Pashinyan: Political betrayal? Has the Armenian political leadership betrayed its own armed forces as well as its population? There has been a lot of mud slinging in Yerevan since the Armenian defeat in the 6 weeks Nagorno-Karabakh war of 2020. The population is angry and the political climate is volatile and extremely toxic. Some high-ranking individuals (civil-servants and officers alike) have since come forward accusing Prime Minister Pashinyan and some of his colleagues of fraud and corruption (for personal financial gains) with regards to arms dealing.
Those accusations include the Armenian prime minister’s alleged attempts at making money on the back of his own ministry of defence. Without getting into too much detail, a colleague of Pashynian would purchase military hardware in Russia or elsewhere at a discount and then resell them at a higher price to anybody willing to buy them. This would include the Armenian army, which as a result might have ended up paying too much for some of its most recent acquisitions.
Regardless of whether those accusations are real or not, it is clear that one could not help but raise an eyebrow looking at the Armenian armed forces’ procurement and recent hardware purchases. One such example is the recent acquisition by Armenia of four Su-30 fighter planes when Yerevan was offered to buy Tor SAM batteries instead. Up to you to decide which system would have made much more sense…
The biggest example of them all goes back to January 2020 when Pashynian announced that Yerevan had procured 35 units of 9k33 OSA short-range tactical SAM for the bargain price of $27 millions. Those SAM batteries were apparently second hand ones purchased from Jordan. Jordan bought them from the Soviet union back in… 1983! We are talking about the OSA-AK or OSA-AKM produced in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s! Those batteries had actually been retired by Amman as they were deemed obsolete! The batteries were apparently meant to be modernised by the Armenian defence industry before being pressed into service. One must wonder how many components needed to be changed/modernised on such old systems: The OSA was designed in the 1960’s! Even the AKM variant is still nearly 40 years old! The radar and fire control systems must have been near enough useless. And the missiles, stored in their transport/launch containers, must have reached the end of their service life quite a while back! When you factor all this in, you realise that $27 millions for those 35 units might not have been such a bargain, after all!
So… Were all those obsolete platforms fully upgraded before the beginning of the war (they had 9 months to do so)? Well, you tell me: Armenian lists 15 OSA batteries destroyed. The Azeris list 40 of them neutralised. We know the Armenian MoD minimised its losses while the Azeri MoD grossly overestimated its “kills”. So the truth is in between those two figures. The ex-Armenian Chief of Staff called the OSA “useless” and admitted the 9k33 batteries did not manage to shoot down a single drone. There are pictures of Armenian OSA batteries deployed during the war still sporting their Jordanian camo…
Have Armenian politicians in general and Pashinyan in particular failed Armenian citizens and servicemen?
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