Armenia has options to diversify its policies and in this respect already initialed and ready for signing the Agreement (CEPA) with the European Union considerably widens these opportunities.

Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation Photo: Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation

INTRODUCTION

Russia’s policy towards the post-Soviet republics collectively fits into a single logic no matter at which degree it’s systematically formulated by those making that policy. Its logic and algorithms have developed yet not today and principally don’t contain anything innovative. However, innovations of revolutionary nature have been introduced into its tools and method of realization conditioned by information revolution worldwide, and in the use of its achievements to advance in its tasks, Russia and its authorities have taken leading positions, moreover, in certain dimensions, they can be called as pioneers.

We won’t find “Putin Doctrine” as such formulated in Russia’s fundamental foreign policy documents. Like “Brezhnev Doctrine”[1] from the Soviet period, its components comprise several crucial public speeches of Vladimir Putin from early 2000s, adopted conceptions and doctrines by different spheres[2], significant commentaries and speeches of a number of Russian politicians in conjunction with practical policy of the Russian Federation of the post-Soviet period.

“Brezhnev Doctrine” as such was formulated by western politicians and political scientists after his speech at the Congress of the Polish United Worker’s Party in 1968, observing political-ideological grounding and justification for the then policy of interference into the affairs of the countries in the socialist “camp.” Its essence was provision of stability of the political course of those subjects, directed to close cooperation with the USSR and recognizing the latter’s predominance in that “camp”, consolidated by communist ideology. That Doctrine was also named “doctrine of limited sovereignty” of the countries that make up the Soviet “camp”.

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ON THE ESSENCE OF “PUTIN DOCTRINE”

In 1968 the Soviet leader announced in Warsaw: “And when internal and external forces hostile to socialism try to reverse the development of any socialist country towards capitalism, it becomes not only an issue of the country concerned, but a common issue and concern of all socialist countries.”

“Putin Doctrine”, going back to Brezhnev’s ideology, compared to his “forerunner” is deprived of any ideology and naturally is realized in quite different internal and external conditions, and the term of ideology is applicable to “Eurasianism”, “Russian world” with prefix “pseudo” for all that it equally rejects liberal values and is aimed at systemic weakening of the West.

However, by virtue of fundamental change in correlation of powers and resources, if the doctrine of limited sovereignty under Brezhnev was realized worldwide, then under Putin—only in the post-Soviet space, where, according to the “Concept of foreign policy of the Russian Federation” from February 2, 2013, “Russia considers the issue of formation of Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) a priority, meant not only to maximally set in motion mutually beneficial economic ties in the territory of CIS, but to become a model of unification open for other republics and determining the future of Commonwealth countries[3].”

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With assumption of the office of the Russian Federation by Putin, the notion of “Putinism”[4] was introduced into the political life of media outlets, which unites characteristic features of his management, and the term “Putin Doctrine”[5] appeared already in March 2013.

Particularly, in his article with that title Len Aron, American expert on Russian affairs and former USSR, states that in Russian political elite one of the crucial composites of foreign policy consensus is over regional hegemony:

 
“To reach that goal Moscow strives to new political, economic, military and cultural integration of former Soviet bloc countries under Russia’s domination[6].” He added that this means an attempt of “Finlandisation” of post-Soviet republics, reminding Soviet times, when “In the period of the Cold War Moscow was controlling Finland’s foreign policy.”

Within such a scheme, Moscow allows its neighbors to independently choose their domestic policy and economic systems, while it reserved the last word in issues related to their external orientation.

“Accordingly, the Kremlin takes a very tough stance in relation with former Soviet republics, striving to redirect their foreign policies,” the expert states.

Regional organizations established by Russia’s initiative, such as CSTO and EAEU, play a role of instruments in realization[7] of the “Putin Doctrine.” The issue of membership for different republics of the post-Soviet space in them generated crisis or dramatic developments, like on September 3 in Armenia, when the president of Armenia in Moscow announced on withdrawal from the Association Agreement (AA) with the EU and his intention to involve in Eurasian Union, like refusal by Viktor Yanukovich, president of Ukraine, to sign the already initialed AA with the EU, leading to mass protests in Maidan in Kiev, breakdown of his power, followed by annexation of Crimea and occupation of a part of Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine by Russia and formation of another “frozen conflict.”

