Amid a grand display of Russian flags in Yerevan, Russian and Armenian leaders on August 20 signed an agreement that extends Moscow’s lease on its Gyumri military base near Turkey to 2044. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan framed the deal as a way to guarantee peace in the South Caucasus, but critics contend that the pact is not a partnership between equals.
The original base deal, signed in 1995, was due to expire in 2020. Using language often heard in reference to Russia’s 2008 war with Georgia and in support of the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Medvedev cited regional peace-building as the reason for Moscow’s interest in the extending the lease on Gyumri. “We will make joint efforts to maintain peace and security,” declared Medvedev at a joint press conference. “We will use the potential to preserve peace in the Caucasus. We all need it. Armenia needs it, other countries need it, and Russia needs it. We will together tackle the dangers we still face, and we will help each other.”
To read the full story
Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance journalist based in Yerevan.