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CIA Director visits Yerevan, US grants for Armenia

photo: zadn.vn
31 July 2022
Alexander Shpakovsky Alexander Shpakovsky

Alexander Shpakovsky |Minsk

CISS expert

On 5 July 2022, William Burns, the CIA Director, visited the Republic of Armenia, where he had a series of top-level meetings including negotiations with Nikol Pashinyan, the Armenian Prime Minister.

Later it became known that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will grant Yerevan USD 120 mln in installments including USD 68.5 mln for democracy promotion and USD 51.4 mln for improving the economic security. The grant agreement on cooperation for development has been already accepted by official Yerevan, and the Armenian Government approved the respective document draft on 28 July 2022. [1]

The fact deserving attention is that the USA Embassy did not officially announce the CIA Director visit, local sources say that the head of the American intelligence arrived to Yerevan practically secretly, and the Armenian media were made aware of that post-factum.

It is interesting that shortly before William Burns visit the Armenian authorities announced their plans to establish the Foreign Intelligence Agency within the framework of the planned reform of the defense, security and law enforcement agencies. Judging by the available information, the Security Council of Armenia will coordinate this process, and its Secretary Armen Grigoryan already informed that the Council was engaged in «negotiations with the colleagues on establishing this new agency». [2]

Armen Grigoryans role in arranging the contracts with the US secret service

Grigoryan is ambiguously perceived in Armenia, especially by the anti-Pashinyan opposition, and in Russia, in particular by the experts specializing on the South Caucasus problems. Prior to the «velvet revolution» of 2018, Grigoryans activities were closely connected with the NGO sector, including Transparency International, so the head of the Armenian Security Council has a steady reputation of the pro-Western activist and «Soros guy» occupying a top position in one of the CSTO member-states. [3] However, Grigoryan himself denies these charges claiming that he «is not a pro-Western politician» and his views are «Armenia-centric». [4]

Evaluating the activities of this official as the supervisor of the defense/security/law enforcement agencies, on hand, we cant but agree with the opinion that Grigoryan, no doubt, is partially responsible for Armenias defeat in the Second Karabakh War. On the other hand, however, Pashinyans team was successful in keeping the power and winning the parliamentary elections in 2021 despite the massive protests continuing for almost two years now. It is understood that both the police and the secret service coordinated by the Security Council headed by Grigoryan played an important role in that.

In our opinion, Armen Grigoryan is one of the key pillars of the Pashinyans team, the member of which he continued to be even in the context of quite chaotic HR management of the Armenian leaders during the recent years with respect to the defense/security/law enforcement agencies.

It should be remembered that in 2018-2020 five directors were rotated in the National Security Service (NSS) of Armenia. One of them was Mikael Ambartsumyan, who headed the NSS during the hottest phase of the Second Karabakh War staying in his position only for one month from 8 October to 8 November 2020.

It is noteworthy that Ambartsumyans predecessor Argishti Kyaramyan was appointed to the high position of the NSS Director in the age of 29 without having any experience of working in the secret service and without specialized educational background.

In this relation it should be noted that this kind of staff turmoil in the NSS responsible for intelligence, counterintelligence and economic security assurance, in our opinion, was one of the reasons of Armenias defeat in Karabakh. [5] With account of all the above, there is a risk of further reform of the National Security Service, when the Foreign Intelligence Agency is detached, leading not to reinforcing the defense potential of the country and enhancing its opportunities in the «outer envelope», but rather to escalation of the fragmentation in the national security system of Armenia.

At the same time, potential contacts with the CIA USA, where the American intelligence highly likely will be willing to participate to the utmost in establishing the foreign intelligence agency of one of the CSTO member-states bound by a number of alliance agreements with Russia in defense and national security spheres, do not appear to be the best option for Armenia at the current stage of the escalating global geopolitical confrontation.

It is indicative that during his visit to Yerevan William Burns had negotiations with Armen Grigoryan, when, according to the Security Council Press Service, the Armenian party presented «its view of the regional security situation, the existing challenges and Yerevans approaches to them». Another message of the Press Service was that the parties discussed «the negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey» and «further development of bilateral relations between Armenia and the USA». [6]

Back to the role of Grigoryan in the Armenian government including its informal influence. We cannot exclude that the stability of position of the Secretary of the Security Council against the background of on-going «purges» of the defense/security/law enforcement agencies may be explained not only by tremendous trust on behalf of the Prime Minister, but also by Grigoryan exercising the function of connecting the Armenian leadership and Western (American, first of all) security agencies.

