One cannot confidently state that Armenia is a staunch ally of Russia in the South Caucasus, Leonid Reshetnikov, Director of Russia’s Institute for Strategic Studies, told journalists in Rostov, Rosbalt reports.
The political and socio-economic situation has worsened in Armenia over the last few years. He pointed out that over 50% of the Armenia’s population emigrated to Russia, including numerous intellectuals that are friendly to Russia. While ordinary people are concerned over the possibility of Russia leaving the Caucasus, intellectuals and government officials are of different opinions, the expert said.
Reshetnikov pointed out the U.S. has become more active in Armenia. It is no coincidence that the U.S. has the “world’s largest embassy” in Armenia. “It means that the Central Intelligence Agency created a regional agent network, which is common knowledge. That is why 300 to 400 officers are working there as diplomatic or technical staff,” the expert said.
According to Reshetnikov, the United State’s aim is to break the only link that is still an obstacle to their efforts to form a “Russia-free” one in the Caucasus. This is also the aim of the United State’s efforts to reconcile Armenia and Turkey. “A few years ago I happened to talk to Armenia’s top officials. Even then, in private talks, they used to say: ‘The United States is a great power, why are we looking at Russia? We had better look at the U.S.’ I said to a top-ranking official: ‘The U.S. will not give you money for the country’s development. It will give a loan for sewerage in Yerevan, and top officials will use the money for personal enrichment. Americans have never given anything except for purpose loans to bribe the ruling top. The face of the official I was talking to showed he shared my opinion of the U.S. line. He liked that idea of Americans giving money for the ruling top,” Reshetnikov said.
He pointed out that Russia’s weaker positions in Armenia will be palpable within the next couple of years.