shown at the military parade in September 2016 were owned and operated by the Armed Forces of Armenia.[33]

In November 2016, Russian president Vladimir Putin approved a government proposal on creating joint Russian and Armenian military forces.[34] The two sides were to set up a joint command, whose leader would be appointed by the Supreme Commander of the Armenian Armed Forces in agreement with the Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed Forces.[35] In early October 2017, the relevant bilateral treaty was ratified by the Armenian parliament.[36][37]

In mid-October 2017, the Armenian cabinet approved a bill for signing a $100 million worth credit agreement with Russia to facilate the weapons purchase in line with the domestic legislation.[38]

Resident diplomatic missions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ LUIGI VILLARI. Fire and Sword in the Caucasus. p. 65. the khanates of Erivan and Nakhitchevan were conquered in 1828— 29 after a last war with Persia ;
  2. ^ "Azerbaijan says will face Russian soldiers in Karabakh in case of war". Today's Zaman. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Armenia To Join Russian-Led Customs Union". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  4. ^ Helix Consulting LLC. "EU-Armenia: About decision to join the Customs Union". Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Россия и Армения подписали 12 документов в ходе визита Владимира Путина в Ереван". ИА REGNUM. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Эхо Москвы :: Новости / Армения получила скидку на газ еще не подписав даже "дорожную карту" по вступлению в Таможенный союз". Эхо Москвы. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Interfax. "Joint commission to coordinate Armenian-Russian inquiry into Gyumri murder." Interfax: Russia & CIS Military Newswire 20 Jan. 2015: 1. Regional Business News. Web. 11 Nov. 2016". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ "Interfax. "Armenia's ruling party says case of Russian soldier suspected of Gyumri murder should not be politicized." Russia & FSU General News 16 Jan. 2015: 1. Regional Business News. Web. 11 Nov. 2016". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ Interfax. "Joint commission to coordinate Armenian-Russian inquiry into Gyumri murder." Interfax: Russia & CIS Military Newswire 20 Jan. 2015: 1. Regional Business News. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.
  10. ^ nterfax. "Armenia's ruling party says case of Russian soldier suspected of Gyumri murder should not be politicized." Russia & FSU General News 16 Jan. 2015: 1. Regional Business News. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.
  11. ^ "Gyumri Murders Threaten to Disrupt Armenia's Relations with Russia". Retrieved 2016-11-13.
  12. ^ Солдат, убивший армянскую семью в Гюмри, приговорен к пожизненному сроку
  13. ^ Appeals Court Upholds Life Sentence for Russian Soldier Convicted of Murder of Armenian Family
  14. ^ Russian press portrays Armenia's Pashinyan as "carbon copy" of Poroshenko
  15. ^ CSTO Chief Charged In Connection With 2008 Armenian Election Violence
  16. ^ Russia Seethes After Velvet Revolutionary Strikes at Old Foes
  17. ^ Armenia’s Pashinyan: We hope Russia has done nothing against us
  18. ^ As Armenia was engulfed in internal squabbles, a Russian bomb was lobbed into the political forum which mushroomed to cover the entire horizon.
  19. ^ "Russia is the only country able to stop the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. Will it step up and do so?". CNN. 5 October 2020.
  20. ^ "Reluctant Russia offers to send peacekeeping 'monitors' to Nagorno-Karabakh". The Independent. 14 October 2020.
  21. ^ "Armenia and Azerbaijan agree on a ceasefire, Russian foreign ministry says". CNN. 10 October 2020.
  22. ^ "Nagorno-Karabakh: Armenia and Azerbaijan accuse each other of breaking fresh truce". The Guardian. 18 October 2020.
  23. ^ Российская военная база останется в Армении до 2044 года Russia-24, 20 August 2010.
  24. ^ a b "Russian Base In Armenia Signals Role In Possible Karabakh War". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 30 October 2013.
  25. ^ "Russian military helicopters stationed near Turkey". DW. 8 December 2013.
  26. ^ Генерал-майор Бирюков возглавил Погрануправление ФСБ РФ в Армении
  27. ^ "Южный форпост России". Krasnaya Zvezda. 10 October 2013. В случае принятия решения руководством Азербайджана по восстановлению юрисдикции над Нагорным Карабахом силовым путём военная база может вступить в вооружённый конфликт в соответствии с договорными обязательствами Российской Федерации в рамках Организации Договора о коллективной безопасности.
  28. ^ "Russia, Armenia unify air defense systems in Caucasus". Hürriyet Daily News. 24 December 2015. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  29. ^ "Ankara: Russia-Armenia deal heats up Caucasus". Hürriyet Daily News. 25 December 2015. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  30. ^ Staff (June 30, 2016). "Armenia ratifies agreement on joint air-defense system with Russia". Reuters. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  31. ^ «Искандеры» доехали до Армении Vedomosti, 18 September 2016.
  32. ^ Harutyunyan, Sargis (3 June 2013). "Advanced Russian Missiles 'Deployed In Armenia'". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  33. ^ Виген Саркисян: "Искандеры" принадлежат Армении, управляем ими мы RIA Novosti, 22 February 2017.
  34. ^ Распоряжение Президента Российской Федерации от 12.11.2016 № 359-рп "О подписании Соглашения между Российской Федерацией и Республикой Армения об Объединенной группировке войск (сил) Вооруженных Сил Республики Армения и Вооруженных Сил Российской Федерации"
  35. ^ Russia and Armenia to Create Joint Military Forces The Moscow Times, 14 November 2016.
  36. ^ Парламент Армении ратифицировал соглашение об армяно-российской группировке RIA Novosti, 5 October 2017.
  37. ^ Armenian Parliament Approves New Defense Agreement with Russia The Armenian Weekly, 5 October 2017.
  38. ^ Кабмин Армении одобрил подписание с Россией оборонного кредитного договора RIA Novosti, 12 October 2017.

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