For example, after a short period of time from his appointment on 24 October 2022, 35-year-old Armen Grigoryan personally came to Zvartnots airport to welcome John Bolton, the National Security Advisor to President Trump, who was travelling in South Caucasus and prior to his visit to Armenia met with Nikolay Patrushev, the head of the RF Security Council, and with Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan. [7] It is interesting, that Anna Nagdalyan, the spokesperson of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Armenia at that time, claimed that the American delegation was the «most representative for the last several decades». [8]

In Boltons recent interview to the media, he confessed that he had participated in planning and organizing coup dtats in the interests of the USA in some countries, in Venezuela, in particular. It may evidence his role and objectives in the American establishment system at that time. «As a person having planned not just one coup dtat not here, of course, but in other countries I may say that quite meticulous work is required for that», the ex-National Security Advisor to the USA President openly stated. [9]

«Complementary Policy» and «Global Armenian Nation» conceptions

Starting from the moment of obtaining the sovereignty, the Armenian leaders have been pursuing the so-called «complementary» foreign policy. It should be noted that the word «complementary» per se means «supplementary». Respectively, «complementarity» as the founding principle of the Armenian foreign policy course stipulates for cooperation with two or more international relations entities, including the ones competing between themselves in the spheres of politics, ideology or economy.

In the opinion of Armenian researchers, complementarity of the national diplomacy «allowed for adequate response to many challenges and threats for many years in the conditions of a rather small room for geopolitical maneuver», and the development of military and political alliance with the RF did not cause any contradictions with parallel development of partnering relations with the EU, USA and NATO. Moreover, the policy-makers of Armenia perceived this approach as some «balance of power between regional and external actors having emerged in early 1990s». [10]

In our opinion, such foreign policy resulted in Armenia becoming the EAEU member and at the same time executing a comprehensive and extended partnership agreement between Armenia and the EU on 24 November 2017 (effective since 1 March 2021).

Assessing this precedent, it is important to emphasize that Moscow never publicly or officially presented Yerevan with a challenge of choosing between the two options and never linked the bilateral Russian-Armenian relations or  Armenias integration into EAEU or CSTO with termination of its ties with the West. Probably, former Armenian Leaders Robert Kocharyan or Serzh Sargsyan, who maintained close contacts with the RF leadership, were successful in persuading Russian colleagues in the Global Armenian Nation conception based on 7-10 mln Armenians living abroad (Spyurk the Armenian diaspora), while the population of Armenia makes 2.5-3 mln people.

In the context of ties between Armenia and the West, the so-called «faraway diaspora» is of special importance, mainly in France and the USA, where citizens of Armenian descent have certain influence in business and political circles. For example, the Armenian National Committee of America is active in the US starting from 1918 the major and influential American-Armenian organization engaged in public activities and inter-state relations.

The American Armenian Lobby, in its turn, is active in the Congress, it is a sort of a sub-committee comprising up to 100 representatives in various times, including the ex-Secretary of State John Kerry. [11] In 2021, the bipartisan group comprising 65 members of the House of Representatives called on the Bidens administration to provide financial aid of USD 100 mln to Armenia and to separatists in Karabakh to mitigate the defeat in the Second Karabakh War.

It is highly likely that the current USD 120 mln package, which the Armenian government is to receive from USAID, is also a result of joint efforts of the official Yerevan and lobbying capabilities of various pro-Armenian organizations and communities acting in the USA at the grassroots and government levels.

At the same time, it should not go unnoticed that the Armenian elites several times had inflated expectations with respect to the capabilities of that «faraway diaspora». After the USSR disintegration, the Armenian authorities wanted to use the practices of Israel, China and Ireland, which organized efficient interaction with their diasporas and are receiving their significant political and economic support.

During the first years of its independent development, Armenia attempted to engage specialists from the «faraway diaspora» (mainly from the USA and France) in the government hoping they would facilitate organization of the domestic life according to the Western standards. However, the majority of such foreign appointees (the first Foreign Affairs Minister of Armenia R. Hovannisian and others) did not live up to such expectations. At the same time, in 1990s, the former Soviet Army officers (descendants from Armenia and the Armenian from other republics of the USSR) played the pivotal role in the military success of the newly established Armenian Army. [12]

The Armenian leaderships next attempt to request assistance from the Spyurk bosses living in the West was after the so-called «velvet revolution» of 2018, when Nikol Pashinyan and his team were counting on significant investment inflow from the diaspora to build the «new Armenia» according to liberal and market-based democracy standards.

