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Dashnaks Explain Criticism Of Russia


Armenia -- Hrayr Karapetian, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, speaks at a news conference on November 25, 2009.

Armenia -- Hrayr Karapetian, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, speaks at a news conference on November 25, 2009.

A senior lawmaker affiliated with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) on Wednesday elaborated on his party’s unexpectedly strong criticism of Russia’s growing ties with Azerbaijan and Turkey.


Vahan Hovannisian, a leader of the traditionally pro-Russian party, said on Wednesday that Moscow’s policies related to the South Caucasus are becoming “very dangerous” for Armenia, its main regional ally. He did not go into details.

Hrayr Karapetian, another Dashnaktsutyun leader who heads the Armenian parliament’s committee on defense and security, spoke with alarm about Russia’s deepening military cooperation with Armenia’s two main foes which he said runs counter to a military alliance binding the two nations.

“We also have problems with Russia and other allies. Everything is not going smoothly there. There are facts showing that military cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan which the spirit and letter Collective Security Treaty,” Karapetian told a news conference, referring to a Russian-led defense pact of six former Soviet republics, including Armenia.

Karapetian was particularly worried about a plan of joint military activities for next year that was recently signed by the defense ministers of Azerbaijan and Russia. He said, “This makes us wonder, ‘What is the difference between us and Azerbaijan?’ We are a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, Azerbaijan is not. Is it worth deepening military cooperation with a country whose representatives periodically make bellicose statements?”

“That [Russian policy] is at least strange and unacceptable to us,” he said. “It contributes to the development of an even more dangerous situation [in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.]”

Karapetian went on to deplore Russian-Turkish military cooperation. Moscow is seeking to forge closer defense links with “a country that still threatens Armenia’s security,” he said.

Official Yerevan has not publicly echoed the concerns voiced by Dashnaktsutyun, which was a junior partner in Armenia’s governing coalition until April. President Serzh Sarkisian and other Armenian leader regularly praise the current state of the Russian-Armenian relationship.
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