Publication: Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 31

Armenia’s defense minister, Lieutenant-General Vagharshak Harutiunian–in Belarus on February 8-10 on an official visit–discussed with his Belarusan counterpart, Colonel-General Aleksandr Chumakov, a plan for “strategic and military-technical cooperation” of the two countries in 2000–the first annual strategy for military cooperation between these two allies of Russia. Harutiunian’s meetings with Belarusan Prime Minister Syarhey Linh and government ministers focused on the possible use of Belarusan military plants for maintaining and upgrading Armenia’s military inventory. Visiting the Agat electronics plant and the Belomo optical plant, Harutiunian pronounced them well suited for servicing Armenia’s military equipment. Protocols on both military-technical cooperation and training of Armenian cadets in Belarusan military institutions were signed. Prime Minister Aram Sarkisian will follow suit with an official visit to Belarus.

On February 7–the eve of Harutiunian’s departure for Minsk–the Armenian parliament ratified two Armenian-Belarusan military pacts. An intergovernmental treaty, signed in May 1999, provides for mutual military assistance in the event of aggression against Armenia or Belarus, or a “threat to the security” of either side. The treaty is valid for five years and can be prolonged automatically for another five. With the fine print of this document unavailable, it is difficult to determine whether it amounts to a full-fledged alliance that can be activated in a crisis. An agreement between the two Defense Ministries, signed also in 1999, forms part of a set of bilateral documents among the member countries of the CIS Collective Security Treaty. The Armenian-Belarusan agreement provides the framework for annual plans of military cooperation, focusing on joint operational and combat training and the repair and maintenance of military hardware.

Armenian-Belarusan political and economic relations have thus far been meager. The bilateral trade turnover amounted to only US$3 million in 1999, and embassies are only now about to be opened in Yerevan and Minsk, complete with military attaches. Significantly, the expansion of bilateral relations now underway is spearheaded by the military. The Armenian-Belarusan incipient military relationship is, in turn, a function of either country’s alliance with Russia. As such, the ties between Yerevan and Minsk represent a novel development in the CIS. They signal the formation of a Moscow-led military-political bloc and, at the same time, a deepening division between those CIS countries loyal to Moscow and those which are not (Snark, Noyan-Tapan, February 8-11).

The Monitor is a publication of the Jamestown Foundation. It is researched and written under the direction of senior analysts Jonas Bernstein, Vladimir Socor, Stephen Foye, and analysts Ilya Malyakin, Oleg Varfolomeyev and Ilias Bogatyrev. If you have any questions regarding the content of the Monitor, please contact the foundation. If you would like information on subscribing to the Monitor, or have any comments, suggestions or questions, please contact us by e-mail at, by fax at 301-562-8021, or by postal mail at The Jamestown Foundation, 4516 43rd Street NW, Washington DC 20016. Unauthorized reproduction or redistribution of the Monitor is strictly prohibited by law. Copyright (c) 1983-2002 The Jamestown Foundation Site Maintenance by Johnny Flash Productions