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For Russia’s policy the involvement of post-Soviet countries into its unions, first and foremost, to EAEU at the present moment, is becoming principally important, and Moscow widely uses leverages of “frozen conflicts” to achieve its domestic policy goals, linking their possible resolution with membership to EAEU.

 
 
 
“If we want peace in the Caucasus, the entire Caucasus should be integrated into EAEU,” Sergey Glazyev, advisor to the president of Russian Federation, stated[8] in Yerevan.

Nevertheless, this is only the regional reflection of that global vision of world order voiced by Moscow’s military-political leadership.

In his remarkable article entitled as “Future world order” (Будущий миропорядок)[9] Sergey Karaganov, Kremlin-associated expert on international affairs, outlining the main theses of his speech on “What follows ‘liberal world order’?” stresses that

 
 
“It’s better start building the new world order from partnership of Great Eurasia, including Europe—a concept initiated by Russia and supported by China, and with the Chinese One belt-One way, which coincides with it and was supported by Russia. Probably nothing new will be born in old Atlantics.”

In his view, the way to establish a new world order “will be dangerous and long—about 15 years,” and “that world order will be much freer than the previous one, yet much freer than many former ones. Already now, imposition of political systems, cultural and human values is becoming more and more difficult. Exactly from this many in the West bend their arms[10].”

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Days later Karaganov states that another cold war broke out amid Russia and the West, as well as China and the West, as “In the West they have stingily resolved to seize former Russian and Soviet assets,” also for the reason that the USA much harshly deters China, attempting to prevent enlargement of its zone of influence in the Pacific Ocean,” and “liberal economic order, established in the West after the WWII and then spread worldwide, is being sprinkled[11].”

Political approaches initiating “Putin Doctrine” were formed yet in the period of B.Yeltsin and were voiced on the highest level. Report[12] by Anatoly Gromyko, the son of the well-known head of USSR Foreign Minister in the period of 1957-85, at the meeting of State Duma Committee of the Russian Federation on geopolitics of December 19, 1996, devoted to the 90-th anniversary of the Brezhnev Doctrine, is worth attention.

Touching upon the “Brezhnev Doctrine” he confesses that formally it didn’t exist, but in essence—yes. He called on to reset those approaches in the formation of the foreign policy of post-Soviet Russia,

 
“…now everyone sees that a real struggle evolves to oust Russia from the geopolitical space of former Soviet Union. In this struggle a lot depends on how sober Russian leadership will assess the unfolding situation. If it casts away such delusions that world politics is a salon of courtesy exchange, that Russia recorded victory by the end of the cold war, i.e. placid pink moods, then our country will suffer a new cataclysm—Russia will fall to pieces, Siberia will withdraw, and the state of Moskovy will remain[13].”

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“That state was lost under Gorbachev. Lost without a trace! The current leadership of the country is confused in geopolitical realities. As a result, we have what we have. Russia doesn’t possess Crimea, even Sevastopol! Ukraine slowly drifts towards the West. Black and Mediterranean Seas, their channels are controlled by Turkey. Control over the Caspian and its immense oil reserves is claimed by anyone, who feels like it. Kaliningrad region appeared to be cut off from the entire territory of the state. The most important strategic beachhead—the Baltic, is lost, where neither naval base isn’t formulated by Russia as property or rent!” A.Gromyko stressed and called on: “Russia shouldn’t fish for friendship, it’s necessary to pursue tough policy in support of its national interests. Tough resistance towards NATO’s enlargement to the East should be launched. While others speak about “tough resistance,” I would call on “resistance with tangible results for the West.” Let the political figures think how to do that. Permit weakness in this issue at the moment—increased difficulties in near future will be recorded by far. Russia should take tough position: its borders are immune, CIS is the zone of its vital interests[14].”

