Armenia Exits the Collective Security Treaty Organization Amid Growing Tensions

Asatur Yesayants /
Asatur Yesayants /

On Wednesday, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced his country’s intention to withdraw from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military alliance dominated by Russia. This decision marks a significant shift in Armenia’s foreign policy, reflecting growing tensions between Armenia and Russia.

Pashinyan declared during a parliamentary session, “We will leave. We will decide when to leave. We won’t come back, there is no other way.” This statement was later clarified by Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, who noted that the full withdrawal had not yet been finalized, stating, “Those who assert that the prime minister said that Armenia is withdrawing from the CSTO are mistaken.”

The move comes amid strained relations following Azerbaijan’s recent military actions in the Karabakh region, which ended three decades of ethnic Armenian control. Armenia has criticized Russian peacekeepers deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh after the 2020 hostilities for not preventing Azerbaijan’s advances. Pashinyan expressed his dissatisfaction with the CSTO, accusing some member states of failing to support Armenia and even alleging collusion with Azerbaijan.

Russia, balancing its relationships with both Armenia and Azerbaijan, has been cautious in its response, focusing on its ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Pashinyan’s government has also been moving towards strengthening ties with the West, further complicating its relationship with Moscow.

Domestically, Pashinyan faces opposition, with large-scale protests erupting over his decision to cede control of four border villages to Azerbaijan. The protests turned violent, with clashes between demonstrators and police outside the parliament building, resulting in injuries to around 100 people, including 17 police officers and 10 journalists. The country’s Union of Journalists has called for accountability over the police’s actions during these protests.

This period of political upheaval in Armenia underscores the complex dynamics at play both domestically and in its international alliances as the country navigates its path forward amidst regional tensions and global shifts.