A seminar on "Russian-Armenian relations in the context of Russia’s policy in the Caucasus," held in Moscow yesterday, reviewed the state of bilateral military and political relations. The deputy chief of the Russian General Staff’s international cooperation section, Maj. Gen. Vasily Grigoriev, stated that more than 250 Armenian officers and cadets are currently studying in Russian military academies. Grigoriev’s counterpart from the border forces, Col. Vladimir Parasyuk, stated that 2,200 Armenian enlisted men and officers serve with the Russian border troops in Armenia, making up 45 percent of the manpower of those troops. Both speakers stressed the significance of Russian military bases in Armenia for Russia’s overall policy in the Caucasus region.
Politika Foundation chairman Vyacheslav Nikonov, for his part, noted the absence in Moscow of a "unified approach" toward the Caucasus region as a whole. Nikonov blamed those internal differences for the "colossal damage to Russia" caused by "the leakage from government circles" of information regarding the more than $1 billion worth of Russian arms deliveries to Armenia. Ekspertiza think-tank chairman Mark Urnov, brother of Russia’s Yerevan ambassador, Andrei Urnov, called for "serious consideration to [be given to] the Armenian intelligentsia’s initiative" for Armenia’s accession to the Russia-Belarus Union. (Russian agencies, June 17) That initiative (see Monitor, June 10), dubbed "popular" by its authors, has not gathered any popular support in Armenia, but received strong backing from all political forces in Russia’s Duma.