Russia considers that it has lost the Cold War, as a result of which USSR and the Communist camp have collapsed, exclusively due to miscalculations and mediocre leadership of the country by Gorbachev, Yeltsin and their teams.

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Konstantin Kosachev, Chairman of the Russian Senate's Foreign Affairs Committee, confirms[15] that what goes on around Russia and its president bears systemic nature. He considers these are occurrences launched yet a quarter of a century ago, after the end of the Cold War:

 
“The West assumed itself a winner in this war. It considered the whole world is at its feet and it finally became unipolar. Actually, the only power standing against the concept of a unipolar world is Russia. And the fact that the world is multipolar now, that the West doesn’t have a monopoly to resolve global issues exclusively in its own interests, undoubtedly, is Russia’s contribution.”

In his conceptual article “Value of science in prediction[16] Valeriy Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russian Federation, yet in February 2013 stresses, that

 
 
“the role of non-military means in reaching political and strategic goals has increased, which in several cases has considerably surpassed the power of the weapon by its effectiveness,” adding that, “remote contactless action on the adversary is becoming the main means to reach purposes of the war and operation.”

Actually the concept formulated by Colonel Gerasimov fits into the postulate of Sun Tzu—“best of best is conquering another’s army, without a battle,” and fully and systematically reflects the new methodology and planning of advance of Russian policy in a period of 15 years mentioned by Karaganov, under the conditions, when the world is plunged into “the first world hybrid warfare[17],[18].”

 
“Thanks to the internet and social media, the kinds of operations Soviet psy-ops teams once could only fantasize about—upending the domestic affairs of nations with information alone—are now plausible. The information space opens wide asymmetrical possibilities for reducing the fighting potential of the enemy,” stresses[19] Molly K. McKew, expert on information warfare.

 

ARMENIAN “FRONT” IN “PUTIN DOCTRINE”: MOSCOW’S UNDECLARED HYBRID WARFARE AGAINST ARMENIA

Armenia, as the only country in the South Caucasus, not bordering with Russia and more vulnerable geopolitically, plays a key role in Russia’s military-political presence in the region.

After the terror act at the Armenian parliament on October 27, 1999 a wide spectrum opened before Russia for possession of economic, military and political levers in Armenia, allowing it to have a fatal impact on Armenian policy in future. Igor Eydman states:

“In Russian commercial raiding the following tactics is often applied: at first raiders purchase high management of the enterprise, then the latter helps the stranger to seize the asset. And if the manager isn’t bribed, raiders attempt to alienate him/her usually with the help of ordered criminal case. Putin and his people have passed a tough school of commercial wars in the 90s, actively participated in the process of property redistribution in St. Petersburg and adjacent precincts. They’re experienced in recording results by these very means. Apparently, this experience prompted Putin’s oligarchy the idea of hybrid warfare against foreign, firstly Western countries. In important for itself states the Kremlin attempts to “change the management”, support its protégés come to power, and then with their help “privatize the asset”, i.e. subdue the country’s policy. Only instead of raid by sold cops Putin’s raiders use information warfare, hacker attacks, dissemination of discrediting evidence, black PR and etc.,” adding that presently Russia undertook raider attack worldwide[20].

Yet in the period of Karabakh war in 1991-1994 on the conflict zone Russia took steps towards extension of its influence in the region. Summer attack of Azerbaijani army in 1992 in the north of Nagorno Karabakh, as a result of which 58% of the territory of former Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Region appeared under Baku’s control, was recorded under the decisive role[21] of the Russian military—104th Guards Airborne Division under the command of Vladimir Shamanov[22], future commander of RF Airborne Forces (VDV).

After the signing of the agreement on ceasefire regime, Russia shifted to non-military methods of influence, in which information component started to play more and more, and presently—a leading role.

