“The outgoing year was not an easy one, but we hope that the challenges it brought along will be left behind,” Putin wrote to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian. “Importantly, we became fully convinced of the significance of friendly, allied relations between our countries.”
“I am convinced that the further development of multifaceted Russian-Armenian ties meets the fundamental interests of our two brotherly peoples and goes in the mainstream of ensuring peace, security and stability in the South Caucasus region,” he said.
“I would like to confirm the commitment to the further development of Russian-Armenian allied cooperation,” read a separate message sent by Putin to President Armen Sarkissian on Wednesday.
Russia already has close political, economic and military ties with Armenia. Its strong geopolitical influence in the South Caucasus was highlighted by the recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Moscow helped to stop the six-week war with an Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire agreement which was brokered by Putin on November 9.
The agreement led to the deployment of 2,000 Russian peacekeeping troops in Karabakh. Russia also deployed soldiers and border guards to Armenia’s Syunik region southwest of Karabakh to help the Armenian military defend it against possible Azerbaijani attacks.
Putin also praised Russia’s relationship with Azerbaijan. In a New Year message to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev reported by the Kremlin, he said Moscow and Baku should deepen their “mutually beneficial relations in all directions.”
The Russian leader also sent a congratulatory message to Robert Kocharian, a former Armenian president facing coup and corruption charges rejected by him as politically motivated. He has previously described Kocharian as a “remarkable statesman who has done a great deal for the development of modern Armenia.”
Earlier this month Kocharian joined the Armenian opposition in blaming Pashinian for the Armenian side’s defeat in the Karabakh war and demanding his resignation. He visited Moscow later in December on what his office described as a private trip.
Pashinian’s resignation has also been demanded by some prominent members of Russia’s large Armenian community. They include billionaire businessman Samvel Karapetian and Ara Abrahamian, the pro-Kremlin head of the Union of Armenians of Russia.