The West is trying to force the Caucasus to fight against Russia

There are rallies of thousands in Yerevan and Tbilisi. The Armenian opposition is demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, while the Georgian opposition is demanding the cancellation of the law on foreign agents adopted by the Georgian parliament. Both countries want to join the European Union, but neither is willing to compromise its sovereignty. Should Transcaucasia expect new colour revolutions? How can the situation in the region influence Russia and can we influence the Caucasus to make it friendlier?

It is hot in the Transcaucasus. Mass rallies have been taking place in Yerevan since 9 May, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and an end to the delimitation of the border with Azerbaijan. The essence of delimitation: several Armenian villages become the territory of Azerbaijan. Their residents will have to abandon their homes and leave, as it is dangerous for Armenians to live in Azerbaijan. The opposition is demanding to stop the process, storming the government building and blocking roads. Interestingly, the leader of the protests is a priest, the head of the Tavush diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church (AAC), Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan. Pashinyan retaliated by instructing the Armenian Ministry of Justice… to prepare documents to suspend the activities of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The reason is the church’s involvement in “destabilising society”. And Pashinyan also recently ordered the police to prevent the Catholicos of All Armenians, Karekin II, and the clergy from entering the Sardarapat memorial complex. This memorial is dedicated to the memory of Armenians who died fighting for the independence of the republic.

– The Armenian Apostolic Church was founded by the Apostles of Christ – St Thaddeus and St Bartholomew in the beginning of the first century. Suspending its activities is a way to go down in history, and in the most negative way. The Orthodox Church, for example, operated even under the Bolsheviks, who denied religion. By suspending the activities of the Church, Pashinyan is turning a huge number of Armenians against himself, most of whom are bearers of traditional values. Family and religion are important to them,” explained political scientist Grigory Savelyev.

However, the Armenian prime minister has also turned against Russia. The Armenian authorities blocked the Russian First Channel. The reason – debts for retransmission for 2.5 months. Sergey Markov, political scientist and director of the Institute for Political Studies, wrote in his Telegram channel: “They did it after a speech on Channel One by State Duma deputy Zatulin, who said that the Armenian authorities pursue a policy against Russia and do it openly and insultingly. Thus, the Armenian authorities confirmed Zatulin’s words by their actions.”

The bitterness of defeat and the pull to the EU

Grigory Savelyev believes that the protests in Armenia are natural.

– Pashinyan came to power in 2018 and managed to lose two wars in that time. It was under him that the republic of Nagorno-Karabakh ceased to exist, and hundreds of thousands of Armenians were forced to flee the lands where they had lived for generations. Of course, it is difficult to forgive such a thing,” the expert explained. – To stay in power, Pashinyan invented a fairy tale that Russia is to blame for everything. According to his logic, we should have attacked friendly Azerbaijan, seized Nagorno-Karabakh from it and given it to Armenia. Then we are real friends. And if we did not fight for Armenia, we are not real friends and we should look for new ones.

As the expert noted, Pashinyan is trying to make friends with the French, relying on the Armenian community in France. They even sent instructors to Armenia to train the local army. And Armenia also wants to join the European Union. At the Copenhagen Democracy Summit, answering a journalist’s question, “If you were to make a wish, in what year would you want Armenia to become a member of the EU?” he immediately issued: “What year? This year.”

– On the one hand, Armenia’s economy is developing. The country’s GDP is growing steadily, and there are periods when prices do not increase, but even decrease,” explained Viktor Kudryavtsev, PhD in Economics, lecturer at Moscow State University. – On the other hand, why does the EU need it? Its exports are grapes, peaches, apricots, cherries, walnuts. Some meat. But most of it is quietly absorbed by the Moscow “Food City” market. The EU does not need all this. It even forbade Bulgaria to grow its pepper, famous in the USSR, because there are plenty of other producers in Europe. From the economic point of view, the EU is not interested in Armenia. It already has many small countries: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria. Why does it need new spongers?