In the period of 2000-2008, when sector after sector Armenia’s economy was shifted under Russia’s control, to provide the “painlessness” of that drift main place was assigned to manipulations based on “traditional” mythology, when evidently deals unprofitable from the point of view of interests of the Republic of Armenia were introduced as profitable[23], in addition, representatives of the authorities argued for various reasons that this deal “strengthens traditional Armenia-Russia relations”,  “strategic union” and etc.

With the outbreak of August war of 2008 against Georgia, specific gravity of military and military-technical component again rises in Russia-led policy in the post-Soviet area. Wherein, Moscow assumes a primary role to modernized information component.

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In particular, five-day war against Georgia was evolving by active support of live broadcast, live transmission by the press service of Russia’s Defense Ministry, intensive propaganda on “fair-nature” war by media outlets. Apparently, Moscow drew lessons from the first war against Chechen Republic, when a small group of employees from Chechen press center headed by M.Udugov, practically demoralized Moscow, compelling to conclude an armistice and recognize unfolded de facto realities.

From 2010 Moscow launched large-scale supply of armaments to Azerbaijan, including offensive weapons, and the military-political situation in Nagorno Karabakh conflict zone, based on relative balance of powers, appeared under threat, which became the most serious external challenge for Armenia in the period of its independence.

It can be assumed, since then Moscow created and was equipped with a new instrument of blackmailing Armenia—a factor threatening resumption of a large-scale war against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh). This factor became the most ponderable in exerting Armenia in making decision on withdrawal to sign the Association Agreement (AA) with the EU on September 3, 2013, as well as opened a new scope and became a comfortable background for informative manipulations addressed to threatening the political field and Armenia’s citizens in general, discrediting relations with Armenia and the European Union and with the West on the whole, the West itself as it is, European model of the state and European values.

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In that period Russian policy in the post-Soviet area and its positioning on international arena started to gain more aggressive features. For the first time after the collapse of Nazi Germany in 1945, an aggressor in the face of Moscow appeared, which contrary to its own international obligations has militarily encroached on sovereignty of the neighboring state—Ukraine, and annexed its part—Crimea. In parallel with it, Russia unleashed information war against not only Ukraine, but also the entire West, and taking into consideration its destructive effect, that campaign gained the name of “hybrid warfare.” As Ukrainian political scientist Yevgeniy Magda states in his book “Russia’s hybrid aggression: lessons for Europe,” for the first time the term “complex hybrid warfare” was publicly used by Robert Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense, in 2009:

 
 
“We should look to other elements [of future armed forces]…and define what will be more appropriate for defense in the conflict, which I’d call complex hybrid warfare…[24]

Contemporary hybrid aggression is impossible to imagine without the following seven components:
1. Information and propaganda;
2. Political and diplomatic;
3. Commercial and economic with elements of lobbying and corruption;
4. Energy and infrastructural;
5. Intelligence-sabotage-partisan;
6. Regular military operations;
7. Possibility for limited use of tactical nuclear weapons[25].

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In its general features, according to Ukrainian expert, hybrid warfare may be defined,

 
 
 
“as complex of early planned and operatively implemented actions of military, diplomatic, economic, informative nature, aimed at reaching strategic goals. Its key purpose is subordination of interests of one state to the other under formal preservation of the political structure of the victim-country[26].”

Thereby in its actions of subordinating Armenia’s interests to its own, from the abovementioned seven components Russia fully applies the first four, the fifth—partially, although it possesses all necessary infrastructures to fully use it in the territory of Armenia, and the sixth one—together with Azerbaijan, intensifying its military potential to that end.

A highly professional and motivated group deals with the application of information-propaganda component, members of which became “faces of Russian propaganda”—Dmitry Kiselev, Margarita Simonyan and others, who possess impressive funds and vertically integrated, effective informative structures, operating by one intention and attached almost by military discipline. Whereas respective institutes designed to counteract to it in the West and post-Soviet countries, moreover—in Armenia, are in the embryonic state, in the stage of formation, tasks haven’t been formulated, dimensions, directions and methodology of future work remain unperceived.