At the same time, in our opinion, despite some tactical success, the Armenian authorities had no meaningful results or achievements in communicating with the «faraway diaspora». The three-million Armenian diaspora in Russia far more useful for the Republic in Armenia from the practical standpoint of influencing the global processes and assisting the parent state, even though often enough the positions of the most prominent figures in the Armenian community of Russia differ drastically from the political interests of N. Pashinyan and his cronies.

«Beware of Greeks bearing gifts»

Getting back to the problems of complementary foreign policy of Armenia, it appears feasible to remember that by contrast with Russia, the West and the European Union in particular were trying to demand a clear geopolitical choice  from Armenia, linking their ultimatum-like requirements with the continuation of partner relation in future. For example, at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November 2013, signing the association agreement between Armenia and the EU was planned; however, on September 3 at the meeting with the RF President Vladimir Putin, the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan confirmed Yerevans willingness to join the Customs Union and to participate in the process of forming the Eurasian Economic Union. This decision was vigorously criticized by the European politicians and experts, who blamed Armenia in «practical termination of negotiations with Europe», which made it impossible to initial the association agreement with the EU.

At the same time, Štefan Füle, then the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, claimed that the Customs Union (CU) established by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan undermined the sovereignty of certain countries, while the association with the EU, on the contrary, «strengthens the independence». «It [the CU] undermines the sovereignty, it is built in economic and trade relations based on subsidies controlled by Gazprom and the Kremlin. Political cooperation is based on Moscow requirements. The Crimean events, the unlawful referendum and the annexation, about which I am deeply sorry, is one more evidence of that», the European Commission official said. [13]

Later on, Brussels acknowledged the reality and trying to maintain the existing communication channels started building its policy with respect to Armenia with account of Yerevans membership in the CU of EAEU. At the same time, the essence of the EU strategy remained the same: it is geopolitical competition with the RF and expansion to the regions of traditional Russian influence. It should be noted that the so-called «road map» of implementing the agreement about comprehensive and extended partnership between the Republic of Armenia and the European Union includes over 300 measures in various spheres including education, science, health care, social protection, infrastructure, economy, environment, etc. [14]

The «soft power» of Great Britain and the USA is even more aggressive and focused on promoting the so-called «values» and anti-Russian prejudice. Numerous NGOs with foreign funding with their networks in the Armenian territory are the promoters of such «soft power». At the same time, the West does not offer Yerevan any alternatives to cooperation with Russia, with the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union and the CSTO block. However, the creation of «the civil society» networks and provision of relatively small grants for «democracy development», engagement of academics, public servants, journalists, students into various programs and internships allows the West to promote their own narratives in the Armenian information and political environment, which is especially important given the aggravating global confrontation dynamics observed after the start of the RF special military operation in Ukraine.

In this regard, the Armenian authorities and the respective analytical services will have to answer the question of great importance for further development of the country: is the traditional complementarity of the Yerevans foreign policy in line with the modern realities, is the Pashinyans government capable of keeping the balance of interests of the leading geopolitical actors in Armenia and to prevent the opening of the anti-Russian «Second Front» in their country?

Does Armenia, indeed, need to welcome the «Greeks bearing gifts» and to accept American grants including those related to the sphere of national security of Armenia?


* The activities of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and of Transparency International is recognized unwanted in the territory of Russia.

1. The USA will grant Armenia USD 120 mln. NEWS.am, 28.07.2022. https://news.am/rus/news/713821.html

2. Armenia gets the Foreign Intelligence Agency. LENTA.RU, 12.07.2022. https://lenta.ru/news/2022/07/12/armenia_agency/

3. The pro-Western politician in the position of the Security Council Secretary of Armenia: what does Russia think about it. Sputnik Armenia, 28.05.2018. https://ru.armeniasputnik.am/20180528/zapadnik-i-chelovek-sorosa-stal-sekretarem-sovbeza-armenii-tak-li-ehto-ploho-12305641.html

4. «I am not a pro-Western politician»: what are the views of the Armenian Security Council Secretary? Sputnik Armenia, 28.05.2018. https://ru.armeniasputnik.am/20180528/ya-ne-prozapadnyj-politik-kakih-vzglyadov-priderzhivaetsya-sekretar-sovbeza-armenia-12302781.html

