The headquarters of the Southern Military District of the Russian Armed Forces have recently issued the following statement, “A military police subdivision is being formed in 102nd Russian military base in Gyumri to ensure traffic safety, maintenance of military objects, as well as military discipline.”
While the Russian side speaks of creating subdivisions as an established fact, it should be noted, that this process is illegal and is not envisaged by any interstate agreement (for more information see the article of the Union of Informed Citizens).
However, the most ludicrous point is that while the Armenian side insists that Russian Armed Forces military police will be deployed only after signing (amending) interstate agreements, the Russian side has already deployed subdivisions in Gyumri.
The reaction of the Armenian side and the reality.
RA Defense Ministry responded to the mentioned statement saying that there is no official document on deploying Russian military police in Armenia yet. According to the press secretary of the Ministry of Defense Artsrun Hovhannisyan, the Armenian side too proposed the deployment of Russian Military Police subdivisions in Gyumri and Yerevan.
“It is also the Armenian side’s mediation that the Russian side takes this step, however at the moment negotiations with the Armenian side are underway. Unless there is a corresponding agreement, there will be no change in the composition of the military base,” said Hovhannisyan.
A noteworthy statement by National Assembly MP, former Police Chief Alik Sargsyan, followed this announcement. According to the MP, Russian Military Police subdivisions have been in Gyumri since March 15, 2018, and have already begun to carry out the service.
“I know that they brought this service on the 15th, and it is already being formed. I cannot provide information to what extent they carry out the service. It is carried out in the territory of their military base. They never appeared outside the base, neither in Gyumri nor in Yerevan, and people have not seen them. It is not excluded that they may carry out service for another six months and we will not even know about it,” mentioned Sargsyan in particular.
While Artsrun Hovhannisyan claims that there are no Russian Military Police subdivisions in Armenia, and Alik Sargsyan insists that there are, but they cannot be seen outside the military base, it should be noted that Haykakan Zhamanak daily has already released a video that shows Russian military police officers walk freely in the streets of Gyumri.
The deployment of the Russian military police units in Armenia is largely due to disciplinary issues.
In 2015, Valery Permyakov, the soldier of the 102nd military base, who had left the military base with firearms and then murdered seven members of the Avetisyan family, was detected and arrested by the Russian military servicemen, which is also a violation of the interstate agreement. The latter carried out search operations with firearms (having no right to do so), after which detained Permyakov, again in violation of the agreements, and did not hand him over to the Armenian law-enforcement agencies.
Moreover, they informed the Armenian police about Parakyakov’s escape only 7 hours later, after the murder of the Avetisyan family, despite the interstate agreement stating that the Armenian police had to be informed immediately.
You can read more about the violations of interstate agreements by the Russian side during the 2015 events here.