And against this background D.Kiselev announces that the USA “is losing in information warfare” with Russia[27]. The point is that the same was verified by the American federal agency on international broadcasting 2.5 years before that statement[28], which edifies of large opportunities of Russian propaganda. At the same time, if western media outlets, including state-financed broadcasting companies, operate based on the principles of balanced and reliable coverage, then Russian propaganda widely practices replicating of fakes or simply lies[29].

Compared to Georgia, where media outlets and the state successfully cooperate[30] with the Strategic Communications Division of the EU[31], created to counteract Russian propaganda, in Armenia comfortable conditions have been established for Russian propaganda units, and Russian hybrid warfare in its information component combined with others was actually involved in “one gate” game, not coming across with counteraction, not taking into account the efforts of the civil society—several NGOs and media outlets.  

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In recent months the information agency “Sputnik-Armenia”, Armenian service of Russian state agency “Sputnik”, is engaged in replicating disinformation, conspiracy theories, fakes in compliance with the agenda adapted to Armenian realities— to discredit Armenia-EU, Armenia-West relations, universal human and European values, introducing their “amorality” and contrast to “traditional” ones and etc., stuffing of narratives on anti-Semitism, as well as threatening with “future cataclysms”.

Catchy headlines of publications are rather expressive and don’t need in detailed elaboration. In particular: 

- “Do they want to take children from families or Armenia on the threshold of a civil war?”[32]

- “Pentagon prepares “bombs” for Yerevan: do US bio-laboratories threaten Armenians”[33]

- “Incest-parades are awaiting Armenia or where does LGBT propaganda lead us to?”[34]

- “Armenians in Jerusalem: when orthodox Jews see us, they spit out”[35]

- “Agreement with the EU as a threat to Armenia’s security: will Armenia be deprived of NPP?”[36]

- “Why doesn’t Armenia anticipate concessions from the EU: unmasking myths on “partnership””[37]

- “Polish messenger from the West: did Warsaw begin to play with Yerevan to encircle Moscow?”[38]

The abovementioned headlines are just a part of sharply intensified aggressive publications with respective direction, style and content, and fit into “global” agenda of Russian propaganda [39].

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It can also be assumed, that despite official Moscow didn’t express any objections on Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) it refers to its signing with implicit hostility.

Political-diplomatic, economic-commercial, lobbyist-corruption components of hybrid warfare are also effectively involved in Armenia, and by that, through respective officials Armenia voices positions derived from the interests not of the Republic, but Russia.

In particular, it refers not only to the decision of September 3, 2013, but relations with Gazprom and Rosneft, also the refusal to develop economic ties on a strategic level with Iran, creating impediments in relations with Georgia, even with China[40], subordination of Armenia’s positions to its interests while voting for the issue of Ukrainian Crimea.

It should be stressed that by ratification[41] of the agreement[42] on joint troops with Russia and the agreement on involvement of the Republic to the Russian-Belarusian Intergovernmental Financial and Industrial Group (IFPG) “Defense Systems” Russia not only obtains wide opportunities for intelligence and control, but also strengthens these opportunities legally.

 

UNFOLDING REALITIES AND POSSIBLE IMPLICATIONS

Not only Russian propaganda voices on the crisis of liberal democracy, but Europe and the USA don’t deny it either. This is the third global crisis[43] after the crises of the 30s and the 70s of the previous century, and against the background of extremely sluggish resistance by the West, Russia attacks on all directions as much as allow its resources—political, military, financial, intellectual and etc. with the purpose of revenge after the defeat in the Cold War and establishment of a new world order, where at least post-Soviet space will be recognized as zone of its exclusive influence.  

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Amidst the lack of decisive intentions[44] in the region by virtue of internal systemic and institutional challenges in the USA and Europe, as well as a range of internal systemic imperfections in Armenia, throughout recent years Russia, by means of its hybrid actions, succeeded to subdue Armenia’s entire policy to its interests, and freedom of actions is allotted to Yerevan to the extent it doesn’t intersect with Moscow’s interests.

