The former Soviet republics in the Caucasus -- Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan -- have very different attitudes toward Russia's resurgence. Armenia depends on Russia for its security and is one of Moscow's most loyal allies. Georgia bore the brunt of Russia's resurgence in 2008, when Russia invaded two breakaway Georgian republics (where Russian troops remain stationed), and is likely to resist any further encroachment of Russian influence. Azerbaijan is cooperative with Russia but uses its energy wealth and support for pipeline projects that would not serve Moscow's interests as leverage against its large neighbor.
Armenia, located in the South Caucasus, serves as a territorial buffer for Russia to the south. It also gives Moscow a strategic foothold in the center of the Caucasus because it borders both Georgia and Azerbaijan, as well as Turkey and Iran.
During the past two years, Russia strengthened its military presence in Armenia by extending its lease of military facilities to 2044 and getting permission to move Russian troops throughout the country. Russia also manipulated normalization talks between Armenia and Turkey in order to strengthen its relationships with Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Russia's goals for Armenia for 2012 and beyond include maintaining its current levers in Armenia and preparing Armenia for possible integration into the Common Economic Space and Eurasian Union. Russia also wants to sustain the divisions between Armenia and Azerbaijan (and Baku's ally, Turkey).
New Time 11:20 AM PT: Get the Market Movements in Advance: William's Edge Webinar for Thursday April 17th, 2014 | John Ransom
New Time 11:20 AM PT: Get the Market Movements in Advance: William's Edge Webinar for Wednesday April 16th, 2014 | John Ransom