The “Union of Informed Citizens” NGO has managed to obtain the Agreement on Joint Group of Forces of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia and Russian Federation (signed on November 30, 2016) from the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs (you can find the Armenian version of the agreement here).
According to the agreement and other published information, the Russian 102nd Military Base and the Fifth Corps of the RA Armed Forces are united into a joint group of forces.
Command of Joint Forces
Command of the forces will be implemented by the commander of the joint group of forces who will be appointed by the RA President with Russian President’s consent.
During peaceful times, the commander of the joint group will obey the orders of Chief of General Staff of the RA Armed Forces, and during wartime (or real danger of war), he will obey either Chief of General Staff of the RA Armed Forces or Russia’s Southern Military District Commander. It will be up to Armenia’s and Russia’s Supreme Commanders to decide who specifically the commander of the joint group of forces will obey. The agreement does not define what will happen when the supreme commanders of the two countries do not come to an agreement on the issue.
The commander of the joint group of forces will receive commands not only from his immediate superior but also from the presidents of the two countries. And the agreement does not stipulate what shall be done if those commands are mutually exclusive.
Instead, the agreement clearly stipulates that the application plan of the joint forces is developed by the Command of the 102nd Military Base and that of the Joint Group of Forces. The decision on using the joint forces shall be made jointly by Armenia’s and Russia’s supreme commanders.
Russian will be the official language of the joint command.
According to the agreement and the rules of procedure attached to it, the goals of the joint group of forces are vague and ambiguous, and part of them is simply disturbing.
The issues include not only pushing back against possible aggression or protection of the country’s borders, but also response to, and we quote here, “information” and “information-psychological” means. It is difficult to guess what actions may underlie such vague issues.
Besides the issues listed in the agreement, it is stipulated there that the Supreme Commanders of Russia’s and Armenia’s Armed Forces can define other issues as well. This means that irrespective of what is mentioned in the agreement, the joint group of forces can get any other goal and ensuing command.
And if we consider that the concept of “direct threat of aggression” is quite vaguely defined in the same way as the area where the group of forces is functional, the leaders of the two countries can go as far as disperse protests in Yerevan or, say, give a command to invade Georgian territories.
Anyhow, it is clear that the decision of using the joint group of forces shall be made jointly by the supreme commanders of the Armed Forces of Armenia and Russia.
“Union of Informed Citizens”