Military Lessons of Karabakh War 2020

So it emerges that I was justified in posting this graph so often. At the end of the day, the blunt and banal facts of the matter were as follows:

  • In 1992-94, Azerbaijan was a disorganized, demoralized, and dysfunctional state with a <50% advantage in comprehensive military power (CMP) over Armenia.
  • In 2020, Azerbaijan was a well-organized dictatorship whose own citizens were demanding to “end the lockdowns, start the war” with a 3x advantage in CMP over Armenia.

Considering their comparable levels of human capital – average IQ around 90, though perhaps marginally higher for Armenians – our odds should have favored Azerbaijan (even if the terrain threatened to make their campaign a slow and costly one).

This is also why I expressed skepticism about Armenia’s chances from the get go, to the consternation of some of Armenia’s more dedicated champions on my blog. Which is not to say that the Armenians didn’t have any chance – had they prepared better; had they been better at countering Azeri drones (knocking out objects with the flight profiles of WW1 biplanes isn’t an insurmountable task), or at least mitigating their effectiveness (e.g. by avoiding dense troop concentrations and concealing armor with thermal blankets); had they resisted until the onset of winter, when the snows would have made the mountain passes much less traversable – they may have been able to eke out a stalemate and force the Azeris to the negotiating tables under much more favorable conditions. But that was not to be, due to a combination of both Armenian fecklessness and surprisingly high Azeri military competence.

I have already written at length about how the color revolution that brought Nikol Pashinyan to power was accompanied by an Armenian-initiated cooling of relations (ironically mirroring Azerbaijan’s Abulfaz Elchibey during their first war), such as arresting pro-Russian politicians, repeatedly slighting Russia, and refusing to integrate its air defense systems with Russia’s – something that would have come very much in handy during this war! (As it was, its air defense assets remained minimally interlinked, with the result that Azerbaijan’s not all that sophisticated Harops and Bayraktars were able to pluck them out at leisure).

However, what was news to me is the sheer extent to which Pashinyan’s Westernizing purges crippled Armenian military capability, not just through the direct loss of human capital but also thank to the severing of intelligence ties with Russia. These are all points made by Evgeny Krutikov, writing for the Russian online newspaper Vzglyad, and summarized in English by John Helmer:

“Over the past year, the Armenian military lost contact with Moscow, and all contacts in the intelligence sphere between the two countries were curtailed – and this was done at the initiative of the political leadership of Armenia. During the period of Nikol Pashinyan’s premiership, three intelligence chiefs were replaced, and one of them had no competence and was a purely political appointee from the West. All this was accompanied by internal anti-Russian rhetoric, multiplied by national arrogance… Moreover, over the last six months, in the General Staff of Armenia has been mass dismissal of officers who were trained in Moscow. The ostensible reason for this was the wedding of the Chief of the General Staff’s daughter, who allegedly ‘did not follow the rules of conduct in the coronavirus pandemic.’”

Pashinyan’s rationale for the dismissal of General Artak Davtyan was announced on June 8. At the same time he also sacked the chiefs of the police and national security administration.  That, according to the Russian assessment, left Pashinyan in charge of a command-and-control system which was hollow. The Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev saw the opportunity to strike. “It seems that the Armenian General Staff either did not have a mobilisation plan at all, or it suffers from a number of strange features. For the defence of the ‘mountain fortress’, forty to sixty thousand people are really enough, but this is clearly not enough for the organisation of mobile defence. Armenians behave passively, simply fending off threats as they emerge.”

Crimping your military capacity through political purges and antagonizing your chief (and only) geopolitical patron while adamantly refusing to compromise with a much more powerful neighbor rapidly gearing up for war were certainly some very Big Brain 4D chess moves.

Conversely, even as the Armenian elites were going about “building democracy” and “fighting corruption” in the aftermath of their color revolution, and their diasporoids were putting pronouns and #BLM in their Twitter bios, the the Azeri high command had seriously prepared for a revanchist war to retake Karabakh, not just splashing out on modern equipment but probing for weaknesses in prior clashes, studying the latest doctrines, and developing innovative new tactics.

For instance, as was widely observed on combat footage forums, as well as the comments here (esp. Dmitry), that the Azeris utilized their otherwise useless stocks of Soviet An-2 biplanes as decoys to get Armenian air defense to reveal their positions by shooting them down – only for them to be immediately whacked by loitering munitions, even as Armenian patriots posted triumphant Tweets about how they had just shot down yet another “Azeri drone.”

Here’s one good description of how that worked:

Once the Azeris had broken through the Armenian defensive line in the south, they did not subsequently throw masses of armor against the next obvious objective: The very heavily defended Lachin corridor connecting Armenia to mountainous Artsakh. They might have succeeded, but only at a high cost, as Armenian anti-tank weapons would have chewed up their armor from both sides.

Instead, their pivoted up north, into the Ardennes Artsakh mountains.

The Armenians were presumably not expecting that, and may not have even taken it very seriously, since the “fortress town” of Shusha is located at a high altitude, and covered by a cliff wall on its southern and south-eastern flank.

At this point, the Azeris revealed the last ace up their sleeves: The mountaineering special units they had apparently been training up just for such an operation*.

The above video is pro-Azeri propaganda, up to the point of calling Armenians “subhumans” at one point (I guess YouTube hasn’t yet gotten round to policing Azeri hate speech).

Nonetheless, their version of events is not implausible. The reason that Shusha fell so quickly is that Azeri spetsnats infiltrated it through by scaling the cliffs, instead of trying to pass through the heavily defended roadways. They then seized two critical choke points and help them long enough to enable Azeri regular forces to swipe in and clear up.

At that point, the Armenian military situation became untenable. The winter snows were still weeks away, Stepanakert was cut off from the Armenian mainland, and the Azeris had the high ground, with the capacity to accurately target artillery fire on any part of the Artsakh capital. The complete collapse of the rest of Karabakh was days away. At that point, Pashinyan made one of the rare good decisions of his Presidency – to capitulate and allow Russia to salvage what was still salvageable, autistic screeching from diasporoid nationalists regardless.

Regardless of one’s partisan sympathies in this conflict, it is impossible not to look at the performance of Ilham Aliyev as dictator, his generals, and the Azeri military with a due level of respect, especially when set against that of Pashinyan and his clowns.

Summarizing the “lessons” of this conflict:

(1) God is on the side of the big battalions. To get those big battalions, you need a big GDP, high human capital/average IQ, and to effectively convert it into military power.

All else equal, the side with more GDP, more CMP, more manpower, more human capital, more materiel will likely win.

Simple, obvious rule that has usually worked, works now, and will continue to work long into the future. But normies seem to find this baffling, for some reason.

(2) If you don’t have the bigger battalions, then the least you could do is to be smarter at diplomacy. But the Azeris completely owned the Armenians in this department too:

Finally, Azerbaijan is getting the better reception internally. To be sure, world public opinion is firmly on Armenia’s side – but how many divisions does world public opinion have? Nations as diverse and geopolitically opposed as the US, France, Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia have expressed varying degrees of implicit support for Armenia. But they are not getting involved, while Israel has been sending Azerbaijan more drones, and Turkey has not just explicitly endorsed Azerbaijan’s maximalist war aims but does everything for it short of direct military interference. The Armenian Lobby might be powerful, but the Israel Lobby it is not.

And that’s despite the Armenians having what is probably the world’s second most influential ethnic lobby!

