Russian History



Armenia's continued desperate position, locked between Muslim states Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkey and still reeling from the long blockade inflicted by Azerbaijan and Turkey in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, provides ample justification for heavy reliance on Russia for national security. For Russia, Armenia's position on the eastern border of Turkey is a prime location for preventing Russia's traditional enemy from expanding its influence to the north and east. A new unified CIS defense system being created by Russian military planners in 1996 has included the long-term basing of Russian troops on Armenian soil and joint Armenian-Russian exercises on Armenian territory. Russia has lent substantial nonmilitary aid to Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but Russia does not see supporting a complete victory by Armenia over Azerbaijan as strategically advantageous. In mid-1996 Russia had an estimated 4,300 troops at a single base in Armenia, with eighty main battle tanks, 190 armored personnel carriers, and 100 artillery pieces. Russian border troops also assisted in patrolling Armenia's border with Turkey.