The analysis of Stratfor published below was made in 2015 on the pages of the analytical portal worldview.stratfor.com. Today, it is still relevant and useful to read. Are there any changes in the Kremlin’s policy after three years? Yes, there are! Today, the price for natural gas is higher, and the Kremlin’s demand to close the Armenian-Iranian and Armenian-Georgian borders was voiced by the current government of Armenia.
And this is only an insignificant part of the Kremlin’s demands which are, unfortunately, diligently carried out by the current government. They are aimed not only at weakening but also completely destroying Armenian statehood.
Russia wants to see Armenia weak and interferes with its projects with Iran
This is stated in the 2015 article of the analytical center Stratfor. The publication notes that Russia disapproves the development of relations between Tehran and Yerevan, especially if it won’t have an influence in such projects.
New regional energy projects continued to bypass Armenia. But this is exactly what Moscow wanted – to leave Armenia dependent on itself. And the Armenians of Russia could become important participants in the Armenian politics while serving the interests of Moscow.
Of course, the Kremlin didn’t want to openly oppose the government of Sargsyan (the then president of Armenia). Instead, it wanted to use Samvel Karapetyan and Ara Abrahamyan to influence Yerevan’s policy which from time to time went against Moscow’s calculations.
After the agreement of Iran and the international “six” on the nuclear program, Tehran immediately began “courting” Armenia. Iran considered and still considers Armenia to be an important potential export corridor of energy carriers to the Georgian Black Sea ports and from there to Europe. It would be more profitable to export energy carriers through Turkey, but the complicated relations between the two countries make the Armenian route preferable.
But Russia strongly opposed the $3.7 billion Iran-Armenia railway project. Russia made statements about the difficulties with the project’s payback potential but never called it a bad project. On the contrary, it declared its readiness to discuss participation in it.
At the time, Tehran was considering the possibility of building a railway through Azerbaijan with an estimated cost of only $400 million. The construction of the railway wasn’t the only project that Russia opposed. On August 9, 2015, Armenia and Iran signed an agreement on the construction of a third high-voltage transmission line.
However, according to Armenian media, Gazprom had already acquired the rights to use this line for its energy export. The line was generally built to export electricity from Armenia (in particular, in exchange for Iranian gas), and there are no preferences for its use for neither Gazprom nor Gazprom Armenia.