5. Goals and tasks of the National Security Service. Official website of the National Security Service of the Republic of Armenia. https://www.sns.am/ru/---/

6. Grigoryan and Burns discussed the Armenian-Turkish and Armenian-Azerbaijanian negotiations. Armenia Today, 15.07.2022. https://armeniatoday.news/region-ru/501974/

7. Trumps National Security Advisor arrived to Yerevan from Baku. Sputnik Armenia, 24.10.2018. https://ru.armeniasputnik.am/20181024/sovetnik-trampa-po-voprosam-bezopasnosti-pribyl-v-armeniyu-foto-15304623.html

8. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia: Boltons delegation is the most representative for the recent decades. Sputnik Armenia, 24.10.2018. https://ru.armeniasputnik.am/20181024/mid-armenia-delegaciya-bolton-samaya-predstavitelnaya-za-poslednie-desyatiletiya-15287323.html

9. Taper and Bolton discuss if Trump could plan the coup dtat. InoSMI, 13.06.2022. https://inosmi.ru/20220713/perevorot-255000011.html

10. Eurasian Union, European Union and Armenian complementarity. Roman Melikyan. Central Asia and the Caucasus, . 16, issue 2, 2013. p. 51. https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/evraziyskiy-soyuz-evrosoyuz-i-armyanskiy-komplementarizm/viewer

11. Why Russians in the US cannot «become Armenians»: Zhirinovsky. RUSARMINFO, 29.04.2021. https://rusarminfo.ru/2021/04/29/chto-meshaet-russkim-v-ssha-stat-armyanami-zhirinovskij/

12. «Global Armenian Nation» in the Armenian politics today. A. Krylov. Caucasian news, DOI: 10.20542/2073-4786-2020-4-162-17. https://www.imemo.ru/files/File/magazines/rossia_i_novay/2020_04/18.KRYLOV.pdf

13. Fü le claimed that the CU undermined the sovereignty of countries, while association with the EU, on the contrary, fortifies it. PanArmenian.net, 04.04.2014 . https://www.panarmenian.net/rus/news/177658/

14. Bilateral relations. The European Union. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia. https://www.mfa.am/ru/bilateral-relations/eu

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Publications

CIA Director visits Yerevan, US grants for Armenia

photo: zadn.vn
31 2022
Alexander Shpakovsky

Alexander Shpakovsky | Minsk

CISS expert

On 5 July 2022, William Burns, the CIA Director, visited the Republic of Armenia, where he had a series of top-level meetings including negotiations with Nikol Pashinyan, the Armenian Prime Minister.

Later it became known that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will grant Yerevan USD 120 mln in installments including USD 68.5 mln for democracy promotion and USD 51.4 mln for improving the economic security. The grant agreement on cooperation for development has been already accepted by official Yerevan, and the Armenian Government approved the respective document draft on 28 July 2022. [1]

The fact deserving attention is that the USA Embassy did not officially announce the CIA Director visit, local sources say that the head of the American intelligence arrived to Yerevan practically secretly, and the Armenian media were made aware of that post-factum.

It is interesting that shortly before William Burns visit the Armenian authorities announced their plans to establish the Foreign Intelligence Agency within the framework of the planned reform of the defense, security and law enforcement agencies. Judging by the available information, the Security Council of Armenia will coordinate this process, and its Secretary Armen Grigoryan already informed that the Council was engaged in «negotiations with the colleagues on establishing this new agency». [2]

Armen Grigoryans role in arranging the contracts with the US secret service

Grigoryan is ambiguously perceived in Armenia, especially by the anti-Pashinyan opposition, and in Russia, in particular by the experts specializing on the South Caucasus problems. Prior to the «velvet revolution» of 2018, Grigoryans activities were closely connected with the NGO sector, including Transparency International, so the head of the Armenian Security Council has a steady reputation of the pro-Western activist and «Soros guy» occupying a top position in one of the CSTO member-states. [3] However, Grigoryan himself denies these charges claiming that he «is not a pro-Western politician» and his views are «Armenia-centric». [4]

Evaluating the activities of this official as the supervisor of the defense/security/law enforcement agencies, on hand, we cant but agree with the opinion that Grigoryan, no doubt, is partially responsible for Armenias defeat in the Second Karabakh War. On the other hand, however, Pashinyans team was successful in keeping the power and winning the parliamentary elections in 2021 despite the massive protests continuing for almost two years now. It is understood that both the police and the secret service coordinated by the Security Council headed by Grigoryan played an important role in that.