(3) As observed earlier, modern high-intensity wars between peers – as opposed to more anodyne peacekeeping or anti-insurgency campaigns – still eat up manpower and materiel at essentially World War II level rates. Remarkably little has changed in that respect!

Midway through the conflict, Putin said that 5,000 Armenians and Azeris had died, with more than 2,000 on each side. In per capita terms over time, that’s approximately equivalent to German losses during WW2 for Armenians and British losses during WW1 for Azeris, respectively. Assuming that these rates remained more or less constant, I would estimate that the final death toll over a month and a half is 10,000 soldiers (with a higher share wounded due to medical advances). I also expect that it is about evenly split between Armenians and Azeris**.

(4) Doubtless the Azeri advance would have been much slower and costlier in the absence of their drone fleet. Is it fair to say that cheap Israeli and Turkish drones defeat expensive Russian anti-air systems?

Call it Russian cope if you will, but it’s not that obvious:

  • The Armenians were primarily relying on rather antiquated systems such as Osas, while using S-400’s against drones is like swatting a fly with a bullet. The most obvious counter against them, Pantsirs, were not in service in Armenia.
  • Armenia’s 4 Su-30SM’s could have made short work of many drones had they been used in anger. For whatever reason, they were not used. (Perhaps due to escalation risks).
  • There are multiplier effects to “layering” different types of air defense units and “integrating” them all with each other and to multiple sensors. It appears that the Armenians didn’t do this seriously.

Nonetheless, at the end of the day, you fight with the equipment and capabilities you have, so in many situations cheap drones will be an excellent investment that can make life hell as for as the armor and logistics of “20th century” militaries are concerned.

That said, militaries that adjust too much towards cheap, simple drones based on lessons from this conflict may likewise find themselves regretting their choices if/when they come up against a first-tier military.

(5) Nationalistic states under competent central authorities committed to their goals beat out revolutionary states that get drunk on their own ideological Kool-Aid. In fact, unlike commies or Islamists, “democratists” aren’t even going to set up blocking detachments when things go south.

Their appeals to “world public opinion” might get more sympathy on /r/worldnews and Blue Check Twitter – but as I asked at the beginning, how many divisions does world public opinion have?

Although my own partisan sympathies were exclusively pro-Armenian, I will admit to a certain intellectual satisfaction that my broad model of how reality works was vindicated.


But as also noted before, the Armenians are not just on the defense, but fighting in mountainous positions that limits the possibilities of armor and forces the Azeris into infantry-heavy attacks. The Azeris are also less competent soldiers than the Armenians and they don’t have the equivalent of elite German alpine divisions (commenter Annatar notes the history of the German 5th Mountain division, which scaled a 2,100 m snowy pass and broke the Greek defence lines in 3 day).

** For comparison, the Armenians lost about as many soldiers during this war as they did during two years in 1992-94, when they lost 6,000. The Azeris did much better relatively speaking, back then they lost 25,000-30,000. This time, they matched Armenian losses but spread out over a 3.5x larger population base.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

    Commenting rules. Please note that anonymous comments are not allowed.

  2. 4Dchessmaster says

    Honestly, this is so embarrassing. Knowing that diaspora nationalists are screeching like crazy while not understanding how we lost is just devastating. I always had that worry in the back of my mind that Azeris would win a future war, but I never imagined that the defeat would be this brutal. As far as Karena Avedissian goes, before my account on Twitter was suspended in early October, she blocked me when I asked her how well Pashinyan had prepared for the war. To be fair to her though, she has criticized the Russophobia of the Western press.

  3. I agree about the part regarding drones. There is nothing magical about them making them hard to shoot down. These type of drones excel in endurance but they are slow.

    What stands out to me with high endurance combat drones is that they allow you to win a war versus a weaker opponent without risking high casualties or demoralization. It would’ve been the perfect tool in the Chechen wars.

  4. Commentator Mike says

    I was wrong too – I expected more from the Armenians. I guess they got complacent in their feeling of superiority to the Azeris. But times change and you can’t always go by past experience as even the Israelis found out the last time they went into Lebanon. But next time? Many need to watch this and learn.

  5. Commentator Mike says

    And for the sake of some fake imported Western style “democracy” those lunatics are prepared to risk genocide. Let’s see where their fanatical Russophobia and anti-Putinism takes them next. Will they ever learn? Maybe they want to join NATO and the EU.

  6. In the West, the common person believes that Stalin was the only guy to ever commit a military purge, but there have been plenty of political purges in the US military and presumably other militaries in the West. I think having a sex/race/gay-integrated military (tranny in some places) helps facilitate purges. (Don’t bet on the military being right-leaning!) Probably also true in the corporate world and in universities.

  7. “In 2000, Azerbaijan was a well-organized dictatorship whose own citizens were demanding to “end the lockdowns, start the war” with a 3x advantage in CMP over Armenia.”

    2020, no?

    Anyway, excellent analysis, Anatoly! As a side note, just how much more do you think that a US President Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden (had either one of them been elected in Donald Trump’s place in 2016) would have done for the Armenians in this conflict?

  8. Been reading up on gays in Armenia and Azerbaijan.

    I suspected that Armenia would be obviously gayer, but neither country seems very gay, by Western standards. It just appears as though a lot of NGOs, foreign governments, and gay expats, are trying to foment gayness in both countries. But, for instance, gays are not allowed to serve openly in the Armenian military.

  9. Commentator Mike says

    All else equal, the side with more GDP, more CMP, more manpower, more human capital, more materiel will likely win.

    Saudi Arabia has all those advantages over Yemen and still can’t win.

  10. There was some pew survey where 97% of Armenians opposed ‘gay marriage’ (codename AIDSMARRIAGE) that AK posted a couple of years ago, higher than any other Christian country polled.

    Saudi Arabia has all those advantages over Yemen and still can’t win.

    That’s an asymmetrical guerilla conflict with almost no direct clashes of opposing uniformed armies. Actually ‘conventional’ wars have been a very rare thing for quite a while, other than the brief spat where Saakashvili ate his tie, I think the last open conflict between official state armies of any significance was the Iran-Iraq War. Maybe Congo?

  11. Athletic and Whitesplosive says

    I sympathize with Armenia, but that their Sorosoid government was basically completely discredited is almost certainly worth the casualties suffered in the long run of the Armenian nation (not to mention the benefit of other nationalists being able to point out the end state of retarded progressive “leadership”). Left to their own devices in a hypothetical without the Azari military threat, it was a matter of time until the mass import of Africans into Armenia began, this war was at once a crushing military defeat of Armenia as well as a big setback to the ethnic annihilation of Armenia.

  12. I broadly agree with all your points, in particular that as ever in modern warfare having more combat power via more personnel numbers, more equipment, technological advantages like drones and greater intelligence gathering capability decides the outcomes of wars, this has been true since WW1 at least.

    The only way for the Armenians to offset their quantitative disdavtanges in men and equipment and perhaps qualitative issues relating to air power would have been to have their soldiers be more effective at combat than their Azeri counterparts, that is have greater infantry fighting power but there is scant evidence Armenians have higher IQ than Azeris or their soldiers fight more effectively due to greater cohesion or other factors, as such the outcome of this war was 2 sides matched evenly in human capital with one side having more men and equipment, the outcome was always going to be an Azeri victory.

    One thing I would note is that Armenia is a democracy and Azerbaijan is not so the thesis that democracies fight better which I never believed in has been completely disproven.

  13. it was a matter of time until the mass import of Africans into Armenia began

    Doubt, Armenia isn’t exactly running full-steam on the gibs-train now or anytime soon.

