Russia Tightens Grip as Armenia Moves Closer to Europe

Armenian and Russian flags in Gyumri

BY HAYK HOVHANNISYAN

From the London School of Economics’ EUROPP Blog

Like many former Soviet-states, Armenia has recently pursued closer relations with the EU, much to Russia’s displeasure. Hayk Hovhannisyan looks at Russia’s increasingly punitive stance towards Armenia, such as increasing gas prices and greater arms sales to Armenia’s rival, Azerbaijan. Armenia has been trying to walk a fine line not to infuriate the ‘bear’ to the north, but now, without further support from the West, its European integration is likely to become more complicated.

Comments of despair and outrage flooded Armenian social media sites after images of a shattered man humiliatingly dressed in a woman’s bathrobe appeared on Russian television two weeks ago. It was Khachik Harutyunyan, a 46-year-old Armenian migrant worker, whose truck had accidentally collided with a bus on a dangerous intersection near Moscow, killing 18 and injuring dozens more, including himself. On police orders, just hours after the accident, the hospitalized suspect was forcefully awakened from painkiller-induced sleep, dressed into the embarrassing outfit and taken to the courtroom for a detention ruling.

The coverage of Harutyunyan’s courtroom appearance by Russia’s second largest state-owned television network, Rossiya-1, frequently and expressively emphasized the nationality of the unfortunate driver, in the best traditions of Soviet rhetoric. Stepping up for their citizen, the Human Rights Defender of Armenia, Karen Andreasyan had to remind his Russian counterpart that according to Russia’s Constitution, everyone has the right to be treated with dignity, regardless of circumstances, nationality or race. Drawing attention to the inhuman behavior of Russian officials, social activists in Armenia circulated pictures contrasting the self-confident and elegant courtroom image of Anders Breivik, a terrorist who deliberately killed 77 and injured 319 in 2011 Norway attacks, with the miserable condition of their unlucky countryman. In Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, a group of young protesters tried to pass a worn-out bathrobe to Russia’s ambassador.

This incident comes at a tense moment in Armenia’s relations with its CSTO partner (the Collective Security Treaty Organization was created between Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Russia in 2002). Since 2009, Armenia has been actively developing its ties with the European Union in the Eastern Partnership framework. On July 24, it completed negotiations with the EU around the establishment of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area and an Association Agreement, which will be signed in November. The High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, and the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Fule, qualified this as a very positive development for Armenia, which will bring the country and its citizens closer to the EU. This is apparently frustrating for Russia, which pushes its own agenda of the Eurasian Customs Union and had significant hopes of Armenia adding its name to the short list of signatories. Many Armenians regard the disrespectful treatment of their countryman as yet another link in the chain of Russia’s punitive actions aimed at the European aspirations of its last stronghold in South Caucasus. Taking advantage of Armenia’s vulnerable geopolitical and economic situation, Russia has activated three major vindictive strategies, aimed at putting its ‘strategic ally’ into total political, economic and military dependence, and hence, retaining it in its usual orbit. The arsenal of policies includes demographic drain, energy and economic blackmail, and direct intimidation by exacerbating conflict risks in the turbulent region

Russia’s 1999 Federal Law On State Policy toward Compatriots Living Abroad considers anyone who has ever held a Soviet citizenship or is a descendant of such a person as a compatriot. This formulation clearly embraces almost everyone living in the ex-Soviet republics. The program, launched in 2006 and upgraded in 2012 by President Vladimir Putin, creates generous incentives for resettlement of the compatriots in a number of sparsely populated Russian regions, through granting citizenship, jobs and other benefits. The implementation of this program in Armenia, with its tiny population of around 3 million, would barely have an impact on Russia’s demographic situation, but could seriously harm Armenia’s resilience in the face of its 9-million-strong arch-rival, Azerbaijan.

