In an Armenian-language interview with the Armenian “1in.am” news agency on 9 March, RSC Senior Analyst David Shahnazaryan assessed the broader context of the visit to Moscow of Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian. Noting that the visit comes in the wake of a sensational Russian media leak of Armenian “military secrets,” Shahnazaryan also revealed that Russia has been steadily following a policy of “militarization” of the South Caucasus, which he contended was a serious threat to the delicate regional balance of power. He added as part of this Russian strategy, a series of public leaks, disclosures and statements also reveal a policy of “blackmail and intimidation” aimed at pressuring both Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Tracing the deeper series of Russian leaks, Shahnazaryan pointed to the first incident, on 18 February, when the official Russian government website published the details of a recent $200 million Armenian-Russian loan agreement to finance Armenia’s purchase of Russian arms. That incident also provided unprecedented confidential details on the various types of arms and weapon systems. Shahnazaryan stressed that the main figure behind the public disclosures was Alexander Khramchikhin, a figure with fairly well-known and very close ties to the Kremlin, the Russian Ministry of Defense and the military-industrial complex, who is also considered a military expert.