  14. Good post but it leaves out the substantial assistance provided by Turkey to Azerbaijan, including Turkish elite mountaineering divisions.

    Without the assistance from Turkey, including aerial, elite troops and commanders, I doubt they would have been as effective.

    The Syrian mercenaries also played a useful part for the Azeris as cannon fodder.

    The narrative regarding Soros isn’t 100% correct. I’m no fan of Pashinyan, however it was Aliyev who met Soros and not Pashinyan. The photo being circulated by Russians was photoshopped by Azeris.

    Pashinyan and some diaspora Armenians are of course to blame. Especially ANCA, who downplayed Russian alliance with Armenia and tried to promote an American alliance.

    However, this does not represent the views of the majority ofArmenians who are demonstrably pro-Russian.

    Pashinyan must now pay the price for misleading the Armenian public and not negotiating a more amicable settlement to Armenians when he knew the facts on the ground.

    The problem for Russia though is that the Pro-Russian opposition want to reneg on the deal and Lavrov criticised them in his press conference yesterday. Therefore, the Russians would prefer Pashinyan remain for now.

  15. That’s a good point about using cheap drones to reveal and exhaust enemy air defenses, especially if they employ million dollar missiles to down $500 drones. Armies need lots of SPAAGs!

    Much of what happened I predicted in a 2017 article “The Tank is Dead”.

  16. Reached the comment limit per hour on the other thread, but some might be interested in the extremely powerful takes on this, uh, ‘awareness group’ some completely new commenter (how curious) posted in a link.

    Take this for example, railing against the peace, giving a list of reasons why it’s awful, and then ending with the disclaimer: ” We need to get out of this deal somehow . Please don’t miss read between the lines , finding a way out of the agreement doesnt mean replacing Pashinyan.”


    I notice Azerbaijan is already claiming the monastery as a relic of ‘the Caucasian Albanian Civilisation’, so hopefully they at least won’t blow it up.


    He means ‘Dadivank’, btw.

    ‘We wuz Paleolithic Azerbaijanis and sheeeit’

  18. Turkish drones could literally do nothing of note against S1 in Syria and Libya, with Syrian ones being used without cover and Libyan being of old generation but at least with trained crews. There is no need for any cope, drones are still but fodder for any competent AA.

    Fucking ara did not even think to conceal their AA until the latter phases of this farce. I guess old soviet officers are not numerous enough anymore to force any semblance of military order. Then again, azer was not much better.

  19. anonymous599 says

    The involment of Turkish military was pretty crucial during the campaign as well. Head of the Turkish land forces were magically disappeared for couple of months and after the end of the conflict, he reappeared at Azerbeijan (Look at the difference between the beginning of the war and the rest.). It is more or less clear that there was a lot boot on the ground in terms of planning and executing the operation (I wouldn’t even suprise to see some action by special forces but it’s just a speculation. I mean technically you can’t really distinguish them unless they have some sort of identification.). Armenians should have focused the right propaganda rather than screaming about Syrians (You shouldn’t repeat what IDF says…) which wouldn’t make any sort of difference in this war even they were conscripted (Involvement of Turkish F-16’s would be better story.). I’m not going into the details of training/intelligence etc. provided by Turkey but Azeris also received NATO training via Turkey and they’re not Arabs so it might help them to get an edge over Armenians. I wouldn’t even suprise to see that drones were operated by Turkish operators rather than Azeris (Pro-Erdogan twitter account shared dozens of drones videos before Azeris.). During the first war, Turkey didn’t involve and it pretty much sealed the faith of Azeris and the involvement sealed the Armenian’s faith this time. Also, I don’t know much about Israeli influence on the Azeri military so I can’t comment on their influence.
    Armenian lobbies worked pretty well in Canada by banning the export of some crucial equipment for drones (Erdogan’s son in law said they have already managed to produce a local version but I am not sure. Probably they have already stored and sanctions like this can be bypassed easily. ). France made couple of noises (largely irrelevant but it’s still something.). Otherwise, that’s the limit of their influence tbh.
    Drones did pretty good job, I haven’t seen any sort of Russian equipment countering them across Syria/Libya/NK. I have seen the destruction of Russian systems rather than the opposite of it. Since full blown warfare between super powers are out of question (even for mid size powers), drones will be the future for third world countries. Finally, if somehow we can resurrection of war in Ukraine, we would see a lot Turkish drones there as well, maybe we can see what is the Russian answer to drones, right now I can’t see an ultimate answer.

  20. Even Turks made good soldiers in WWI when the Germans oversaw them, same with the Azeris being assisted by Turkey here.

    Drones have been devastating to the PKK too, unless you have reasonable air defense systems they are lethal, conventional armies have managed to level the playing field with guerilla forces by deploying drones.

  21. haven’t seen any sort of Russian equipment countering them across Syria/Libya/NK
    Lol, right, here is usual drone-worshipping cope from the uninformed.

    S1 shoots all manner of shit down near Khmeimim so much it is routine now, and nothing gets through. They stopped even informing about these nothing-burgers after a while. Turk-controlled offensive in Idleb was stopped the moment S1 appeared, same as in Libya a year later. Then Krasukha appeared and drone use in Libya was done as a concept, which must have hurt especially bad since inferior turk analog was destroyed to drive the point home.
    Turk lost up to a half of its TB-2 fleet from 2018 to today between both theaters.

    There were no russian equipment in NK, so your cheap attempt at conflating the three fails as well. What ara had are standalone soviet complexes from 70s and one defunct S-300 radar which served as a decoy.

  22. The reason that Shusha fell so quickly is that Azeri spetsnats infiltrated it through by scaling the cliffs

    If that’s true then the complacency on the Armenian side was simply jaw dropping as, according to this, that’s how they captured Shusha/i in the first war.

    The Armenians weren’t as soft. Under artillery cover, they launched a surprise attack by climbing a 90 degree slope to storm Shushi in 1992 by foot. It was the same slope from which Armenian girls jumped to their deaths to avoid being raped by Azeris. With that kind of motivation, the Armenians had no qualms about turning Shushi into a mini Sarajevo.

    The entire article is worth a re-read in the aftermath of this, in particular

    “So what if they spend more money on their military than we do, it doesn’t mean anything. Let them spend ten times more, it won’t matter. The Turks don’t have a mind for machinery. They don’t know how to operate it and when they break it, they don’t know how to fix it. They’re horrible mechanics and engineers. Right now, all of their machinery is rusting out,” he said coolly.

    “So you call Azeris Turks?” I asked.

    He smiled. “No, not Turks. Defective Turks.”

    At least the level of civilian atrocities is, and will be, less this time around.

    I guess these characters were not informed they were under the infallible protection of muh turk drones, eh.
    Come to think about it, maybe these are Idleb dregs Erdogan desperately tries to get rid of, time and time again.

  24. 4Dchessmaster says

    To my surprise, I actually saw a handful of Azerbaijani Twitter users criticizing him for denying its Armenian origins and bringing up the long debunked Caucasian Albanians stuff.

  25. Erdo purged a lot of pro-Western guys during his reign
    Now he’s rebuilding the Ottoman Empire

  26. I haven’t seen any sort of Russian equipment countering them across Syria/Libya/NK

    Your ignorance doesn’t change reality
    The Russian AA (specifically Pantsir) systems have shot down 100s of drones attacking their bases in Syria

  27. The Spirit of Enoch Powell says

    I think the last open conflict between official state armies of any significance was the Iran-Iraq War. Maybe Congo?

