Duma Speaker Discusses Russia-Armenian Ties

President Sarkisian meets with Sergei Naryshkin on Tuesday

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—The speaker of the Russian State Duma, Sergei Naryshkin, promoted a deeper economic and political integration of Russia and other former Soviet republics during an official visit to Armenia on Tuesday.

Naryshkin said he “spoke a lot” about what he described as “the Eurasian project” advanced by Moscow at his meetings in Yerevan with President Serzh Sarkisian and other senior Armenian officials.

“The leadership of the Republic of Armenia is attentively monitoring the development of that Eurasian project and is seeking to determine its place in this project, realizing that the Eurasian economic area is a format for the development of economic relations,” he told journalists after the talks.

Naryshkin, who served as the Kremlin chief of staff before taking over Russia’s lower house of parliament last December, appeared to refer the idea of a Russian-led “Eurasian Union” of former Soviet republics put forward by President Vladimir Putin last year. Putin said it would be built around the existing customs union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Naryshkin said trade among the three nations soared by 30 percent last year thanks to the customs union. That increase shows that the efforts to set up a “common economic space” in the former Soviet Union are already bearing fruit, he said.

The Armenian government has explicitly ruled out membership in the customs union, arguing that Armenia has no common border with any of its member states. This stance is construed by some analyst as an indication of Yerevan’s lukewarm attitude towards the deeper Eurasian Union.

Official Armenian sources made no specific mention of the union in press releases on the Duma speaker’s meetings with President Serzh Sarkisian, Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian and parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian. President Sarkisian was cited as saying that his administration is committed to further deepening “allied” relations with Russia because they are “the cornerstone of Armenia’s security.”

Speaking at a joint news conference with Abrahamian, Naryshkin praised the growing volume of Russian-Armenian trade and emphasized the fact that Russia is Armenia’s leading trading partner and foreign investor. He also noted “with satisfaction” that he received assurances that the Armenian parliament will ratify this autumn a free trade agreement that was signed by Russia, Armenia and six other ex-Soviet states in Saint Petersburg last October.

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5 Comments

  1. Albert said:

    Armenian membership into the Eurasian Union is a good way to help the economy improve. The closer the relations between Russia and Armenia, the more support Russia will give in regards to the NKR/Artsakh.
    We need Russian help. The Europeans will stab us in the back in a second and they certainly did stab us in the back during the period of the Armenian genocide .

  2. Albert said:

    The Armenian government is unwise to not join the Eurasian union because the way that their crooked oligarchs are acting, they will never be able to join the EU .

  3. Gary_S said:

    Albert, you’re 100% right about Europeans stabbing us in the back! If Russia wasn’t pressure to withdraw from Armenia, there wouldn’t have been a genocide! “1878: Great Britain, according to a secret treaty with the Ottoman Empire, pressures Tsar Russia to evacuate the occupied Armenian provinces in eastern Turkey before the promised reforms in the Berlin Treaty are implemented. As a token of gratitude for this service, Great Britain receives the island of Cyprus from Turkey. “http://www.armenica.org/editorial/ledare050401.html

  4. Avetis said:

    No Russia in the Caucasus means no Armenia in the Caucasus. Armenians need to end their EUrotic fantasies and realize that Armenia’s future is tied to that of Russia’s. Armenia is a Eurasian nation – genetically, culturally, historically and geographically. Armenia will join the Eurasian Union once Tbilisi is cleansed of its Anglo-American-Zionist and Turkic infection. God bless Mother Russia, God bless our Hayrenik!!!

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