In 1988-1994 Armenians fought and won a war with Azerbaijan over Mountainous Karabagh, an Armenian-populated region, which was placed under Azerbaijan’s control in 1920s, as a punishment for Armenia’s fierce resistance to Bolshevik forces. No peace resolution has been reached so far. Azerbaijan and Turkey have been blockading landlocked Armenia’s vital communication lines for already two decades. With 2,600 people already resettled and another 26,000 waiting for their turn, the Compatriots program has left Armenia with less manpower, intellectual potential, and more people dependent on remittances from Russia, with all the logically ensuing consequences. Considerable public discontent forced the Armenian government to take steps to halt the program in the spring of 2013.

From the beginning of July, Russia has increased the price of gas supplied to Armenia by more than 50 percent. The economic consequences of the new price for Armenia’s population, with one in three living near the poverty line, are going to be quite grave. The third part of the entrapping strategy was Russia’s sale of armaments worth $1bn to Azerbaijan in the spring of this year. Azerbaijan has been openly declaring its intentions to restart the war over the disputed territory and is actively arming itself. In this light, Russia’s actions put into doubt if Moscow’s current administration fully understands or appreciates the notion of strategic alliance, presumed by the Collective Security Treaty.

Shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the existential threat emanating from its Turkey-backed neighbor, Azerbaijan, dragged Armenia back into the sphere of Russian influence. But experience shows that even the most picturesque treaties, and assurances of eternal brotherhood cannot conceal Moscow’s true vision of Armenia: poor and intimidated, with a population just enough to cater for the Russian military bases stationed on the Turkish border.

This is hardly what Armenians want for their country. Cooperation with the EU is widely perceived as a real chance for the turbulent region to enter a new stage of economic and political stability, and to adopt European sociopolitical institutions. This integration is not only in the interests of Armenia. The country is located in the middle of an alternative energy supply corridor for Europe from the Caspian/Central Asian regions, and potentially Iran in the future. Azerbaijan and Iran due to their political regimes, and the Central Asian countries due to their geopolitical remoteness, cannot become EU confidants in the foreseeable future. Thus, Armenia can serve as an important balancing factor and a point of influence for the European powers.

Accommodating its harsh realities, Yerevan has been so far trying to balance between Russian and Western influences. Russia’s unforgiving approaches indicate that this will not be possible anymore. Thus, there are two ways for Armenia to proceed with its European integration: either the pressure from Turkey’s side is alleviated, or the landlocked and blockaded country is provided with an alternative guarantee of security. Both solutions depend on further actions from the West, as Yerevan has given all the necessary signals.

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30 Comments

  1. Raffi Boyadjian said:

    I have been thinking about this issue since Harutyunyan’s courtroom appearance which I think was the last straw for me. I believe that maybe the government in Armenia needs some serious consulting from experts (not just anyone) from the Diaspora to help them. I am afraid for Armenia,. I used to think that Russia at least would protect them but I no longer believe that. They made it pretty clear with their arms sales. Unfortunately we are surrounded by bastards ! Djagadakeer.

    • notso said:

      Depends on what you mean by “protect”. Of course Russia won’t “protect” Armenia for its own sake. But do you really believe Armenia would still exist if Russia didn’t have an interest in it?
      Do you think Turkey wouldn’t have used the liberation of Artsakh as a pretext for invasion long ago? Of course it would! Turkey is still the same genocidal Turkey after all.

    • notso said:

      As a matter of fact, Turkey would have invaded Armenia even WITHOUT the Artsakh liberation. They would probably demand a “corridor” between Nakhichevan and Asserbaijan at the very least.. But personally I believe we would have suffered the same destiny as Cyprus.. only we wouldn’t have any “south” of it left..

