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Armenia: Feeling Betrayed by Russia?

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan (left), seen here meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi in August 2014 to discuss bilateral relations, has said that Armenia plans to retaliate for the downing of an Armenian helicopter by Azerbaijani forces. (Photo: Armenian Presidential Press Service)

Armenians are seething over Russia’s possible role in the shoot-down of an Armenian helicopter near the frontlines in Nagorno Karabakh. Feelings of betrayal are such that the popular mood is souring on Armenia’s pending membership in a Moscow-led trade bloc.
 
The source of chagrin in Yerevan is the suspicion that the November 12 downing of the Armenian Mi-24 military helicopter, and the deaths of the three-man crew, had a significant Russian connection: Moscow supposedly supplied Azerbaijan with the Strela air-defense system that was used in the incident, according to Karabakh’s de-facto defense minister, Movses Hakobian. 
 
Armenian leaders are now wrestling with the question of how to respond to Moscow’s perceived indirect involvement. The matter, though not yet voiced publicly by officials, comes at a critical moment for both Armenia and Russia. The Armenian parliament is expected during its upcoming session, which opens December 1, to vote on ratification of Armenia’s agreement on accession to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am.

Armenia: Feeling Betrayed by Russia?

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