In our opinion, Armen Grigoryan is one of the key pillars of the Pashinyans team, the member of which he continued to be even in the context of quite chaotic HR management of the Armenian leaders during the recent years with respect to the defense/security/law enforcement agencies.

It should be remembered that in 2018-2020 five directors were rotated in the National Security Service (NSS) of Armenia. One of them was Mikael Ambartsumyan, who headed the NSS during the hottest phase of the Second Karabakh War staying in his position only for one month from 8 October to 8 November 2020.

It is noteworthy that Ambartsumyans predecessor Argishti Kyaramyan was appointed to the high position of the NSS Director in the age of 29 without having any experience of working in the secret service and without specialized educational background.

In this relation it should be noted that this kind of staff turmoil in the NSS responsible for intelligence, counterintelligence and economic security assurance, in our opinion, was one of the reasons of Armenias defeat in Karabakh. [5] With account of all the above, there is a risk of further reform of the National Security Service, when the Foreign Intelligence Agency is detached, leading not to reinforcing the defense potential of the country and enhancing its opportunities in the «outer envelope», but rather to escalation of the fragmentation in the national security system of Armenia.

At the same time, potential contacts with the CIA USA, where the American intelligence highly likely will be willing to participate to the utmost in establishing the foreign intelligence agency of one of the CSTO member-states bound by a number of alliance agreements with Russia in defense and national security spheres, do not appear to be the best option for Armenia at the current stage of the escalating global geopolitical confrontation.

It is indicative that during his visit to Yerevan William Burns had negotiations with Armen Grigoryan, when, according to the Security Council Press Service, the Armenian party presented «its view of the regional security situation, the existing challenges and Yerevans approaches to them». Another message of the Press Service was that the parties discussed «the negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey» and «further development of bilateral relations between Armenia and the USA». [6]

Back to the role of Grigoryan in the Armenian government including its informal influence. We cannot exclude that the stability of position of the Secretary of the Security Council against the background of on-going «purges» of the defense/security/law enforcement agencies may be explained not only by tremendous trust on behalf of the Prime Minister, but also by Grigoryan exercising the function of connecting the Armenian leadership and Western (American, first of all) security agencies.

For example, after a short period of time from his appointment on 24 October 2022, 35-year-old Armen Grigoryan personally came to Zvartnots airport to welcome John Bolton, the National Security Advisor to President Trump, who was travelling in South Caucasus and prior to his visit to Armenia met with Nikolay Patrushev, the head of the RF Security Council, and with Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan. [7] It is interesting, that Anna Nagdalyan, the spokesperson of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Armenia at that time, claimed that the American delegation was the «most representative for the last several decades». [8]

In Boltons recent interview to the media, he confessed that he had participated in planning and organizing coup dtats in the interests of the USA in some countries, in Venezuela, in particular. It may evidence his role and objectives in the American establishment system at that time. «As a person having planned not just one coup dtat not here, of course, but in other countries I may say that quite meticulous work is required for that», the ex-National Security Advisor to the USA President openly stated. [9]

«Complementary Policy» and «Global Armenian Nation» conceptions

Starting from the moment of obtaining the sovereignty, the Armenian leaders have been pursuing the so-called «complementary» foreign policy. It should be noted that the word «complementary» per se means «supplementary». Respectively, «complementarity» as the founding principle of the Armenian foreign policy course stipulates for cooperation with two or more international relations entities, including the ones competing between themselves in the spheres of politics, ideology or economy.

In the opinion of Armenian researchers, complementarity of the national diplomacy «allowed for adequate response to many challenges and threats for many years in the conditions of a rather small room for geopolitical maneuver», and the development of military and political alliance with the RF did not cause any contradictions with parallel development of partnering relations with the EU, USA and NATO. Moreover, the policy-makers of Armenia perceived this approach as some «balance of power between regional and external actors having emerged in early 1990s». [10]

In our opinion, such foreign policy resulted in Armenia becoming the EAEU member and at the same time executing a comprehensive and extended partnership agreement between Armenia and the EU on 24 November 2017 (effective since 1 March 2021).

