The Russian Duma approved a new military coordination pact with Armenia. This is extremely important in shoring up the Russian southern flank and possibly de-escalating the conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh which lies between them.
Adam Garrie at The Duran has a good write-up of the implications and the history:
Armenia and Russia have a long shared history dating back to the Tsarist period. The eastern portion of the historic Armenian homeland became part of Russia in 1828 upon the singing of the Treaty of Turkmenchay between Russia and Iran following the last major Russo-Persian war.
The western portions of historic Armenia had a worse fate under the Ottoman Empire which became increasingly hostile to Armenians as the 19th century wore on.
In 1909 the Adana massacre saw 30,000 Armenians die and many more tortured at the hands of Ottoman ultras.
This was an ominous prelude to the Armenian Genocide of 1915 when the Ottoman state systematically murdered 1.5 Armenians. It is widely recognised as the first modern genocide.
Tensions between Armenia and Turkey are still high and unlikely to dissipate while Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in power, which looks like it’ll be for a while. But, with Putin’s steadfast adherence to diplomacy over threats, the possibility exists for at least some dialogue between the two in the next couple of years.
Armenia is one of the five members of the Eurasian Economic Union and a dialogue member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), as is its neighbor Azerbaijan. Neither can join fully or even make stronger moves towards membership until Nagorno-Karabakh is settled.
Azerbaijan is nominally in the U.S.’s sphere of influence, but that is waning as Russia re-asserts itself diplomatically around the region. The death, last year, of Ukbekistan’s long-ruling President Islam Karimov, opened the door for Putin to make diplomatic overtures there and mend relations with the former Soviet Republic.
Expect more of this from Putin over his next term, rebuilding relations as independent partners with all of these countries. And these acts of diplomacy are being sold to in the U.S. media as “Putin wants to rebuild the U.S.S.R.”
Given the level of insanity that infests Washington D.C. at this point and the ratcheting up of hysteria to, frankly, comic proportions this will get worse before it gets better. That said, Trump and Tillerson cutting the State Dept. by 32% will help a lot. There will be a lot less money to throw around to support the crazed John McCain/George Soros arm of U.S. foreign policy.