  2. Sarkis said:

    It is a mistake to think betraying the Russian bear and not noticing our 1000 year awaited opportunity to create and to keep a sovereign nation state of Armenia in tact by thinking in the short term. Captain American and Eurotics of Armenia will be the downfall. Russia is the only reason why we have a state today. Not even a million of our fedayees can keep our foes in the region away without Russian protection. When will Armenians begin to think in the long term and not ruin our once in a thousand year opportunity?!!! Ask yourselves these questions when asking Russia to treat landlocked, resourceless, surrounded by stronger bigger enemies nation, the Republic of Armenia if America and its allies treat other even stronger countries equally. We all saw the fatal mistake our adventurous neighbor to the north made in angering the awakened Russian Bear. Did the West come to it’s aid? Wow where do I begin. Asbarez I firmly beleive the anti Russian sentiment in this article is written with the hopes to make ARmenia stronger. But it is a short sighted policy! We Armenians are our own enemies. We Armenians add to the negativity surrounding the very word “Armenia”, or “Armenian” being blasted in all Western media outlets. Labeling us as poor, labeling our leaders as morons, as tyrants, we as a people commiting fraud and leaching off societies. Though unconsiously we add onto the propaganda against our tiny, landlocked, resourceless, surrounded by enemies nation to ultimatley pursure our wet dreams, Captain America Fantasies, our Eurotic visions. This is not the way. I would rather have Armenia as a Russian state again than to trust the west and its Great Game strategy to rip us from our protector. I would be punitive if I were Russian too!!!! Stop spweing anti russian hatred to the mindless sheeple that most uninformed Armenians are. if not for Russia and us being their only trusted ally in the region, we would have had our counrty sold to the turks/zionists a long time ago. Russia has the power to do that, but they havent and they wont. They need us just as much as we need them. They are a super power, we are not equal as of yet. If we play our cards right, perhaps one day we will be when we have a common border, or a port to call our own. Armenia and Russia need to expand ties. Let’s get rid of our Eurotic fantasies and create a state that will be a player in the future. Or lets just concede Ermenistan immediately. Thank YOU!

    • Kirk said:

      I absolutely agree with you Sarkis.
      However, in this game, Armenia played all the cards and now has nothing to show.
      What I mean by this is, that all our strategic industries that are vital for our national security now are completely in Russians hands. Nothing is left to Armenia, period. The sad thing about this is, that few oligarchs got richer by selling these industries. In a simple word they are traitors.
      Now our president is playing a very dangerous game. He is in the weakest position unfortunately. He does not have any card to play with Russia and, on the other hand, he wants to surrender to EU. This is double surrender, one to Russia and one to EU.
      My humble opinion is, that in this situation it is better to be a servant to Russia rather than a slave to EU. At the end of the day, only one thing matters now: OUR NATIONAL SECURITY.

    • bigmoustache said:

      wow..let me tell you something, we (ARF) stopped the advancing turks when the Russians left us and created an independent Armenia. we also stopped the azeris and freed artsakh without Russian help. we are not a Russian state. the soviet union destroyed Armenian culture and were still trying to eradicate the traces of Russian culture that have infected Armenia. our most famous fedayis were famous for opposing Turkish AND Russian occupation. we are free to pursue our own path and be friends with any nation we choose and we can not tolerate any bullying.
      I wish we could be independent like Israel and I understand that we are in a geographical position that makes it hard for us to do so but if you are truly an ARMENIAN patriot then you would also be offended at russias treatment of Armenia considering we have consistently been their only ally in the region. and this is the gratitude we get.

  3. notso said:

    The EU we can forget. The EU handed out Safarov to Azerbaijan. As long as Armenians won’t have more children we will be in the hands of Russia. And history has shown us that this is better than putting our hopes in the West.

    Haven’t we learned a thing? What did the West do in 1915? What is the West doing today? Has Germany apologized for the genocide? Let alone recognized it? No.

    Without being naive I trust Russia more than I trust the West. The only reason Armenia exists is because of Russia’s strategic interest in it. Russia won’t let Turkey unite with Azerbaijan and thus become the ruler of all of Caucasia. Who are we trying to fool here? 2 million Armenians against 100 million Turks!? And why are we so few? Why doesn’t the Armenian government encourage people – even force them – into having more kids?