Because of its integration into Russian system and dependency on it, Armenia has absorbed all its systemic defects—corruption-oligarchic monopolistic-oligopolistic economy, merging of business and politics, social apathy. The process of deinstitutionalization in Russia and establishment of personalist authoritarian regime of Putin also have very negative impact on Armenia’s internal life.

All this in combination restricts Armenia’s opportunities to respond to challenges, first and foremost—to challenges of security, main generator of which is present-day Russia and current quality of Armenian-Russian relations.

However, with all this, there are also factors and preconditions, bending on which, as it seems, it’ll be possible to pursue relatively painless and soft exit strategies, avoiding catastrophic scenarios, and provide sustainability of independent statehood at this extremely complicated period of world history full of uncertainties.

 

NEW ARMENIA-EU AGREEMENT: NEW OPPORTUNITIES OF DIVERSIFYING FOREIGN POLICY AND NEW CHALLENGES

Armenia has options to diversify its policies and in this respect already initialed and ready for signing the Agreement[45] (CEPA) with the European Union considerably widens these opportunities.

It will enable Armenia to fill the gap of strategic imperfections, given the fact that the country doesn’t have partners in Russia-led unions (CSTO and EAEU) and its membership in them is just anchored on the component of bilateral relations with Russia, but not with other member-countries, with which Armenia has no borders, no adequate volume and level of relations, no shared interests over issues[46] significant for Armenia.

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Despite Armenia’s sudden withdrawal of September 3, 2013 from the Association Agreement with the EU and its rather negative political implications[47], Yerevan and Brussels didn’t abandon attempts to set a new ground to Armenia-EU relations, and Yerevan initialed CEPA. It should be noted that formulations on Nagorno Karabakh in that agreement,[48] such as recognition of “the importance of the commitment of the Republic of Armenia to the peaceful and lasting settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and the need to achieve that settlement as early as possible, in the framework of the negotiations led by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs; also recognizing the need to achieve that settlement on the basis of the purposes and principles enshrined in the UN Charter and the OSCE Helsinki Final Act, in particular those related to refraining from the threat or use of force, the territorial integrity of States, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples and reflected in all declarations issued within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship since the 16th OSCE Ministerial Council of 2008; also noting the stated commitment of the European Union to support this settlement process,”—all this is a ponderable factor of security of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.

Grounding for such a statement is the fact that at present certain consensus over the conflicts in the post-Soviet area has been formed: conflicts in the territories of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine should be resolved exclusively based on the principle of territorial integrity of the mentioned states, whereas three principles of Helsinki Final Act are referred to Nagorno Karabakh conflict—territorial integrity, refraining from the threat or use of force, self-determination of peoples. Moreover, the definition “people of Nagorno Karabakh” was used not once in US Department of State’s foreign policy statements and documents. Nagorno Karabakh conflict is the only one in the post-Soviet area, where due to OSCE Minsk Group, in which Russia is only one of the three co-chairs, Moscow failed to fully realize[49] its intentions and deploy its peacekeepers; the OSCE MG is a weighty restricting factor in this regard, conditioning counteraction and discontent of Moscow, Baku and Ankara to the work of this format.

Another achievement in this agreement is that actually not only the political part of rejected Armenia-EU Association Agreement of 2013 edition is preserved, but it’s also widened with several new provisions. However, economic part was considerably shortened, as free trade zone with the EU isn’t provided, and is brought in compliance with legally binding obligations of Armenia within EAEU.

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The Agreement also addresses the issue of Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant in a manner acceptable to Armenia. The road map and the action plan to be formed suppose “closure and safe decommissioning of Medzamor nuclear power plant”, taking into consideration “the need for its replacement with new capacity to ensure the energy of the Republic of Armenia and conditions for sustainable development[50].” If there is a political will, this will enable not only diversification of the country’s energy system and energy policy in general, but its nuclear industry as well, for the development of which more contemporary western technologies are required.

