Russia Removes Guards From Armenian-Azerbaijani Border, But Not From Borders With Iran And Turkey, Kremlin Says – OpEd

At Yerevan’s request and in a way consistent with Moscow’s withdrawal of its so-called “peacekeepers” from Azerbaijani territory, the Russian government has removed Russian border guards from the Armenian-Azerbaijani frontier but not from Armenia’s borders with Iran and Turkey, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says.

Russia has maintained border posts in Armenia since the 1990s, but Yerevan’s anger that Moscow did not use its forces in the region to protect Armenia against Baku’s recovery of Karabakh has prompted Armenia to demand that it pull these forces, especially after Moscow removed its “peacekeeping” contingent there (ekhokavkaza.com/a/32939559.html).

Earlier, Yerevan demanded and Moscow removed border guards from Armenia’s international airport; and now, the Russian government has taken the logical next step. But it has not pulled Russian guards from Armenia’s borders with Iran or Turkey as an increasing number of Armenians want (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2024/04/withdrawal-of-russian-troops-from.html).

That gets the Russians out of the way of continuing protests by Armenians about Yerevan’s decision to return several villages to Azerbaijan as part of the border delimitation effort by the two South Caucasus countries (jamestown.org/program/armenian-protests-over-return-of-four-villages-to-azerbaijan-threaten-peace-process/).

But at the same time, Moscow’s latest move is likely to encourage Armenians to demand that Russia take the additional step of closing its military base in Gyumri, a desire that is already echoing in Tajikistan as well (jamestown.org/program/moscow-fearful-of-losing-its-military-bases-in-armenia-and-tajikistan/).

Protests along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan continue and have spread to some Armenian cities, but the Armenian Apostolic Church whose local hierarch has been a leader of those protests has now backed away from a full-throated support of the protesters, thus reducing the pressure on Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (akcent.site/novosti/31421).

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