It needs a new prime minister

Political scientist Grigory Savelyev is sure:

– Armenia is now at a crossroads. On the one hand, the young generation wants to go to Europe, but they are only taken there on an “individual basis”. Not together with the country. On the other hand, there is Russia. Yes, it “did not protect” from Azerbaijan, although, in general, no one promised. But Russia is a neighbour and the largest importer of Armenian products. It is not for nothing that Armenia joined the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). It wants to have access to our large and rich market. But Russia also needs Armenia. For example, as an outpost in Transcaucasia. Turkey has Azerbaijan there – a loyal ally and promoter of its interests. And there is even an idea of the Great Turan – a union that would include Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. And also, in the future, the Turkic peoples of Russia – for example, the Tatars. Yes, Turkey wants expansion. And we need something to oppose it. Armenia should be our player on this field. But it is obvious that they are trying to take it away from us. Pashinyan is the same Saakashvili, but so far more successful. And he is doing everything to take Armenia away from Russia, although it is definitely not in the interests of the Armenian people.

According to the expert, Armenia needs a pro-Russian person at its head.

– It is no secret that the rich American diaspora helped Pashinyan to become Prime Minister, by the way, during the colour revolution. They provided money, and foreign policy support also came through them. At the same time, according to the Union of Armenians of Russia, about 2.5 million Armenians live in Russia today. This is almost as many as in Armenia itself. This is a large diaspora with great financial and administrative capacities. It can nominate its own candidate for the post of Prime Minister, acting in the interests of Armenia and Russia. It is obvious that Russians and Armenians are much closer in mentality than Armenians and, say, the French,” Saveliev said.

Otherwise, as the expert believes, the situation in the country may end in a new war. Last year, for example, joint exercises of the Armenian and US military – Eagle Partner 2023 – took place. Why do Americans need to teach Armenian soldiers?

– The United States has its own interest in Armenia. By fuelling revanchist sentiments in Armenian society, it is possible to start a new war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, dragging Russia and Turkey into the confrontation and destroying their temporary alliance,” Grigory Savelyev believes. – If Russia sends peacekeepers to the conflict zone, which is certain to happen, it will divert its attention and resources from the SMO. This is what the states need – for us to disperse our forces.

Revolt of foreign agents

The situation in Georgia is also tense. Tbilisi is shaken by rallies of thousands. The country’s parliament overcame the president’s veto and finally adopted the law on foreign agents. The essence is simple: all non-profit organisations (NPOs) with more than 20 per cent foreign funding are obliged to register as foreign agents. There are more than 10,000 NPOs in Georgia. Now they will submit a declaration once a year and explain where the money came from and what it was spent on. The reaction of the US and the EU to the adoption of the law was extremely negative.

– We express deep sorrow over the decision of the Georgian parliament to adopt a law that will distract the country from the path of EU integration,” said Latvian Foreign Minister Baiba Braze.

The US also intends to review bilateral relations with Tbilisi. And the MPs who approved the law are even… threatened with sanctions.

– The ruling party’s actions and anti-Western rhetoric have jeopardised Georgia’s democratic path, its economic security, its membership in the EU, and put Georgia’s relations with the US at risk,” said US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

Grigory Savelyev explained:

– Both the States and the EU have long adopted laws on foreign agents. But Georgia cannot adopt such a law. The reason is simple: all these foreign agents are funded by the West. Georgians have adopted a law to limit Western influence to some extent.

Director of the Centre for System Analysis and Forecasting Rostislav Ishchenko believes that the West will continue to put pressure on Georgia:

– It is simply protecting its agents, this is normal. They need to protect their own.

As the expert explained, the institute of foreign agents has a long history. The USSR, for example, financed communist parties in Western countries. And the West, in turn, the activities of the USSR citizens against the Soviet Union. And now every country is trying to promote its interests on foreign territory. But Georgia was condemned for slightly limiting the influence of the West.

– One can understand the Georgians. At one time there were so many SMOs in the country and their influence was so great that as a result of the “Rose Revolution” Mikhail Saakashvili came to power. Driven by the Americans, he organised a provocation by shelling Russian peacekeepers in the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict. In essence, he started a war. And while fulfilling the “task of the party”, 08.08.08 – right on the day of the start of the Olympics in Beijing. The Americans wanted to interrupt the Chinese PR effect – after all the whole world is watching the opening of the Olympics – with some other picture, – says Grigory Saveliev. – The result for Georgia was deplorable: hundreds of dead, over 1,500 wounded and, what is even sadder, the final loss of Abkhazia and South Ossetia – their former territories, which were transferred under the Russian protectorate. And all for the sake of fulfilling the task of the Americans. Which, by the way, did not stand up for Georgia, although they promised all kinds of assistance. The Georgians, however, did not learn their lesson right away.