Assessing this precedent, it is important to emphasize that Moscow never publicly or officially presented Yerevan with a challenge of choosing between the two options and never linked the bilateral Russian-Armenian relations or  Armenias integration into EAEU or CSTO with termination of its ties with the West. Probably, former Armenian Leaders Robert Kocharyan or Serzh Sargsyan, who maintained close contacts with the RF leadership, were successful in persuading Russian colleagues in the Global Armenian Nation conception based on 7-10 mln Armenians living abroad (Spyurk the Armenian diaspora), while the population of Armenia makes 2.5-3 mln people.

In the context of ties between Armenia and the West, the so-called «faraway diaspora» is of special importance, mainly in France and the USA, where citizens of Armenian descent have certain influence in business and political circles. For example, the Armenian National Committee of America is active in the US starting from 1918 the major and influential American-Armenian organization engaged in public activities and inter-state relations.

The American Armenian Lobby, in its turn, is active in the Congress, it is a sort of a sub-committee comprising up to 100 representatives in various times, including the ex-Secretary of State John Kerry. [11] In 2021, the bipartisan group comprising 65 members of the House of Representatives called on the Bidens administration to provide financial aid of USD 100 mln to Armenia and to separatists in Karabakh to mitigate the defeat in the Second Karabakh War.

It is highly likely that the current USD 120 mln package, which the Armenian government is to receive from USAID, is also a result of joint efforts of the official Yerevan and lobbying capabilities of various pro-Armenian organizations and communities acting in the USA at the grassroots and government levels.

At the same time, it should not go unnoticed that the Armenian elites several times had inflated expectations with respect to the capabilities of that «faraway diaspora». After the USSR disintegration, the Armenian authorities wanted to use the practices of Israel, China and Ireland, which organized efficient interaction with their diasporas and are receiving their significant political and economic support.

During the first years of its independent development, Armenia attempted to engage specialists from the «faraway diaspora» (mainly from the USA and France) in the government hoping they would facilitate organization of the domestic life according to the Western standards. However, the majority of such foreign appointees (the first Foreign Affairs Minister of Armenia R. Hovannisian and others) did not live up to such expectations. At the same time, in 1990s, the former Soviet Army officers (descendants from Armenia and the Armenian from other republics of the USSR) played the pivotal role in the military success of the newly established Armenian Army. [12]

The Armenian leaderships next attempt to request assistance from the Spyurk bosses living in the West was after the so-called «velvet revolution» of 2018, when Nikol Pashinyan and his team were counting on significant investment inflow from the diaspora to build the «new Armenia» according to liberal and market-based democracy standards.

At the same time, in our opinion, despite some tactical success, the Armenian authorities had no meaningful results or achievements in communicating with the «faraway diaspora». The three-million Armenian diaspora in Russia far more useful for the Republic in Armenia from the practical standpoint of influencing the global processes and assisting the parent state, even though often enough the positions of the most prominent figures in the Armenian community of Russia differ drastically from the political interests of N. Pashinyan and his cronies.

«Beware of Greeks bearing gifts»

Getting back to the problems of complementary foreign policy of Armenia, it appears feasible to remember that by contrast with Russia, the West and the European Union in particular were trying to demand a clear geopolitical choice  from Armenia, linking their ultimatum-like requirements with the continuation of partner relation in future. For example, at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November 2013, signing the association agreement between Armenia and the EU was planned; however, on September 3 at the meeting with the RF President Vladimir Putin, the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan confirmed Yerevans willingness to join the Customs Union and to participate in the process of forming the Eurasian Economic Union. This decision was vigorously criticized by the European politicians and experts, who blamed Armenia in «practical termination of negotiations with Europe», which made it impossible to initial the association agreement with the EU.

At the same time, Štefan Füle, then the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, claimed that the Customs Union (CU) established by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan undermined the sovereignty of certain countries, while the association with the EU, on the contrary, «strengthens the independence». «It [the CU] undermines the sovereignty, it is built in economic and trade relations based on subsidies controlled by Gazprom and the Kremlin. Political cooperation is based on Moscow requirements. The Crimean events, the unlawful referendum and the annexation, about which I am deeply sorry, is one more evidence of that», the European Commission official said. [13]

Later on, Brussels acknowledged the reality and trying to maintain the existing communication channels started building its policy with respect to Armenia with account of Yerevans membership in the CU of EAEU. At the same time, the essence of the EU strategy remained the same: it is geopolitical competition with the RF and expansion to the regions of traditional Russian influence. It should be noted that the so-called «road map» of implementing the agreement about comprehensive and extended partnership between the Republic of Armenia and the European Union includes over 300 measures in various spheres including education, science, health care, social protection, infrastructure, economy, environment, etc. [14]