    As for Russia being our “brother” or “ally”. Come on. Are you joking? Nobody, except perhaps a retard, would expect a superpower of 150 million to consider itself the equal of a barely surviving little country of 2 million. Russia didn’t even help the Serbs. Why should they “help” us? We have to be realistic here.

    More children, or continued dependence upon Russia and other countries. These are the facts!

    • bigmoustache said:

      Germany recognized the Armenian genocide in 2004.
      Armenians, instead of leaving Armenia for a better life should fight to create that better life in their homeland. we need a revolution because the corrupt russafied Armenians are choking Armenia to death. our greatest enemy now is internal, if we don’t fix it we will always be vulnerable to outside enemies.

  4. Artak said:

    Armenia is moving closer to Europe but not at the expense of Armenian-Russian relations. I wish the author would clarify that as time and again Armenian officials have pointed out that our strategic alliance with Russia is a key factor in Armenia’s National Security Doctrine and Armenia would never take any steps that are against Russian interests in light of many centuries old Armenian-Russian historic, political and cultural ties. Both Europe and Russia understand that Armenia does not have much choices with the kinds of “neighbors” that we have who would not pass an opportunity to erase Armenia from the face of the earth, in fact they are still actively pursuing that genocidal policy.

  5. George said:

    It is very amusing to read these kinds of articles. Such a naive views of Armenia’s relations with the West and Russia are warranting from those who have taken the bait and fallen for the false promises of the West. You speak of a strong Armenia as if such a thing will be accomplished immediately following Armenia’s complete integration with the West. While free trade agreements with various countries will be beneficial to Armenia, that in no way is a reason to jeopardize our strong and friendly relations with Russia. Neither are minor events such as the unfortunate situation of Khachik Harutyunyan. Russian arms sales to Azerbaijan are a cause to concern, as is continuous American aid to Azerbaijan, albeit at levels three times lesser than the aid to Armenia. If friendship with other countries rests on the promise of zero relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan, then we have no friends in this world. You cannot honestly expect countries to sacrifice their relations with those two countries because we demand them to.
    Regarding our relationship with Russia, I hope the Armenian government remains intelligent enough to realize that jeopardizing said relationship will never be beneficial to Armenia, no matter what the coaxes by the West. Does the West exert stronger influence on Azerbaijan than Russia? Is the West prepared to resort to military action to defend Armenia from future attacks? Russia has done so in the past and certainly seems to do now with their military presence in Gyumri. Is the West going to provide us with energy vital to Armenia’s economy? Russia certainly does so, albeit the current conflict over prices. Further integration with the West and EU also means ceding a certain amount of sovereignty to the EU. As is seen with the recent trade agreement, Armenia will have to change some of its laws to meet EU standards. That will mean in the future changing our own laws, even those which have deep rooted traditions. Lastly, our culture, tradition, and history is more intertwined with Russia than it is with any other country. Ample evidence exists -politically, economically, and socially- that Armenia has a better future with Russia than it does with the EU and the West.

    • Artashes said:

      NATO is the real answer to Armenia. Russia is a moral monster. Russia can do anything bad to Armenia. Russia is not very stable. By statistics about violent death in 53 countries in Europe in ages before 29 Russia in the first place. In Armenia the rate for those deaths is 30 times less! In fact Armenia is in a good company in that survey. The countries with least deaths are Germany, Armenia, Austria. To me that means that Armenia should be in EC and NATO and not with Russia, which is barbaric, rude, drunk, totally corrupt. Russia has no future, the real Russian population is declining rapidly,
      from very low birth rate, very high violent death rate, alcohol, drugs, aids. In 30 years Russia will look more like Central Asia. Why Armenia should stay with such a country? NO! Armenia is going to be part of Europe.

      • Mark said:

        Artashes, you say “In 30 years Russia will look more like Central Asia. Why Armenia should stay with such a country? NO! Armenia is going to be part of Europe.”

