Chechnya: Armenia foothold for Russian air raids on Chechnya

Chechenpress web site, Tbilisi, in Russian
9 Mar 04

Armenia foothold for Russian air raids on Chechnya – web site

7 March: Against the backdrop of sluggish talks on the pull-out of
Russian military bases from Georgia, the Kremlin is constantly
reinforcing its military-technical presence in Armenia. This trend
has existed since the time of Gorbachev and Yeltsin and is gaining
momentum under Putin.

Nowadays, the Kremlin’s strongest military-technical grouping in the
South Caucasus is concentrated in Armenia.

The 426th air force unit and the 520th air force commandant’s office
have comfortably settled in Yerevan (Erebuni). It is the same air
force structure that regularly raids Chechnya and easily returns to
the base, remaining out of the sight of international observers. It
is time for observers to pay close attention to this, for raids on
Chechnya from a neighbouring country run counter to all international

Apart from this, the 127th motorized infantry division, the 124th and
128th motorized infantry regiments, the 992nd artillery regiment, the
116th tank battalion, a separate logistics battalion, the 628th
communications battalion and the 772nd reconnaissance battalion are
deployed in Gyumri (Leninakan).

Even a person who is ignorant of military issues realizes that this
is a powerful force capable of dictating its conditions to the whole
of the South Caucasus.

The aforesaid reconnaissance battalion, which has a wide range of
responsibilities – from collecting information all over the South
Caucasus to planning and carrying out various kinds of provocation,
including inciting interethnic strife – particularly has to be taken
into account. The leader of the Georgian People’s Front Party, Prof
Nodar Natadze, has said unequivocally in this connection that almost
all the Russian military bases are stuffed with special forces for
carrying out sabotage and terrorist attacks. Judging by the recent
events in the South Caucasus, the special forces are quite busy. The
Armenia-based 772nd reconnaissance battalion is just the visible part
of sabotage activities conducted by the military bases and
representative offices of Russian colonizers in the South Caucasus.

If on top of it we put the enormous military-technical “assistance”
under Yeltsin, it will be clear that today Armenia is the major
imperial outpost of the Kremlin in the South Caucasus. In addition,
Armenia has been and remains the foothold for the Russian colonizers’
air strikes on Chechnya.

Paradoxical as it may sound, having evicted all the ethnic Russians
from Armenia, the Armenian authorities have granted the Russian
military pilots the right to shell Chechnya and easily return to
their bases in Armenia.

In this ugly alliance of Armenia and Russia, there is one important
point: by betraying the interests of the Caucasus, the Yerevan
government betrays the interests of Armenia, for it backs the
interests of the enemies of the Caucasus – the Russian colonizers. By
reinforcing the Russian military presence at home, Armenia is risking
to become an outcast in the Caucasus.