The relationship between the Russian and Armenian peoples is more than one hundred years old. Since the time of Ancient Russia, trade and economic contacts have been established and developed, which over time have grown with ties in the field of religion, culture, and politics.
This year, Armenia and Russia celebrated the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two states and the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Armenia. Both countries met these anniversaries not in the most simple times.
We talked with Kamo Hayrapetyan, Chairman of the Regional Branch of the All-Russian Public Organization “Union of Armenians of Russia” of the Krasnodar Territory, about how relations between the two peoples and the two countries are developing, as well as about what place the Armenian community of Kuban occupies in interstate relations between Armenia and Russia.
— Kamo Dikranovich, just the other day, on September 19, the Forum on the topic “Armenian-Russian cooperation. New challenges and opportunities”. To what extent are such joint events in demand and effective?
– Probably the best characteristic of the demand for such forums is that they are regular, the current Russian-Armenian interregional forum is already the ninth in a row. It is held at a high level with the participation of the vice-premiers of the two countries. The President of the Russian Federation and the Prime Minister of Armenia addressed the forum participants with messages.
In his message, Vladimir Vladimirovich attached great importance to interregional cooperation, noting that the subjects of the Russian Federation and the regions of Armenia are actively interacting in the economic, social, scientific, humanitarian and other fields, successfully implementing major joint projects and initiatives. The words of the Russian president were confirmed by the plan for interregional cooperation between the two countries for 2022-2027, which was signed on the very first day of the forum.
Other documents are also expected to be signed. The forum continues its work with discussions on such topics as: “Cooperation between Armenia and Russia in digital format”, “Development of tourism potential”, “Humanitarian development between the regions of Armenia and the regions of the Russian Federation”, “Logistics, finance and investment in modern conditions”, etc. .d.
— I can’t help touching on the disturbing information that has flashed in the news feeds in recent days. We are talking about attempts to unwind anti-Russian sentiments in Armenia. Is this really possible between two fraternal peoples and allied countries?
– A very serious geopolitical game is being played around Armenia, the goal of which is to oust Russia from the South Caucasus region and replace it with the forces of the West. This game didn’t start yesterday. When US National Security Adviser John Bolton arrived in Armenia in 2018, the visit was described by some as “epoch-making.” For the Armenian people, it really became such – two years after it, a large-scale Turkish-Azerbaijani aggression began, which became catastrophic for Artsakh (Karabakh).
And today we are witnessing the visit of another high-ranking official from the United States – Speaker of the House of Representatives of the US Congress Nancy Pelosi. She arrived in Yerevan immediately after the aggression of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces against the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia. In connection with Pelosi’s visit, a number of actions were held in Yerevan demanding Armenia’s withdrawal from the CSTO. They were organized by non-profit organizations financed from the US and do not reflect the interests of Armenia.
The shares of marginals also do not reflect the mood of the majority of the population of Armenia, which values relations with Russia. But provocations directed against Russia will be repeated at the suggestion of pro-American forces, and not only in Armenia. An attempt is already being made to change the pro-Russian sentiments of the Armenians in the Diaspora as well. For this, social networks are actively used.
But why did all this become possible?
For one simple reason. Armenia, being a member of the CSTO military-political bloc, was subjected to aggression by a state that is not a member of this bloc. It is quite natural that in Armenia they had the right to expect a categorical reaction from the CSTO to this aggression. But what was expected in Armenia did not happen, which gave rise to certain forces to promote the thesis of betrayal by the ally.
I will not now discuss the reasons for such a more than balanced position of the CSTO. Instead, I want to quote the statement of our fellow countryman, State Duma deputy from the Krasnodar Territory Konstantin Fedorovich Zatulin, who recently visited Armenia and met with many public and political figures there. “Russia, now occupied in Ukraine, is very difficult in the Caucasus. But things need to be called by their proper names. The lack of a clear and public assessment of events on our part gives rise to disappointment in the Armenian society. Acting unceremoniously, Azerbaijan and Turkey behind it, in fact, received a lever that provokes the growth of anti-Russian sentiment in allied Armenia,” Zatulin said.
– Can the regional branch of the Union of Armenians of Russia oppose this? What measures are you taking to prevent the stuffing of anti-Russian theses into the environment of the Armenian community of Kuban?
Of course, we are not sitting idly by. First of all, educational work is carried out with young people, who are explained all the subtleties of the geopolitical situation that has developed in the region.
Using understandable examples, we show that the collective West is carrying out systematic work to separate Armenia from Russia. Armenia, in fact, is put up for geopolitical bidding, which can lead to a real catastrophe – the loss of Armenian statehood. In this regard, the most obvious example is the fate of Ukraine, which has long lost its subjectivity, becoming an instrument of the United States in the fight against Russia. US tutelage did not lead to anything good for Ukraine, and we do not want such a future for Armenia.
Today, the fate of Armenia largely depends on the position of ordinary Armenians in Armenia and the Diaspora. Including from the Armenians of Kuban. Therefore, taking this opportunity, I would like to address through your newspaper to compatriots, whom I want to call for restraint and prudence. In no case should one succumb to the provocations of the forces that are trying to present Russia as a traitor to the interests of Armenia, and the United States as a savior. For the West, Armenia is just a bargaining chip in a big geopolitical game, the real goal of which is to push Russia out of the region, completely blockade Iran and involve Armenians in the anti-Iranian front. In this game, Armenia is singled out for the role of a “splinter” in the eyes of Russia, China and Iran. We must not become pawns in this game. We will be vigilant and prudent, we will not succumb to the actions of provocateurs. A lot also depends on our position.
Allied relations between Russia and Armenia have been tested by time. And if in different periods of history we had some misunderstandings, we were always able to overcome them. Russia has interests in the region that it will not give up. Today, taking advantage of Russia’s workload in the Ukrainian direction, the enemies of Armenia are eager to achieve success, but very soon this situation will change. As the head of the advance group of the CSTO mission in Armenia, Colonel-General Anatoly Sidorov, recently said: “As long as we don’t get the saber out of its scabbard…”.
Interviewed by Maxim Sokolov, Kuban Today newspaper (September 2022)