    2003 Iraq War probably, or if not that then the 1991 Gulf War.

  28. Why can’t 23mm self-propelled AA shoot down drones?

  29. Kent Nationalist says
  30. (1) God is on the side of the big battalions. To get those big battalions, you need a big GDP, high human capital/average IQ, and to effectively convert it into military power.

    All else equal, the side with more GDP, more CMP, more manpower, more human capital, more materiel will likely win.

    Simple, obvious rule that has usually worked, works now, and will continue to work long into the future. But normies seem to find this baffling, for some reason.

  31. The most important take from this conflict is that you should choose and treat your allies wisely and that internal politics have international implications.

  32. Who says it can`t?

  33. Any AA system can shoot down azeri drones if it can acquire them, but TB 2 has a small radar profile so armenian AA didn’t even noticed them. Contrary what people say around here TB 2 have destroyed modern russian AA like Pantsir in Syria and especially in Libya where TB 2 were used in masse in Idlib this March against the russian-supported Syrian Army with devastating effect while I’ve seen no evidence that russians have capabilities to defeat TB 2.
    This fact makes it likely that Armenia will seek to buy radars and AA systems from western countries rather than Russia.
    Overall this defeat opens the doors to the normalization in long term of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan which makes an alliance with Russia less important to Armenia. A pipeline route from the Caspian to the Med through Armenia would be a shorter competitor to the current roundabout route through Georgia and a temptation for any armenian leadership.
    Georgia and Ukraine paid a price for choosing the West over Russia, but that price didn’t stop them from continuing on a pro-western path. I expect the same thing will happen in Armenia, especially if Pashinyan survives the current crisis.

  34. Both US and USSR militaries have reached their goals in Afghanistan, it was the political part that got botched. USSR had to deal with so much more than some illiterates with hundred year old rifles as well, and the client regime held even after USSR itself ceased to exist. If it got support from Yeltsin, maybe it would be with us still.
    What there is now will be done in in a matter of two weeks once US actually leaves in full.

  35. Lol, nickname change will not make your obvious repeating agitprop drivel any better. Nobody gives a damn about what you “saw” in your metodichka when S1 sells fine, and PAC-3/4 can`t hande a subsonic plumbing tube.

    To expand a bit on damaged ones(most of them not even destroyed), all of that was done with massed missile attacks after the complex spent its AA missiles and, in direct violation of the principles of use russians taught them, syrians had no covering complex. Same thing happened in Libya later, only this time they were hit either on the truck or in the hangar, obviously turned off. When trained crews from UAE(or russian mercenaries, opinions differ) arrived, losses ended immediately.

    Now on to the muh western radars drivel: why in hell would Rosoboronexport even consider an insolvent Soros-run pseudostate when there are rich clients in the Gulf? Defense of ara is a responsibility of ara.

    Bleating about muh pipelines is funnier still if you consider, who gets to control the logistics through the region now with full peacekeeping mandate. He resides in Kremlin, lol.

  36. There’s been several dozens TB2’s shot down.

  37. Armenia has lots of 23mm self-propelled AA and MANPADs like SA-7s right?

  38. TheTotallyAnonymous says

    This is exactly like Balkan Albanians.

    They literally claim all the Serb churches on Kosovo and Metohija as “ancient Pelasgian-Dardanian” heritage or whatever (they made an infamous documentary about it earlier this year). The intent and goal is clear. They’re trying to appropriate, desecrate and destroy your heritage because that’s par for the course when real nations have the misfortune of being arbitrarily subjected to the will of fake nations.

    ‘We wuz Paleolithic Azerbaijanis and sheeeit’

    Similar thing with Balkan Albanians. “Ancient Illyrians!!!” …

    As an interesting side note, I honestly think that Azeris going on about “Caucasian Albanians” has confused a lot of people in the Balkans because many believe that Balkan Albanians came from the Caucuses, when in fact they’re actually native to modern day Thrace in Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey, not present-day Albania.

  39. Lol, nickname change will not make your obvious repeating agitprop drivel any better.

    I’ve been using this nick for at least a year.

    Bleating about muh pipelines is funnier still if you consider, who gets to control the logistics through the region now with full peacekeeping mandate.

    True, but that mandate is for 5 years and Azerbaijan has no reason to prolong it.

  40. Where?

  41. Libya and Syria. There’s a lot of pictures of destroyed TB2’s.

  42. Say Russia explicitly takes the side of Armenia in the NK conflict, like how Australia explicitly took East Timor’s side in 1999, what would really happen? Basically Russia takes Armenia’s side and defends the right of NK to self determination, like what Australia did with East Timor and the West did with Kosovo. Turkey will not be willing to go to war with a nuclear-armed state over a speck of territory (just like Indonesia was not willing to go to war with Australia over East Timor, despite its military in 1999 being somewhat of a match for Australia on paper), it will alienate Aliyev, and his business interests in Russia, but then there are other oligarchs willing to take his place, if Aliyev gets to close to Turkey, Russia can always get directly involved and get rid of him? Plus considering how bad Turkey’s economy is, it really cannot afford to get into a military conflict with Russia even if Russia took a pro-Armenia stance and demanded that Azerbaijan allow NK to determine its future sovereignty.

  43. Diaspora sorosite Armenians are blaming Russia for not fighting the war they were unable and unwilling to fight.


  44. I doubt that the Tartars and Muslims in Russia are willing to revolt for Azerbaijan. Plus if Russia fully backs Armenia, that will give them a lot of leverage to dictate the state of affairs in Yerevan going forward.

  45. Azer was commanded to sign that document, and will be commanded to do so again. The speed with which the military moved confirms further that all of it was preplanned.
    And it`s not like Aliyev is not getting his in this: he is a hero to his people who got the lost land back, beat the ara and kept relationship with russians. If anything, it is Erdo he should be wary of.

  46. MANPADs were used in this conflict for sure. Hind was shot down by one.

    With artillery, you are constrained by your ability to locate the target first, shooting down a slow drone that can`t maneuver is much easier.

  47. anonymous599 says

    100s of Turkish armed drones?? I mean if you mean bunch of toys can be bought from amazon, yeah they did. Otherwise, there wasn’t any clash involving Turkish drones. Contrary to what you said, I have witness destruction of Russian equipment especially in Libya. Why do you think Hafter lost all the land? You think it’s magic or clear superiority of drones on the battlefield?

  48. (1) God is on the side of the big battalions. To get those big battalions, you need a big GDP, high human capital/average IQ, and to effectively convert it into military power.

    All else equal, the side with more GDP, more CMP, more manpower, more human capital, more materiel will likely win.

    This is a strange comment.

    Obviously, if the factor of quality is equal, the factor of quantity will be determinative. That is too banal an observation to need making.

    Some people have claimed that quantity trumps quality, because quality is fuzzy and hard to quantify, and these people like to restrict their thinking to only what can be quantified. That is generally what the phrase God is on the size of the big battalions has generally meant.

    That quality trumps quantity, and God is not on the side of the big battalions, is too easily documented from history to be worth the doing. There are simply too many examples, and anyone who, as an educated adult acquainted with the historical record, still thinks quantity trumps quality is unlikely to be persuaded by something as insignificant as mere evidence.

  49. I doubt ethnic Russians (85% of the population) are ready to see their sons dying to save Armenians again (and again and again…)

    You know the basic been there, done that stuff…

  50. anonymous599 says

    S1 shots down toys, not armed drones. I mean unless you live in cave or something like that, you can simply go to youtube and look at videos of Tb2 in Libya and you can see what happened in the region.

