Assessments

Russia Tightens Its Hold on Armenia

Nov 2, 2015 | 10:15 GMT
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) welcomes his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sarkisian, to the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, outside Moscow, on Sept. 7.
(VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images)

While the Iran nuclear agreement has undoubtedly changed the dynamics of the Middle East, few perhaps have considered how such a dramatic deal will affect the nearby Caucasus region, specifically Armenia. With Western sanctions soon to be lifted, Armenia has the potential to become a transit country for Iranian oil and natural gas destined for ports in Georgia. But emerging relations between Tehran and Yerevan on energy and infrastructure projects is the last thing Armenia's major patron -- Russia -- wants, especially if it is excluded from controlling shares in them. To this end, Russia has been increasing its economic presence in Armenia, while also pushing influential Armenians living in Russia to enter Armenian politics....

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