Armenia’s president Serzh Sargsyan met with Putin during Sargsyan's visit on September 7. Accompanying Sargsyan were his Ministers of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian, Economy and Finance.
In Azerbaijan many consider this visit ordinary. Zardusht Alizade, political scientist says this visit is no different than other visits of the Armenian president. “Armenia’s politics is locked inside Karabakh cage. There are no chances that this will change for Armenia”, commented Alizade.
The view of the visit in Armenia differs. According to Richard Giragosian, of the Regional Studies Center in Yerevan, the visit has two goals. “The first goal is to ask for an economic assistance package given sanctions imposed on Russia and Armenia’s economy suffering as a result. The second goal is to create balance following Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visit to Baku on September 1”.
Giragosian also said Sargsyan is interested in buying weapons from Russia. “I am not sure how much but it looks like Russia won’t allocate weapons in large amounts to Armenia. And even if there is any kind of transaction between the two, it is going to be of symbolic nature, and mostly to serve as impetus for Azerbaijan to buy more weapons from Russia”.
Another source claims Sargsyan visit to Russia is in fact to discuss something much bigger. According to Lragir.am website financed by the Open Society Institute, Armenia can be in danger if Russia decides to retaliate and use Armenia in response to the NATO training center which opened in Georgia on August 26. The article also claims that while Turkey is carrying operations against Islamic State, Putin might be interested in creating another anti-terrorism coalition. It is likely he might want to see not only Armenia, but also Azerbaijan and Turkey in this coalition.
Both Alizade and Giragosian do not see Armenia joining Putin’s coalition given Armenia’s geographic distance to the on-going conflict zones.
In an interview with AzadliqRadiosu, another expert from Azerbaijan and the head of East-West Research Center Arastun Oruclu says Armenia is unhappy with Azerbaijan’s closeness to Russia. “Up until now, Russia’s only partner in the region was Armenia. Azerbaijan’s closeness with Russia can weaken the country’s position in Nagorno Karabakh conflict as well as its overall economic status. This visit to Russia is simply Sargsyan’s way of reassuring himself of the relationship between the two countries”.
According to official sources, the two presidents also discussed the possible meeting of all three presidents during approaching United Nations General Assembly in New York.