Armenia to Chair Collective Security Treaty Organization

Armenia will today assume the chairmanship of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Armenian chairmanship of the CSTO, a military

CSTO

Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev/​Sputnik/​Kremlin Pool/​EPA-EFE

Armenia will today assume the chairmanship of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

Armenian chairmanship of the CSTO, a military alliance of post-Soviet states which includes Russia, follows a 44-day Armenia-Azerbaijan war in 2020 in which Armenia lost control of the Nagorno-Karabakh territory. Russia—historically Armenia’s primary backer—has served as a mediator and deployed peacekeepers to the region.

Both parties have in recent months violated the post-war ceasefire and stalled negotiations for a formal peace agreement. Tensions have also increased between Russian peacekeepers and Azerbaijani forces following peacekeepers giving a basic training course to young ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The chairmanship presents Armenia with an opportunity to leverage its close military relationship with Moscow to its own advantage, which it will likely exploit. With Turkey, traditionally Azerbaijan’s primary supporter, essentially shut out of the ceasefire deal, Russia holds most of the cards in the region.

Expect Yerevan to ingratiate itself further to Moscow through accelerating the process of institutional military integration. However, it will likely continue quietly backing forces of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in the hopes of provoking an Azerbaijani-Russian split, gaining it more favorable terms in the final agreement, or of Russian support if the war resumes.

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