    Turkish offensive in Idlib didn’t stop for that reason. Turkey can’t simply go all in against Russia. I mean you have to stupid to do it against nuclear power. Libya/NK are all part of Syria problem where Turkey wishes to get some leverage. Also, If you make some claims about loses of Turkey, post some link, right?
    Lmao if you think Turkish drones are inferior. I mean Bayraktar have already sold to multiple nations and pretty much happy with situation. People are impressed whether you like it or not. Even Serbia wants to buy, so you can continue to cope.

  51. I know. But fighting a guerrilla in some hell hole impacts economy and resources allocation in the metropolitan areas. A well motivated guerrilla is difficult and costly to put down. The only manner to succeed is to use ruthless force and/or outright genocide. Developed countries have become too conscious of economic and humanitarian issues to apply such politics.

  52. The other lesson of this conflict is that Turks wil keep being increasingly assertive. Someone will have to punch them in the groin and leave them with a bloody nose. I prefer leaving this to Iranians than having Russian soldiers dying. Let’s see how Persians square it out with Turks. An epic and protracted battle between Aryan and Turanic powers, Shahnameh-style.

    During that time, Russians would take care of their country, where 65% of the young families live near poverty line and cannot afford a second child.

  53. What part of the drone is Turkish anyway? It uses imported engine, camera and avionics.

  54. More of a non-rhetorical question/thought than comment:

    With Armenia essentially having lost NK+, does Russia have more influence or less influence over Armenia? Or to put it another way, while Pashinyan may be a sacrificial pawn to this larger shift – he can be blamed for losing NK+ and Armenia’s humiliation – but what’s left to prevent the Armenia deep state – the basic network of power brokers behind the scenes – from accelerating the move away from Russia?

  55. That, according to the Russian assessment, left Pashinyan in charge of a command-and-control system which was hollow.

    “Re-staffed” military systems of countries and “downsized” IT systems of companies have a lot in common.

    Maybe there are even glossy magazines out there praising the former?

    Yes, I’m bitter.

  56. I think loss of South Caucasus influence for Russia is just a question of time. This drift actually started with Georgians opting out of Russian sphere of influence. Turks are arguably more influential in Georgia than Russians are nowadays. Azerbaijan is also lost to Russia. Them shooting down a Russian helicopter with full impunity is a patent proof that Russian might is no longer taken seriously. Armenia also will drift away. Pashinian did the dirty work of cutting Nagorno Karabakh loose. Without Armenia being entangled there and with the Armenian diaspora increased influence resulting in a stronger anti-Russian agitation, it is probably a near certain outcome. And it is not a bad thing, Russians have more important matters to attend to: demographics, economy, overall wellbeing of the Russian people. Geopolitics should come second, first you build your basics and get strong, and only after you start projecting power abroad. Chinese style.

  57. Georgia and Ukraine paid a price for choosing the West over Russia, but that price didn’t stop them from continuing on a pro-western path. I expect the same thing will happen in Armenia, especially if Pashinyan survives the current crisis.

  58. prime noticer says

    i don’t think that’s a new thing, sending out low value air targets to get the enemy to reveal their AA positions. but i’ve never seen anybody use remote control props for that. kudos.

    US is working on some really good decoy drones that can fly with fighters and even be decoys for air to air attacks. not sure how long to field these though. would seem to be easy, but some US defense programs take forever to get up and running.

    US Air Force 5GAT

  59. “Caucasian Albanian” survives: the Udi. Clustered around the north and northeast of Azerbaijan, with fellow Lezgic peoples. Not west, where they’re disputing N’Karabakh.
    I think the Azeri people are actually Iranian, just switched over to the Turkish language. There’s an Old Azeri language that’s Iranian, unlike Udi this one doesn’t survive.

  60. The PRC has turned all their old J-7 and J-8 jets into remote controlled decoys. Its part of their initial wave against Guam if they should ever take Taiwan. Occupy the Americans with jet decoys.

    Armenia should have done what Argentina did during the Falklands war. Get a shitload of pilots to fly civilian planes with no transponders in waves towards the NK AO with the Su-30 hiding amongst them. Have the civilian planes pull away last minute while the Su-30 break out, commence their attack and high tail it back. I honestly think Armenia refused to deploy them (offensively) out of fear of losing them. Which is like keeping a high end sports car in your garage doing nothing, seen by no one.

  61. Their very existence is now on the line. The diaspora is assimilating, if slowly, and the Turks want to finish the job they started way back. Russia and Georgia are completely apathetic to this

  62. Dacian Julien Soros says

    Russians and many other can’t afford a second child, but others certainly can. George Floyd had 5, that’s how wealthy Americans are. Nigeriens have even more, and I can only hope my country would be as rich as Nigger.

  63. I agree. But Russians fancy themselves as “Europeans”.

  64. Blinky Bill says
  65. Brother you’re, you’re right, you’re soooooo right!


    Compare the comparable…

  66. 4Dchessmaster says

    I just have to disagree with the idea that diaspora Armenians are increasing their influence in the homeland. Yerevanians and Artsakhis are cursing the diaspora(particularly the LA ones) for having an uncompromising attitude towards the land for peace idea. I have seen a flood of Twitter accounts from Armenia blaming the diaspora for everything that went wrong LMAO.

  67. The great awakening.

  68. Rattus Norwegius says

    Tat, a Iranic language present in Azerbaijan, Iran and elsewhere in the Caucasus, is though to be descended from old Azeri. Admittedly there are few speakers of Tat today. Most descendants of Old Azeri speaking peoples have opted for Turkic Azeri, a change in linguistic preference that took hundreds of years to materialise.

  69. Yes, Azeris are largely an Iranic people who adopted a Turkic language while retaining Shiite Islam and even pre-Islamic Persian customs such as the old New Year. They aren’t simply Turks who happen to be Shiites. I wonder if the Azeris have preserved more pre-Turkic customs than have the Anatolians in Turkey.

  70. That was shooting fish in a barrel though.

  71. Military lessons well summarised. And the main political lesson would be that when two ethnie clash for one and the same geography, the only long-term and stable solution is partition of the land followed by an orderly population exchange. Like Turkey and Greece did after 1923, also agreed by, and run through between, Greece and Bulgaria.
    When there is no partition of a certain geography then one or the other population group loses the entire land. Hungary insisted on having all of Transylvania, in the end, they lost all of it. Serbia insisted on the ‘serbness’ of entire Kosovo, instead they lost all of it. They could have retained, at the very least, Mitrovica and surroundings. Hungary, likewise could have retained the northern third if it acted smart and had arranged a mutual population exchange with Romania. As another example, the Whites of South Africa wanted to rule the whole of that vast country, now they are a hopeless and dwindling minority in a soon-to-be-failed-state run by several dysfunctional Bantu clans.
    The same stupidity had also beset the then Armenian leadership in 1915 when they aligned with imperial Russia in order to carve out an independent Armenia in a wide geography where they at most constituted a quarter of the total population (while Kurds were clearly the largest group if not the outright majority). In the end, Armenians lost both the land and the people.
    As a successful example, Croatia, on the other hand, played her hands quite well during the partition of Yugoslavia, exactly because they did not try to swallow Bosnia, though some dreamers among them wanted to. Kazakhstan is also doing quite well retaining Russian-majority areas, not because they fought 0ver that geography and won, but because they really never separated from Russia at all, and are abiding their time counting on the slightly higher Kazakh birth rate, while in the meantime showing humility towards their huge neighbour and deferring to their strategic interests.
    Hubris and overconfidence towards a much larger enemy is a dangerous game as Germany experienced against Russia, or Greece and Armenia have against Turkey.
    Partition of the land, when in a favourable situation, appears as the smarter choice, in terms of sustainability and long-term endurance of the deal made.

