Kocharian, who leads the main opposition Hayastan alliance, accused the authorities of being ready to increase “Turkish influence” at the expense of “Russian presence” in the country.
“More than one year has passed since the war [in Nagorno-Karabakh] but during this time almost nothing has been done to restore our army’s combat readiness and weaponry,” he told a news conference.
In these circumstances, he said, Russia has become the only real guarantor of Armenia’s national security.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian pledged to deepen military ties with Moscow and embark on “large-scale defense reforms” following Armenia’s defeat in the six-year war stopped by a Russian-brokered truce in November 2020. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu promised continued military aid to Yerevan in August.
Kocharian insisted that only Moscow can help Armenia rebuild its army and develop a “new military-industrial complex.”
“We need to understand to what extent Russia is prepared for such assistance and cooperation with Armenia. I believe that is possible but also doubt that there are such signals or requests from our side,” he said.
The ex-president claimed that Pashinian has different geopolitical priorities now, pointing to ongoing talks on normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations.
“Turkey will cease to regard us as an obstacle to its [regional] programs only if it gains total influence on our political processes and policies,” he said. “This means that Turkey must also have dominant positions in our economy and strong influence on our political elite.
“When could this happen? When the Russian presence here starts coming to an end and being replaced with Turkish influence.”
Kocharian’s bloc and other opposition groups have expressed serious concern over the Turkish-Armenian talks, saying that Yerevan is ready to make unilateral concessions to Ankara. Pashinian’s government insists that it continues to stand for an unconditional normalization of bilateral ties.
Russia as well as the United States and the European Union have publicly welcomed the Turkish-Armenian dialogue. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov again discussed it with his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan in a phone call on Tuesday.