        Sorry, but Europe has the same future as Russia has. Actually Europe may become like Central or whatever Asia or Africa or North Arabia faster than Russia will become as a Central Asia. So there is no big differences between these two choices . Without a real national idea or polices Armenia will always stay between two fires. Right now one of the strategic solutions for Armenia could be encouraging the birth rate. Todays Armenian government won’t do that. They don’t see anything behind their nose. The only financial support for that purpose could be the money centralized in the hands of handful oligarchs and also financial help of the reach Armenians living abroad. I think every Armenian, having the ability to help will do that. However there should be a strict rules created to use that finances for that purpose only. We need someone who understands how to organize this but not the same way when the aid goes back to riches. Armenians! let us start the fund rising company for new born Armenians.

    • GeorgeMardig said:

      I completely agree, furthermore under these sircumstances, an open borders with Turekey will bring destruction to Armenia

  6. Dr. Hermon Mihranian said:

    I now ask the present Armenian Government to give Armenian passport to All Armenians in the world, since such stepp will have a positive impact on the MotherLand. Several time s I emailed my suggestion to the Armenian Embassy in Austria. Wiating for reply.

    • Gurgen said:

      Would the German government give citizenship to any American whose grandparents are from Germany? This is a ridiculous statement. Go serve in the military, then pay your taxes to Armenia before you ask for free things. There are national security issues which diasporan Armenians are ignorant of.

  7. arziv said:

    Western orientation will become the tombstone of Armenia. That is not to say that an eastern orientation would be utopia. With the West Armenia will lose its body; like history so eloquently teaches us. Within the Russian orbit at least Armenia can keep her soul, and our small real estate. I believe in the perspicacity and craftiness of the Armenian diplomatic policies; the approaches to the gradually decomposing political entity of the EU is driven by ulterior motives, however it would be foolhardy to compromise or even jeopardize the fraternal and historical bonds with Russia. We don’t know what these closenes and getting together really means. Maybe it is a lot of smoke and mirrors. However it does not bode well. The EU is a corrupt political body with clear goals and credo of destroying nation states, of disassembling nation states and it is an international body which ignores identity, territorial boundaries, history and tradition. If Armenia expects loans – grants-investments from the EU philandering economic and financial pirates, then she is digging a hole for herself. Loans -grants-cornucopia of investments etc, will come at the expense of our identity , our sovereignty and our territorial integrity. Of course there will be those in highly perched escarpments who will benefit obscenely from such associations. Armenians might think they are able in playing both fields ; it is a dangerous gambit and we can not afford erroneous political decisions which will cost us our independence. Relations between Russia and the West will eventually come to a head , they are on a collision course. It is hoped when the collision takes place, we don’t get in harm’s way. . In geopolitical terms, the EU-American are the backbone of the panturanist movement of Turkish foreign policy and their expansion toward the east ( and even to the West). That is not in our national interests.

  8. Gary@S said:

    The EU only wants a second corridor for oil pipeline through Armenia. The new rulers on Georgia are Russian friendly which worries the EU.
    The EU can’t do a thing if Armenia gets invaded by Turkey/Azeribaijan–would actually like it since Turkey is Western friendly (EU). Whereas, Russia views Armenia as an important part of the world–being in the Caucasus, next to Turkey and next to Iran. Also, not to have a pipeline through Armenia to Turkey and the EU. Russia doesn’t like these pipelines because Russia would rather have the pipelines through its terroitory and make the EU dependent on Russia for oil. Russia doesn’t want Karabagh resolved so Armenia won’t have friendly relations with Turkey and Azeribaijan. It is all about oil pipelines.