  72. Dacian Julien Soros says
  73. Very interesting analysis Anatoly.

    Looking back at your CMP index now, what would you say the CMP would suggest as the possible outcome of a Sino-American conflict over North Korea? I ask because I’m sure the dynamics have changed since 2015 for China, North Korea, the USA and South Korea and I recall some things over the past few years that have left me wondering if the prospect for such a conflict isn’t now greater than generally thought (and ironically greater WITHOUT Trump in office):

    1. Some recent research and articles on the Thucydides Trap posits that the rising power of China and waning power of America might result in a conflict between the two rather than a peaceful passing on of the baton. Also, that the spark for such a conflict might well be small ally of one or the other such as North Korea.
    2. North Korea and China still have a formal mutual defence pact. I’ve seen some observers try to argue that Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear weapons somehow violates this pact and that China is thus under no obligation to defend North Korea because of that, but this sounds like wishful thinking to me on their part. Perhaps they are hoping that China would use this an excuse in case America decided to militarily go after the nukes and remove the Kims from power.

    3. Even if the Thucydides Trap is now exaggerated for the post 1918 world, there is also the Churchill Trap which some suggest is the greater danger ( however a prolonged Cold War 2.0: the Sino-American Edition shouldn’t logically mean that a military conflict between China and the USA is ruled out since there were at least a few confrontations between the USSR and USA in the old Cold War which could have led to outright conflict under differing circumstances.

    4. I remember reading the 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks and whilst it tried to emphasis that a nuclear war involving the US and North Korea could start off by misunderstandings and actions carried out based on limited knowledge it was clearly a product of TDS that was little more than a hit job on Trump. However it did inspire me to look into whether the anti-Trump types were being blind to their OWN side’s possibly calculated and dangerous gambles with regards to North Korea and of course sure enough in the past Biden had taken a very hard line towards North Korea and Obama had considered military strikes following a North Korean ballistic missile test.

    So in a scenario where perhaps Biden and his team come to:

    (i) up the war games in South Korea that so unnerve Pyongyang and the North Korean response is to ..

    (ii) do some various tests and these are misinterpreted as an actual or impending North Korean attack

    and Biden decides to okay “pre-emptive strikes” on North Korea, then this should in theory draw China in and result in a second Sino-American War, likely involving a line-up of China and North Korea on one side and the USA, South Korea and Japan (in a limited role of hosting bases and supplies) on the other (and perhaps also Taiwan if the conflict were to escalate).

    What would the CMP suggest as the outcome of such a conflict?

  74. The Eritrean-Ethiopian War of 1998-2000.

  75. You’ve got the the numbers wrong, it’s the J-6 (MiG-19) that’s been converted to a drone. The J-7 and the J-8 both remained in active production as late as the 2010s in heavily modernized forms. Neither of them is a throwaway fighter.

    Nor would there be any need or point in wasting them in an attack on Guam, which would be conducted by means of ballistic missiles and stand-off cruise missiles fired from H-6 bombers.

    The Armenians did not deploy their Su-30s offensively because Azerbaijan has its own air defense network, including S-300 batteries, and the Armenians had no reconnaissance assets with which to even begin to guess where these might be. Flying blindly into defended airspace (to do what, anyway – launch missiles at targets probably within the range of your own artillery?) is just asking to get shot down.

    Su-30’s role was a fleet in being to deter the use of Azerbaijan’s own manned aircraft, a task they succeeded in handily. Azerbaijan’s MiG-29’s and Su-25’s stayed grounded for the most part as well.

  76. AltanBakshi says

    I have underestimated the Azeris, they have showed real firmness and resolve in this conflict. I feared that after this conflict they would have ended as a semi-client state of Turkey, but if Russians will now administer and guard the route between remaining Artsakh and Armenia, and the route between Nakhichevan and Azerbaijan proper, then Turkish influence in the region didn’t grow at all, unlike the Russia’s! Now Russia has a legitimate reason to keep soldiers on the Azerbaijani soil, which is good on the longer run….

    At least my opinion about the Armenian diaspora in the West has dropped somewhat, they seem quite deluded. Still Church of Hasan and Arzu Khatun, who makes this up, ha ha, too funny! Khatun is a female Khan and Hasan is a cognate of Hussein. I know that they are Armenian churches, but like the Caucasian Albanians would have ever given such names to a church.

  77. I don’t know anything about Azeris, but given the very long successful history of the Armenian diaspora the average IQ of Armenia must be well above 90 and probably over 100.

  78. Will be interesting to see where the numbers eventually settle. Azerbaijan is still keeping a lid on its losses.

    Also Dmitry’s comment:

    Armenian ambassador now says that according to their government documents, there are 4750 Armenian soldiers killed so far.

    So finally today, we started to hear more realistic sounding casualty claims.

    In the last month, we saw videos where there are over 100 bodies in a single pile, and drone videos which often show over a hundred Armenian soldiers killed uploaded by Azerbaijan in a day.

    This was the most violent postsoviet conflict there has been since we have been using the internet.

    In terms of drone videos, we have seen more videos of drone attacks in a month, than I believe I have seen in all previous conflicts combined.

  79. nokangaroos says

    Not North Korea …
    – There is precious little to bomb.
    – Seoul is in easy artillery range.
    – Geostrategically nothing is to be gained.
    – A few interesting mineral deposits (magnesite, Ta, REE) but not worth the hassle.
    – No one wants a land war with China.

    As long as the First Island Chain holds, China is on the hind foot.
    -> Taiwan is the logical flashpoint. Maybe a color revolution?
    -> Which would put pressure on Guam, still not South Korea.

    China could, in theory, take South Korea, Guam, Taiwan and open the Straits,
    but little would change. TIME is blood, to paraphrase Tukhachewskij.
    Expect pressure on Afghanistan – Modi suddenly thinking he is Conan is no coincidence;
    this aims at strategic lines of communication, on behalf of the Usual Suspects.
    Otherwise, stalemate with advantage for the devils formerly known as white;
    the encircling works – for now.

    No way of saying how stupid the Pentagon – politicized and bought and paid for –
    really is; the Chinese practice wu-wei* 😀

    *Taoist concept: Creative non-action.
    “Sit by the river and wait, and come time you´ll see your enemies´bodies floating by”.

  80. At a guess, since Azerbaijan capitulated too (to Russia):
    – they lost more men than the Armenians
    – the men they lost were SpecOps: high IQ, can’t be replaced
    – they lost a lot of money
    – the Azeris killed Armenian prisoners which puts them on the moral outs with Russia, which identifies as a “Christian Orthodox” nation. (The Christological difference between Armenian Miaphysitism and the Greek-inspired Russian religion means little to me, and probably not all much to either of them anymore either.) I’ll add to this the antiArmenian riots around the world from Turks, which disgusted the planet.

    So: Azeri victory, but Pyrrhic. They get to keep that fort on a cliff. For now. If the Russians want it, the Russians will have it. And they’ll just give it back to the Hayastan.
    All in all, I suggest the Azeris had more to lose by killing Armenian prisoners than the reverse. Pissing off Turks is just not as dangerous as pissing off Russians.

  81. I’ll add to this the antiArmenian riots around the world from Turks, which disgusted the planet.

    It didn’t because people didn’t even hear about it.