French President

The revolt of foreign agents protesting against the adoption of the law is led by the President of Georgia who tried to veto it – Salome Zurabishvili. This woman, beautiful in every way, in addition to Georgian citizenship, also has… French citizenship.

– In fact, she is the EU’s “watchdog” for Georgia, called to defend the interests of the EU, not Georgia,” Saveliev noted. – The same role is played by Moldovan President Maia Sandu with her Romanian citizenship.

Now the president with citizenship of another country is trying to repeal the law on foreign agents. She urged citizens to prepare for the autumn referendum on the law.

– It is necessary to decide whether Georgia will become closer to Europe or fall into Russian slavery. We will decide – all of us together,” Zurabishvili promised.

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Kobakhidze, who is a supporter of the law on foreign agents, said that there will be no “Maidan” in the country.

– As for the parallel between the “Maidan” and the ongoing processes in Georgia, I would like to inform everyone that no one will achieve a “Maidan” in Georgia. Let me remind you what the consequences of “Maidan” were for Ukraine. Then the leadership of Ukraine was appointed from the outside, once, then a second time and in the end the one who appointed did not take responsibility for the development of events – Prime Minister told reporters.

According to him, the most important thing for the Georgian authorities is to take care of the country’s independence.

Grigory Savelyev believes that Kobakhidze’s position is extremely vulnerable.

– He himself said that Georgia will do everything to join the EU in 2030. Two things are unclear here. First: is the EU ready to accept Georgia? Second: does the EU need such “independent” members? The questions are actually rhetorical. The EU is no more interested in Georgia than Armenia, or rather not interested at all. It would accept rich Switzerland, but why would it accept poor Georgia? Second: the EU already has problems with Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, which have rather independent policies. So why does it need new “hooligans”?

The expert drew attention to another thesis of the Georgian Prime Minister. He promised the country “return of territorial integrity”.

– It is obvious that neither Abkhazia nor South Ossetia want to return to Georgia and will fight. And Russia will not allow their capture. Will it not turn out that as a condition for accession to the EU the West will designate this very “territorial integrity” of Georgia, which, incidentally, it seeks itself. After all, this “carrot”, remember, has already been hung in front of SMO in its time. If you want to join the EU and NATO, give back Crimea and Donbass. According to the statute, we accept countries without territorial disputes with their neighbours,” Grigory Saveliev explained. – Georgians, of course, are good, they are defending their independence. But whether they will be able to defend it without starting a new war with Russia is a question.


Armenia has started a military reform designed to form a new strong army and not to depend on Russia. The reform will take place under the auspices of NATO. Javier Colomina, the Alliance’s representative of the Secretary General for the South Caucasus and Central Asia, said that Armenia is getting closer to NATO and an individually adapted partnership programme will be approved for it in the near future. Armenian Defence Minister Suren Papikian said that a competition has already been held to create a military field uniform “in accordance with NATO standards”. But the uniform is not uniform alone. In 2024, Armenia will increase defence spending by 7.3 percent to $1.5 billion.

By the way

The influence of the US and Europe on Georgia is not so great that sanctions – for the adoption of the law on foreign agents – would bring down its economy. The fact is that the country’s main income comes from co-operation with Russia, Turkey, Iran and China. If the West does impose tough sanctions, local political analysts believe that Georgia may turn away from Brussels and start active rapprochement with Russia. Now Georgia has an annual trade turnover with Russia in 2.3 billion dollars: the second after Turkey.

On topic

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has been in prison for almost three years. He was sentenced in absentia to six years in prison in two criminal cases – the beating of MP Valery Gelashvili and the pardon of those convicted for the murder of bank employee Sandro Girgvliani. Besides, Tbilisi City Court is still considering three cases against him – on embezzlement of state funds, on dispersal of protest rally on 7 November 2007 and on illegal border crossing. In total, the champion of freedom, democracy and rule of law is involved in five criminal cases. However, he is not so much sitting as lying down. Since May 2022 Mishiko has been in Vivamedi clinic. Saakashvili is being treated for cachexia (exhaustion of the body). The prisoner of the spirit is starving himself in protest.

Nikita Mironov, Vechernaya Moskva