  9. Artashes said:

    I believe that Armenia will be in EC and in NATO. Today NATO membership protects Greece from Turkey.
    Russia is corrupt to the core. They have no morals, no scruples, no real friends. Corruption in Russia makes worse corruption in Armenia. Armenia will never get rid of high corruption when she is in Russian sphere.
    This summer Russia sold very power weapons to Azeries. Armenia will be much safer in NATO than with Russia how sells Armenia here and there. Both Russia and Turkey will disintegrate into smaller states. Turkey will be first. EC is more stable …

  10. Contrarian said:

    This is absurd! I am from the west, but when it comes to Armenia’s foreign policy Sarkis is right, we tend to be very myopic. The culture in Armenia is shifting yes, but that doesn’t mean we should be embracing EU membership like we are going to be relieved of every issue. Of course most people that advocate or parrot such an unrealistic dream are mere parrots without the urgent need to do their own homework and analysis. EU has its own agenda and issues and of course their own economic issues. Armenia should aim to be the Switzerland of the Caucuses and further strengthen its ties with the Russians. Of course not enslaving ourselves to the Russians, but acknowledging that Russia can be a true ally if we play our cards right and stop hopping from one realm to another. Armenia’s ties with the Russian gov should be further enhanced and draft upon strategic policies to help Armenia’s economy grow. A moron by its virtue will always think there is a better alternative without taking the effort to polish and strengthen its current affairs.

    All Russia needs to do is invest in Armenia’s economy and show the Armenian people that it is truly interested for their well being. Russia’s biggest continuing mistake is using force to intimidate countries all the time. Sometimes they should show honest intent and actually invest in Armenia’s economic growth without intimidation so the West can’t point out or draft up a malice agenda. Of course selling Arms to Azerbeijan came to me as a shock, and backfired because now most people are thinking to themselves that Russia just might have a malice intent or agenda.

  11. Haik Azad said:

    Well well well armenians live everywhere in this world ,there are some even in Armenia!!!And where do armenians thrive most-is it in their step mother Russia or in bloody capitalist turkish zionist Shamerica??? It is a choice between 2 civilizations,although the russians dont and never will have one.As the man has said-If you live like russians do that will be the end of you!!! And,dear Doctor Mihranian,would you send your children to serve in the armenian army???

  12. Norik Avakyan said:

    Ես Ձեր հետ համաձայն կլինեի, եթե չլիներ մեկ հանգամանք.
    – Մեզ շրջապատում են ստոր, ստախոս, գազան ազգեր:
    Դրա համար էլ համաձայն չեմ,
    – Եթե Ռուսաստանը մեկ վարկյան գլուխը թեքի մեզանից, ազրները և թուրքերը մեզ կուտեն, բառիս բուն իմաստով:
    Հայաստանի քաղաքականությունը պետք է լինի այնիսին, ինչպիսին Հրեաների քաղաքականությունն էր 50-ական թվերի սկզբին:
    Այսօր միայն խելքով և ոչ թե հավակնություններով…
    Եվ զարգանալ, զարգանալ ու զարգացնել զինված ուժերը:
    Ռուսաստանը վատն է, լավն է, դա է…
    Այսոր Ոուսների հետ պետք է լինել ընկեր, թե չէ Մերձավոր Արեւելքի մարդասպանները ազրների անվան տակ մեկ օրում կոչնչացնեն Հայաստանը:
    Հայաստանը Ռուսաստանի միակ դաշնակիցն է, որ չի դավաճանել նրան:
    Ռուսները դեռ չեն պատկերացնում – Հայաստանի անկումը, դա հզոր Ռուսաստանի վերջն է:
    Հայաստանը մի փոքր պետություն է, բայց մեծ ստրատեգիական նշանակություն ունի Ռուսաստանի համար:
    Հայաստանի և Ռուսաստանի ներքին թշնամիները ցանկանում են ապակայունացնել մեր հարաբերությունները:
    Այսօրվա մեր գլխավոր խնդիրն է հայտնաբերել և ոչնչացնել այդ վնասատուներին, և դա կլինի մեծ հաղթանակ;

  13. Arto2 said:

    Actually this author is a few years too late. Russia tightened its grip on Armenia years ago and thank God for that otherwise our compatriots would either be dead or speaking Turkish by now. Only the threat of Russian involvement stopped Turkey from invading Armenia in 1993 when Turkey masses a quarter of a million nato trained and US sponsored soldiers on Armenia’s border. The threat is ever present but held back by our Nuclear powered ally. Its Interesting that our pro west anti Russian brothers and sisters fail to speak about this very important issue. Very interesting indeed.

