The Defense Ministers of Russia and Armenia, Marshal Igor Sergeev and Vazgen Sarkisian, have held a “working meeting” in Moscow in the course of Sarkisian’s visit to Russia. The ministers were said to have conferred on bilateral military cooperation, regional security issues in the Caucasus and activities of the CIS Defense Ministers’ Council. (Respublika Armeniya, August 5) Sarkisian’s visit to Russia caps a recent series of meetings between Russian and Armenian military leaders. In the last three weeks alone, visits were paid to Armenia by the commander of Russia’s border troops, Col. Gen. Nikolai Bordyuzha; by the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, Gen. Vyacheslav Trubnikov; and by Sergeev himself. The Russian defense chief discussed far-reaching plans for Russian-Armenian military cooperation and upgrading the Russian arsenals forward-based in Armenia. (See Monitor, July 16)
These visits and plans suggest that Armenia’s newly elected political leadership is more inclined than its predecessors were to function as Russia’s close ally in the region. Yerevan’s increasingly one-sided policy stems less from history than from a current sense of isolation, mainly induced by official international attitudes to the Karabakh problem. Moscow, without formally dissenting from that international consensus, reaps the fruits of Armenia’s insecurity. One increasingly apparent result is Armenia’s alignment with a group of countries–Iran, Syria, Cyprus, and partially Greece–which rely on Russian support against U.S.-supported countries: Azerbaijan, Turkey and Israel.
POVERTY IN KAZAKHSTAN’S SMALL TOWNS GROWS.