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Russia’s FSB border troops out from Armenia?

06 June 2018 [13:30] - TODAY.AZ

By  Trend

The Armenian National Security Service (NSS) has announced recruitment into the national Border Guards for replenishment of its staff. Citizens up to 30 years old, who meet the requirements of the law on NSS, can apply to the organization, Armenian Lragir reports.

It is necessary to remind that in 1992 an agreement between the governments of Armenia and Russia delegated functions of protection of Armenia's state borders with Turkey and Iran to the border troops of the FSB (Federal Security Service) of Russia.

It is also worthy of note that Armenian border troops stand only on the border with Georgia. The borders with Iran and Turkey, as mentioned above, are guarded by Russian troops, whereas Armenian regular army troops are deployed on the border with Azerbaijan for fear of the beginning of hostilities due to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

In accordance with the agreement, the protection of Armenian state borders by Russia is a temporary measure and will last “until the full staffing of the Armenian border structures, which will then replace the Russian ones.”

Back in January, several public figures of Armenia addressed the then Armenian authorities with a public statement to return control over the state borders under the jurisdiction of the national border guards by withdrawing simultaneously the Russian troops.

As it was shamelessly said in that statement, “that [agreement with Russia] was important for Armenia in the years of Karabakh war, because it enabled to free up human resources to ensure the victory of Armenia in the war”.

At that time there was no response from the former president of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan.

But now it seems that the new Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan can shortly say goodbye to the Russian border guards. Lragir says: “Does the NSS of Armenia intend to complete the formation of its border troops? Once this is done, Armenia can thank Moscow for its long years of assistance and say that from now on it discharges Russia from its obligations.”

By the way, in recent decades, Russian soldiers usually appeared, by or without an invitation, in different countries, but did not come out from anywhere.

For the record: the border troops of Russia are subject to the FSB, that is, the special intelligence service of a foreign state. Up to 5,000 Russian border troops are serving in Armenia.

Several years ago, the border checkpoint at the Yerevan international airport was put under Russian control, which was not stipulated by the 1992 agreement.

“First of all, this should be done at the airport of Zvartnots (Yerevan international airport), where Russian troops are also at the border control. This is nonsense, which has not been solved for many years,” the Lragir author writes.

There is one more factor for Armenia to return the border checkpoint at the Yerevan international airport back under its control.

In the event Azerbaijan commences full-scale cleaning of its territories from Armenian military forces, Armenia will absolutely not be interested in Russia's FSB gaining information and monitoring how many members of ASALA terrorist group and other mercenaries from the Armenian nationalist organizations from all over the world pass the passport control at the airport to take part in the hostilities, as well as who they are by name and where they come from.

The new government of Armenia stated that the control over the state borders should be the first step to restore the sovereignty of Armenia. Does this mean that for the full restoration of sovereignty the further step can be a demand to withdraw the #102 Russian military base from the territory of Armenia? This would be a bold step, but for the moment Yerevan stands silent on this matter – for the state’s interests it is not yet time to claim that.

One smart man said that a certain political paradox is taking place in Armenia, which pursues “the most pro-Russian of the pro-Western policies (in the post-Soviet space) and the most pro-Western among the pro-Russian ones.”

A few days ago, the European Commission announced the entry into force of the broader partnership agreement with Armenia. After all, it doesn't befit a “broader partner” of the EU to have troops of another country on its state borders.

Armenia is making desperate attempts to straddle both worlds. It needs Russia as a tool to ensure the status quo in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan, while in spirit, they say, they are Europeans and share the so-called European values.

Armenia has chosen its way of being voluntarily a bargaining chip in the world’s geopolitical collisions, and will have to pay a price for it, which can one day be found exorbitant.


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