By the time of the research publication Moscow didn’t officially express any objections on the future Agreement, it didn’t either express lack of objections. And the issue what its reaction will be like at the moment of its signing remains open against the background of passiveness of the USA in this issue. As already mentioned above, sub-divisions of Russian propaganda in Armenia have unfolded the information attack on the Agreement.

On the other hand, the issue of Joint Declaration at EaP summit in Brussels remains open. Several European countries under Azerbaijani influence strive to change the formulations on Nagorno Karabakh conflict of Riga Summit (May 21-22. 2015), which again stressed “its full support to mediation efforts of the co-chairs of the Minsk Group on Nagorno Karabakh conflict, including on the level of presidents and their statements starting from 2009.” 

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An additional factor to the asset of supporters to change the formulations is Catalonia’s issue, in respect of which the EU has developed a consensus in favor of Spain’s unity. However, it should be taken into account that the Catalonian issue can’t be put on the same level with that of Nagorno Karabakh, as legal frameworks with Catalonia enter into a direct contradiction with the Constitution of Spain and only 43% took part in the referendum. Whereas Nagorno Karabakh organized a referendum in full compliance with the laws in force at that time and by appearance of the Republic of Azerbaijan wasn’t under its control, furthermore, it’s impossible to ignore the war unleashed by Azerbaijan and the threat to physical security of the people of Nagorno Karabakh.

It should be stressed that Azerbaijan’s efforts on disruption of Armenia-EU Agreement also fully fit into the course of Russian strategy, as their success will soften the game in the region by Russian rules.

Therefore, it seems that signing of Armenia-EU Agreement is of regional importance and dimension as well and is capable of becoming a new factor of regional stability[51].

 

CONCLUSION: REGIONAL DIMENSION

For the time being the world suffers the third crisis of liberal democracy, one of manifestations of which is certain dysfunctionality of the US foreign policy as a whole and lack of strategy in relations of Russia and post-Soviet member countries within EaP, lack of regional strategy in the South Caucasus. As a consequence, there is degradation of the situation, inadequate reaction to the crisis, which is reflected in the following:

- The trend of developing business affairs with Russia is still significant in Europe, which actually is legitimation of Putin’s policy. Although it should also be noted that the position[52] of the European Commission on Nord Stream-2 is able to blow up efforts of Gazprom and Russia on further corrupting of Europe’s political elite.

- Institutional weakening of the West, as a system of European and global security, continues, and to that end Karaganov’s[53] confession on the fact that “Indeed, Russia consciously disrupts that order by its own hands,” appearance of the first aggressor in Europe after Hitler, who annexes part of its neighboring state and makes from other neighbors “a zone of privileged interests”—all this as presented remains without due attention and adequate assessment against the background of, first and foremost, moral crisis. And the statement of the Kremlin-associated figure is acknowledgement and recognition of the fact that Russia is the main instigator of “the first world hybrid warfare”, which due to its blurring and prevalence of non-military forms of its conduct still remains unperceived. Although, in particular, interference of Russia to elections in the USA is already assessed as military operations[54] in the US political elite.

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- Against the background of aggravating deep crisis of liberal democracy little attention is attached to another important component of hybrid warfare—international corruption by its level of threat comparable to international terrorism. Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act[55] adopted by the US Congress may become a key factor in neutralization of international corruption, however, the bipartisan group of Congressmen raised an issue that the White House doesn’t act in compliance with the Act and postpones strengthening of pressure on Russia[56].

- In the unfolded information war with Russia, as a crucial element of hybrid warfare, the counteracting infrastructure remains extremely weak and inadequate to the threat dimensions. The point is that there is no institute able to effectively deal with information sabotages, fakes and address processes, sources of their generation, which, as already proved, systemically and effectively work under the umbrella of Russian government, serving its interests.

