The Donald Trump’s administration aims to increase its influence in the post-Soviet territories in 2019, including the countries that remain key allies of Kremlin and are part of both the CSTO defense bloc and the Eurasian Economic Union.
Analysts from the consulting company Stratfor warned that Washington’s immediate goal will be to strengthen relations with Armenia, where loyal to the Kremlin Prime Minister, Serzh Sargsyan, resigned in May as a result of the “velvet revolution” and mass protests and was replaced by the opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan.
Armenia hosts approximately 5,000 Russian soldiers on its territory and purchases exclusively Russian weapons, using Russian loans and keeping the Kremlin as the monopoly supplier of weapons.
Stratfor predicts that Washington will seek to break this connection. The “first sign” was the national security adviser to the White House, John Bolton’s, visit to Yerevan, which took place in October.
During the talks with Pashinyan, Bolton declared the U.S. readiness to supply American weapons to Armenia. “The government of the country is not bound by any restrictions, so if the U.S. have good proposals, we are ready to discuss them,” answered Pashinyan.
Stratfor states that tensions are already growing in Yerevan’s political relations with Kremlin.
Three weeks after Bolton’s visit, the country's authorities filed multibillion-dollar tax claims against Gazprom’s subsidiary, which is the monopoly supplier of gas to the republic.
On November 14, the Republican State Revenue Committee announced that CJSC Gazprom Armenia provided “false data” to the tax authorities, underpaid income tax and VA, and was engaged in the illegal resale of gas.
“Based on the aforementioned materials, prepared in the Investigation Department of the CGD, a criminal case was initiated according to the part 2 of Article 205 of the RA Criminal Code,” the CGD said.
Russia is unlikely to succeed in trying to neutralize the U.S. efforts in the former Soviet periphery countries, but it may well provoke increased instability in the border regions,” sums up Stratfor.