  14. armen said:

    I’ve said this time and time again, with the exception of France, western Europe has never done a thing for Armenia. There is nothing wrong with signing trade agreements with them but expecting anything more is suicidak for the nation. On the other hand Russia has a real concern with pan-Turkism and needs Armenia and Georgia more than they would admit. I.E. if Armenia and Georgia fall Chechnya is next.

  15. GeorgeMardig said:

    People should understand that, Armenia is where he draws the line to protect Russia, and will not tolerate to NO country to cross that line, he can’t leave that choive NOT EVEN TO ARMENIA.

  16. GB said:

    Russia will defend Armenia, for their own survival in Muslim North Caucasus, where they have a common ground approach with Armenia.

    Russia must leave Armenia alone, for their own foreign policy. Armenia will never forsake Russia, where Turkic Muslim tribes threatening both in North and South Caucasus!!

  17. Arn.Sweden. said:

    The Signatures Sarkis and notso above is right !.

    Armenia is important to Russia of Strategic and Tactic Reasons.
    Russia dont want a Turkish state in its Belly,
    a Turkish state that eventually could fullfill the old Turkish dream,
    of a Turkish State from the Midleterrainian to the Pacific in East Asia.,
    a Dream the Armenian People has Faced a Holocoast for.

    Dont delude Yourself,
    Armenia can only Grow Stronger with the Help of God and Russia.

    Arn.Sweden.

  18. Alex Postallian said:

    I feel,as long as Armenia,under Russian tutelege,the big COWARD turkey,wont ever make a move,against,or threathen the Big Bear.There is a cost for this.The west is not going to interfere.their politicians,accepting money,under the table for years.Reform Armenia,get rid of all the crooks,if possible..They are not oligarchics,they are Crooks.

  19. Vic said:

    This kind of article is silly. On a military basis, the idea that the EU or America will be more reliable than Russia with a serious base an personnel in Armenia is absurd. On an economic basis, the idea of imposing barriers to trade with Russia, as would involve actually joining the EU, is absurd. Now, not even sharing a physical border with Russia, or Customs Union, there is good basis in not actually joining the Customs Union but just continuing and deepening good relations with it. Good relations with Georgia and Iran are also important to Armenia, and joining the Customs Union does not help those. What is most realistic is having good relations with all parties possible. That should include other countries, such as Iraq and India as relatively nearby countries with transit thru Iran. Armenia should promote development of rail corridor from Iranian ports and India thru Armenia and Georgia, to Krasnodar/Rostov region of Russia. If at some point Georgia would join the Customs Union and there would be a free trade agreement between Russia and Iran, then there may be remote sense in discussing that. Until then, the only logical step is keeping relations with all neighbors and friendly countries as positive and productive as possible. Of course, that isn’t much different from what Armenia has been doing, so the results can’t be expected to be that different. In other words, Armenia still faces major challenges. But fantasist dreaming about spurning Russia doesn’t address those problems either, those problems need to be addressed head on. The people promoting these policies don’t seem willing to be honest about their own relations with the US and the results of their own illusions about what the US and EU would do for Armenia. The attempt to turn Russia’s policy on Compatriots into an anti-Armenian policy is absurd. The policy is not Armenian-specific or aimed at Armenia particular and similar free movement and labor agreements are considered positive all over the world. The actual benefits for Armenian people and country have been significant, even if it may also have negative side effects. Negotiating with Russia to amend it’s details or arrange other balancing factors may well have merit, but smearing Russian policy as being against the Armenian nation is an insult to Armenia’s strongest ally.

  20. Arman said:

    Armenian,
    Brothers
    The West will do nothing for us. They newer did. They can only talk. Yes, Russians not best in the world, but it is only nations how can and will help. WE HAVE TO BE WITH RUSSIANS !!!! WE HAVE NO ALTERNOTIVE.

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