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Europe

Russian security allies meet in Yereven

media Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the leaders of the CTSO alliance on Friday, October 14. Ivan Sekretarev/Reuters

Armenia and Russia have historically been strong allies, however, analysts reported a mixed reaction to the meeting.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Armenia on Thursday, where he attended a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CTSO), a Russian-led security alliance of former Soviet States, commonly known as Russia's answer to NATO.

The meeting focused on the election of a new secretary-general as well as discussion on joint efforts to combat global terrorism.

Founded in 1992, the military alliance includes a number of post-Soviet states, including Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan.

Analysts called the meeting an attempt by Putin to reinforce the Kremlin's influence on the region, but noted not all countries are fully convinced, including Armenia.

“On the one hand Russia provides security guarantees to Armenia’s survival, but there has been significant dissatisfaction with the level of Russian influence on the economy of Armenia,” Alex Kokacharov, a principal analyst for IHS Markit based in London told RFI.

Other analysts say Russia needs to provide more aid to Armenia to ensure the security of the relationship between the two countries.

“Russia needs to economically help Armenia, because a weak Armenia could weaken Russia’s position in the future in this region,” Vartan Kaprielian, the program director of the Armenian radio station AYP FM told RFI.

Kaprielian also pointed out Russia’s sale of weapons to Azerbaijan as a sore point for Armenia. Azerbaijan and Armenia have been in conflict for decades due to dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the border between the two states.

Armenia isn’t the only country that has been questioning Russia's influence on the region as of late. On Thursday, the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko signaled his eyes were looking slightly more towards the EU amidst fear of the state’s sovereignty following the situation in Crimea.

“I think the underlying reason for this summit and probably the biggest discussion would be the role Russia plays in the Post-Soviet era where we have seen moves by some countries trying to break away from the Russian influence,” said Kokacharov.

“[Putin] is trying to reinforce Russia’s position as the key power in the post-Soviet State, so they wouldn’t want to have independence and would generally follow the line of Russia.”

 

 
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