    Most of your post sounds like cope. Azerbaijan won because they have afforded to buy a more modern military and because they had help from Turkey.

  82. The Russian AA (specifically Pantsir) systems have shot down 100s of drones attacking their bases in Syria

    They have but they’re defending a static base where they have a pretty sophisticated Air-Def system with various radars, EW systems & SAM’s integrated via command centres. On top of the Pantsir’s they also have TOR-M2 systems which have proven to be more effective against drones

    It’s difficult to do that sort of thing by smaller armies in field conditions where the lines are not static.

    The difficulty in shooting down drones is because their radar signature is small and they fly at low speed (an asset NOT downside)

    Legacy air-def systems have a hard time finding & locking onto them.

    The Turks also use jammers to reduce the effectiveness of the air-def in combination with attack drones which is how they had success in Syria and mainly in Libya

  83. Another German Reader says

    I cannot understand why it’s too hard to attach a few servo-motors to an AA gun + cartridge-drum-barrel and put them on trailers or midsize trucks. Slave them to a C2 van/pickup with modern E/O-sensors.

    Voila. Swat the low/mid-end drones from the sky.

    According to Vietnamese state media it only cost them less 50K US$ (excluding the pickup/trucks) to modernize a 57mm-battery into a road-mobile configuration with modern E/O-sensors. Crew size has been cut down to several truck-drivers/re-loaders plus a single operator sitting in the C2-van/pickup + unmanned operation is also possible.

    The Viets have now modernize nearly all their 23/37/57mm into cost-effective & road-mobile systems and are trying to scale it up for their 100mm AA guns.

    View post on

    Of course you would a few smarties to manage such a program and at least a good coder for the control software. Of course few dozen skilled worker in the garage for build the system and another dozen skilled workers in a small factory to produce the ammunition.

  84. Russia is actually making a new 57mm self propelled anti-aircraft vehicle “Деривация-ПВО”. I guess we’ll see if it’s useful. Russia also recently delivered the first MALE class combat drone to the army with the Orion drone. It’s weighs one ton with 200kg payload so it’s similar to MQ-1 Predator. It does look like Russia has started to put in real effort regarding drones.

  85. As an Armenian, elements of the Armenian diaspora sicken me. There is definitely a growing delusional neoliberal wing.

    After this debacle however, there is growing anti-diaspora sentiment within Armenia proper and likewise growing anti-Pashinyan sentiment. Both need to be booted out of the spheres of influence.

    Elements of the diaspora have long pushed for closer ties to Europe and the United States thinking they would intervene to magically save or prop up Armenia.

    Stoltenberg and NATO essentially spat in Pashinyan’s face when he went begging.

    Do these nutters not witness history? The Americans and Europeans only act where pure self interest is concerned. There is nothing to gain by aiding Armenia. Even France, where Armenia has close historic ties, spoke a big game but did nothing.

    Azerbaijan is a satrap of Western interests, such as British Petroleum. The Europeans will never put morality before profits.

    Without Russia, there would be no Armenia. No point rehashing what the Georgian turd Stalin did, the fact is, Russia is the only protector and guarantor of the existence of Armenia.

    Time for the diaspora to shutup and show some respect. Pashinyan is now arresting the entire opposition with false narrative that they were trying to “assassinate him”, he is becoming a neoliberal dictator and his time is ultimately numbered.

    There is no excuses for his behaviour, trumpeting democratic values while blatantly lying to the Armenian public regarding the state of the war. He would make Mohammed Saeed Al Sahaf (Iraqi information minister) proud.

    What is lost is lost but what is left can be protected by demonstrating that we are a good and reliable ally to the Russians. We’re not in a position to dictate anything and elements of the diaspora need to be silenced with their delusion pro-western rhetoric.

    Personally, I’m eternally grateful for the Russians saving what they have. Could have been a lot worse.

  86. Interesting:

    What The Saker does not mention is the possibility that the Pashinyan govt, with encouragement from the spooks in the US embassy or US-funded NGOs in Yerevan, may have provoked Aliyev into attacking Nagorno-Karabakh. This would be parallel to cravativore Saakashvili invading South Ossetia back in August 2008 in the belief the US had his back if Georgia got walloped by Russia. In the Armenian case, Pashinyan must have thought the EU or the US would come to the rescue which helps explain why he waited a full month before requesting help from Russia, during which time he must have been feeding the Armenian public with fake news of Armenian success.

    If so, Pashinyan didn’t learn well. Besides, Azerbaijan has more of a friendly ear in the West than Russia, as evidenced in the coverage by Western influenced Al Jazeera and the likes of John Batchelor and Matthew Bryza.

  87. I really doubt this happened. But I do think Pashinyan believed that EU+USA would do more.

  88. Doesn’t make sense that Pash got an unofficial green light as stated, knowing that Azeri-West ties aren’t so strained. Moreover, it looks like the Azeris (if anything) had militarily reignited this recent escalation – different from the situation in 2008 between Russia and Georgia.

    Pash appears to be the biggest loser in all of this.

    Related is this piece which just got posted:

    Some disagreeable points.

  89. Dacian Julien Soros says

    The position of the Russian peacekeepers is not that confortable. They are very far from home, in that, it’s impossible to land any decent airplane in that area, and everything has to be hauled from Erevan. There’s Azerbaidjan (that is, Erodgan), both to the East and near West of the location.

    I have the bad feeling of some sort of Kursk-style catastrophe, in which something random, such an earthquake, kills and maims tens o soldiers, and there is no surgical facility nearer than 12 hours on truck.

  90. Their position is not worse than that of the Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia was in 2008 who would be cut off and surrounded without access to the Roki tunnel.

    South Ossetia itself is linked to Russia by just one hard-surface road with a single lane in each direction. The road passes through the Roki tunnel, which acts as a bottleneck. During the cold season, the road is often blocked by avalanches for a day or more. That makes bringing in reinforcements from Russia difficult. Meanwhile, there are several good roads linking South Ossetia to Georgia. The Georgians can therefore bring their troops in quickly and easily from their nearby bases – which is exactly what happened during the Five Day War.

    • The Tanks of August (2010)
  91. Neolib stooges still believe that US+EU will come to save them after they do what they are trained to do. Remember when Saakashvili announced that Americans were entering into the Black Sea for helping Georgia to kick out those evil Russians. The reality was that George W Bush barked a lot but did nothing.
    Pawns like Saakashvili and Pashinyan fail to understand that, for their masters, they are just pawns.

  92. Pashinyan is not nearly as deranged as Saakashvili in this way. Saakashvili put up EU flags basically everywhere in the country. They still fly the EU flag next to the Georgian flag outside the parliament building and other government buildings. His entire thing was blaming Russia constantly for everything and pleading for help from western powers.

  93. More, because the Armenian side will depend more on them in terms of security after losing their buffer zones.
    The agreement that ended war also outright increases Russian presence in the Republic of Armenia.

    A new road will be constructed within the Karabakh exclave to bypass the current one passing through Shusha, which reverts to direct Azeri control.
    There will be a new road constructed from Azerbaijan to its exclave of Nakhichevan.
    Both routes will be guarded by the Russian FSB Border Service.

  94. The position of the Russian peacekeepers is not that confortable. They are very far from home, in that, it’s impossible to land any decent airplane in that area, and everything has to be hauled from Erevan.