The «soft power» of Great Britain and the USA is even more aggressive and focused on promoting the so-called «values» and anti-Russian prejudice. Numerous NGOs with foreign funding with their networks in the Armenian territory are the promoters of such «soft power». At the same time, the West does not offer Yerevan any alternatives to cooperation with Russia, with the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union and the CSTO block. However, the creation of «the civil society» networks and provision of relatively small grants for «democracy development», engagement of academics, public servants, journalists, students into various programs and internships allows the West to promote their own narratives in the Armenian information and political environment, which is especially important given the aggravating global confrontation dynamics observed after the start of the RF special military operation in Ukraine.

In this regard, the Armenian authorities and the respective analytical services will have to answer the question of great importance for further development of the country: is the traditional complementarity of the Yerevans foreign policy in line with the modern realities, is the Pashinyans government capable of keeping the balance of interests of the leading geopolitical actors in Armenia and to prevent the opening of the anti-Russian «Second Front» in their country?

Does Armenia, indeed, need to welcome the «Greeks bearing gifts» and to accept American grants including those related to the sphere of national security of Armenia?


* The activities of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and of Transparency International is recognized unwanted in the territory of Russia.

1. The USA will grant Armenia USD 120 mln. NEWS.am, 28.07.2022. https://news.am/rus/news/713821.html

2. Armenia gets the Foreign Intelligence Agency. LENTA.RU, 12.07.2022. https://lenta.ru/news/2022/07/12/armenia_agency/

3. The pro-Western politician in the position of the Security Council Secretary of Armenia: what does Russia think about it. Sputnik Armenia, 28.05.2018. https://ru.armeniasputnik.am/20180528/zapadnik-i-chelovek-sorosa-stal-sekretarem-sovbeza-armenii-tak-li-ehto-ploho-12305641.html

4. «I am not a pro-Western politician»: what are the views of the Armenian Security Council Secretary? Sputnik Armenia, 28.05.2018. https://ru.armeniasputnik.am/20180528/ya-ne-prozapadnyj-politik-kakih-vzglyadov-priderzhivaetsya-sekretar-sovbeza-armenia-12302781.html

5. Goals and tasks of the National Security Service. Official website of the National Security Service of the Republic of Armenia. https://www.sns.am/ru/---/

6. Grigoryan and Burns discussed the Armenian-Turkish and Armenian-Azerbaijanian negotiations. Armenia Today, 15.07.2022. https://armeniatoday.news/region-ru/501974/

7. Trumps National Security Advisor arrived to Yerevan from Baku. Sputnik Armenia, 24.10.2018. https://ru.armeniasputnik.am/20181024/sovetnik-trampa-po-voprosam-bezopasnosti-pribyl-v-armeniyu-foto-15304623.html

8. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia: Boltons delegation is the most representative for the recent decades. Sputnik Armenia, 24.10.2018. https://ru.armeniasputnik.am/20181024/mid-armenia-delegaciya-bolton-samaya-predstavitelnaya-za-poslednie-desyatiletiya-15287323.html

9. Taper and Bolton discuss if Trump could plan the coup dtat. InoSMI, 13.06.2022. https://inosmi.ru/20220713/perevorot-255000011.html

10. Eurasian Union, European Union and Armenian complementarity. Roman Melikyan. Central Asia and the Caucasus, . 16, issue 2, 2013. p. 51. https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/evraziyskiy-soyuz-evrosoyuz-i-armyanskiy-komplementarizm/viewer

11. Why Russians in the US cannot «become Armenians»: Zhirinovsky. RUSARMINFO, 29.04.2021. https://rusarminfo.ru/2021/04/29/chto-meshaet-russkim-v-ssha-stat-armyanami-zhirinovskij/

12. «Global Armenian Nation» in the Armenian politics today. A. Krylov. Caucasian news, DOI: 10.20542/2073-4786-2020-4-162-17. https://www.imemo.ru/files/File/magazines/rossia_i_novay/2020_04/18.KRYLOV.pdf

13. Fü le claimed that the CU undermined the sovereignty of countries, while association with the EU, on the contrary, fortifies it. PanArmenian.net, 04.04.2014 . https://www.panarmenian.net/rus/news/177658/

14. Bilateral relations. The European Union. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia. https://www.mfa.am/ru/bilateral-relations/eu