- Worsening of USA-Iran relations, threat of suspending the agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program, continuous contradictions in American institutes on that issue are capable of cementing a Moscow-Tehran-Ankara triangle. And at the very stage of reshaping the US approach towards the South Caucasus region as “something between” in this triangle, purely from the view of “real politics” among certain political circles in the West, is able to generate further deterioration of the situation and the threat of existential nature in the region in view of its being fragmented and abundance of various conflicts. Moreover, this undermines the efforts to form basis for indivisible Black Sea security, where the role of the South Caucasus, Ukraine is just dominant.

- Against the background of the US strategy leaving the settlement of the situation in Ukraine’s East only to European mediators sharply increases the opportunity of conflict conservation in Donbass, after which Russia will fully free its hands in the South Caucasus under deteriorated situation there. The tendency of stepping back from democratic norms observed in Georgia, intensification of Russian influence, “borderizaton”, i.e. periodic furthering of the contact line to Georgia’s north, which is creeping intervention and occupation, as well as skepticism in the political class and the society regarding Euro-Atlantic integration of the country—all these are key factors depriving official Yerevan of an alternative, and Armenia—of opportunities to counteract realization of “Putin Doctrine” applied towards our country.

P.S. The author thanks David Shahnazaryan for assistance in drafting the text of the research and Yevgeniy Magda for provided information.

 

REFERENCES


[1] Brezhnev Doctrine, Wikipedia

[2] Doctrine of information security of the Republic of Armenia (in Russian), Rossiyskaya gazeta, 06.05.2017

[3] Conception of foreign policy of the Russian Federation (in Russian) Point 44, RF MFA official website, 12.02.2013

[4] Putinism Looms, William Safire, The New York Times, 31.01.2000

[6] Ibid.

[9] Future world order, Sergey Karaganov, Rossiyskaya gazeta, 07.09.2017

[10] Ibid.

[11] Cold war: forecast for tomorrow, Sergey Karaganov (in Russian), Rossiyskaya gazeta, 22.10.2017

[12] Geopoliitcal doctrine of Brzhnev, Report by Anatoly Gromyko of December 19, 1996 devoted to the 90th anniversary of L.I.Brezhnev at State Duma meeting on geopolitics (in Russian) 

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[17] The first world hybrid warfare was launched long ago: what’s anticipated on Artsakh front? (in Russian), First Armenian news and analyses, 1in.am, 04.10.2017

[19] The Gerasimov Doctrine, By Molly K. McKew, Politico Magazine, September/October 2017, 07.09.2017

[20] The first world hybrid warfare, Igor Eydman (in Russian) Kasparov.ru. 02.10.2017

[21] How they make up an Arab, Alexander Cherkasov (in Russian), Polit.ru, 17.09.2004

[22] Vladimir Shamanov, Wikipedia

[24] “Russia’s hybrid aggression: lessons for Europe” (in Russian), Yevgeniy Magda, p. 28,Kalamar, Kiev, 2017

[25] Ibid.

[26] “Russia’s hybrid aggression: lessons for Europe” (in Russian), Yevgeniy Magda,  p. 31, Kalamar, Kiev, 2017

[27] The USA loses in information war with Russia (in Russian), Dmitry Kiselev, Vesti.ru, 01.10.2017

[29] The language of fake: what mistakes extradited fake interview of MI-6 (in Russian), Artyom Voronin, BBC Russian service, 15.08.2017

[30] Propaganda: Russian “soft power of actions (in Russian), Georgia-online, 25.05.2017

[31] Website “EU against disinformation” (in Russian), Еuvsdisinfo.eu

[43] Liliya Shevtsova on new policy of Vladimir Putin (in Russian), Radio Liberty, 27.12.2013

[48] Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Armenia, p. 8, Official website of Council of the European Union, 25.09.2017

[50] see 48, p.46

[53] See 9 and 11

[56] US Senators outraged that Trump hasn’t yet imposed new sanctions against Russia (in Russian), KP.ru, 12.10.2017

 

Democracy, Security & Foreign Policy” programme (NED)