    There’s an airport in Stepanakert on which An-12 & An-26 aircraft can land….the larger Il-76 should also be able to land there but I’m not 100% sure

  95. Armenian critic of Pashinyan’s leadership

    I was recently asked by some friends to write an opinion on my staunch opposition of the Armenian government and the measures that could have been taken during these past 2 years to avert the national crisis that resulted in the loss of Artsakh.

    First let me warn readers who believe in conspiracy theories, or who do not have deep understanding of Armenian politics, to either stop reading at this point, or at least, to not pollute my comment box with stories they’ve heard from their mom, dad, cousin, social media, friend in Armenia, a taxi driver or the nephew of a neighbor whose brother in law lives in the same building of a politician.

    Over the course of the past 2 years, Mr. Pashinyan’s government in Armenia gave way to catastrophic mistakes that resulted in alienation of Armenia’s allies and friends, compromised the country’s security and created an internal strife that weakened the country’s institutions.


    – instead of investing on creating stronger relations with Russia, Armenia’s main security guarantor, Mr. Pashinyan alienated the Russians by including in his government notable figures from foreign NGOs famous for their anti Russian agenda. The PM opened up politically motivated criminal cases against Russian companies in Armenia (Example: South Caucasus Railway case), prevented business transactions initiated by Russian companies (Ucom and Tashir cases) and intentionally smeared Russia’s image and reputation, by persecuting CSTO head (Russia’s version of NATO) General Yuri Khatchaturov, which unleashed a major publicity campaign against Russia in the Western media.
    – Mr. Pashniyan also went out of line when representative of his party voted against Russia’s return to Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE), a deadly mistake which his party later tried to justify by claiming that the Armenian delegates had “mistakenly pressed the wrong button during the vote”
    – Mr. Pashniyan also failed in strengthening relations with Iran, Armenia’s most trustworthy neighbor and economic lifeline. Instead of prioritizing Iran’s national interests, Mr. Pashinyan went overboard by opening an Armenian embassy in Israel, a step that infuriated Iran, without resulting in any diplomatic returns to Armenia as Israel continued to supply Azerbaijan’s with weapons.
    – Parallel to this, Mr. Pashinyan’s government also failed to achieve any real successes in relations with EU, US, China and India. Even in the peak of conflict between KSA (and the Arab block) versus Turkey, which could have presented a golden opportunity for Armenia to develop relations with Gulf counties (particularly KSA) and secure an economic backbone for Armenia, Mr. Pashniyan’s foreign minister’s accomplishments remained within the boundaries of a few official visits and rewritten statements of support to this country or that.


    – Instead of rallying the armenian public around national institutions, following the so-called “Velvet Revolution”, Mr. Pashinyan’s government went on the offensive, dividing the public between “blacks” and “whites”. Those who dared to criticize his judgements were labeled “traitors”, “mafiosos” or the “enemies of the revolution”. This characterization did not spare even his closest allies with which he had been in the opposition for decades.
    – At the level of his staff, instead of trusting his government to qualified individuals with credible public experience, Mr. Pashinyan went forward to filling strategic posts with inexperienced foreign NGO graduates. A lawyer with a couple of years of experience became a justice minister entrusted with writing a new constitution. A sales manager with some experience in the aviation industry became the head of the Civil Aviation Committee. Such appointments resulted in catastrophic institutional consequences. For example, Civil Aviation in Armenia became so unorganized and untrustworthy that in 2020 the EU banned Armenian air carriers from flying to Europe due to safety concerns. Amazingly however Mr. Pashinyan kept blaming all his failures on previous governments (unfortunately with a blind herd of sheeps behind his back). Similarly, the mismanagement of the Covid crisis by an inexperienced Healthcare Minister resulted in Armenia becoming one of the world’s worst performing nations in terms of management of the pandemic. This time, being unable to part the blame on previous governments, Mr. Pashniyan accused the Armenian people and their carelessness for being the main reason behind the crisis.
    – As NGO graduates became more involved in decision making processes in Armenia, Mr. Pashniyan’s government began taking even more irrational decisions. The diaspora ministry was shut down, National Academy of Sciences was defunded, Armenian church history was removed from school curricula, Armenian clergy where banned from visiting schools (at least an attempt was made), a smear attack on the Armenian Apostolic Church was unleashed and armenian literature was rendered unnecessary in universities. Instead efforts went to prioritizing questionable agendas as the ratification of the “İstanbul Convention” or substituting “Armenian Literature” classes with “Gender Studies” in Universities.
    – Mr. Pashniyan’s next target became the Armenian military and security structures. As his plan to persecute his political opponents moved forward, Mr. Pashniyan placed the Armenian National Security Service under his direct command. The NSS, which is supposed to counter terrorism and discover enemy spying activities, became a personal police force that is sent upon the PM’s orders to any business or home to conduct searches not even remotely related to cases of national security (mostly businesses or homes of political opponents). Mr. Pashniyan also played around with the army leadership, replacing high ranking officers and sending some of our most experienced generals to early retirement because of their political views. Worst of all, instead of gathering the most experienced commanders around him to improve his strategic vision and benefit from their existing relations with Russian military circles, Mr. Pashniyan persecuted our most capable command staff and instead recruited retired military officials, who had not seen active duty since the 90s, to be his security advisers.
    – Similar failures were registered in the economy. Relying on Karen Karapetyan’s growth momentum, and increasing tax rates, Mr. Pashinyan tried to inflate economic activity at the expense of tax returns, while large projects as Amulsar remained stagnant due to his inability to make difficult decisions. Direct Foreign Investments saw no major changes and budget performance remained worryingly low.

    By the time Artsakh war had arrived, Armenia had lost its closest ally, its most trustworthy neighbor, the military had gone through serious shocks due to constant changes in command, the national security service was preoccupied with hunting down political opponents and the economy had been devastated by COVID19 and mismanagement. Moreover, Armenia now stood on the brink of war with a society divided more than ever and a government with absolutely no influence or connections in Russia, Europe or the US.

    This is the reality and the rest is history. No matter how much you try to blame past authorities (towards which I have my own reservations as well), or weave stories about everyone else but the current government, the matter of the fact remains the same; whether through diplomacy or some other means, previous political leaders succeeded in keeping Artsakh part of our homeland. Even if for a second we consider that all this was planned since 2011, any decent leader would have told the public the truth from the beginning and preferred to resign instead of signing such an agreement. A leader who goes on “Facebook Live” 3 times a day to tell us about his wife, his suit or tomato prices could have definitely found time to explain to the Armenian nation the status of the negotiations. But the warmth of the seat of power seemed to be more important to Mr. Pashniyan than the borders of our homeland, and he sacrificed Artsakh, the land he used to call “ուրիշների հողը” (the land that belongs to others), to remain in power.

  96. showmethereal says

    True – but the fighters in Yemen are equipped and trained by Iran. Why do you think the Arab nations started making agreements with Israel. When Yemen was able to strike Saudi oil fields they realized Iran mastered the tech involved.

    That said – everything I have read about why Armenia failed – pretty much agrees with Mr. Karlin

  97. According to the Armenian Colonel General Movses Hakobyan, the Su-30 were not properly armed.

    The Su-30SM fighters that are in Armenia are without missiles intended for them. I warned the leadership about this.
    There is a special decree in Russia that prohibits the sale of missiles for the Su-30SM to other countries…

    …I was offered to purchase these fighters when I was the head of the General Staff, but I refused and reported to the country’s leadership the reason for not buying them.

  98. showmethereal says

    I don’t speak the language… So were those Azeri bodies?
    In any event – war is brutal and gruesome – and shouldn’t be taken lightly by any….