Armenia Joins Eurasian Union

Armenia's President Serzh Sarkisian sign an accession treaty with the Eurasian Economic Union in Minsk. Oct. 10, 2014.


MINSK, Belarus (RFE/RL)—After months of delay, Armenia formally joined the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan on Friday, drawing praise from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

President Serzh Sarkisian signed a corresponding accession treaty with Putin and Presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan and Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus at a summit of the Russian-led bloc held in Minsk.

The signing of the document, originally expected in May, was held up by the Kazakh and Belarusian leaders for apparently economic and geopolitical considerations. It was still not a forgone conclusion in the days leading up to the Minsk summit.

Speaking at the gathering, both Putin and Sarkisian expressed hope that the treaty will be ratified by the parliaments of the EEU’s three member states by the end of this year. The Armenian president said his country should be able to “start working from January 1” as a full-fledged member of an alliance which critics fear will restore Russian hegemony over much of the former Soviet Union.

Putin stressed the importance of Armenia’s accession to the EEU in his opening remarks at the summit posted on the Kremlin’s website. “In our view, Armenia is ready to operate in the Eurasian Economic Union on an equal footing with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan,” he said. “Within a relatively short period of time, since the autumn of 2013, our Armenian friends have … brought their national legislation into conformity with the norms of our integration structure.”

“We hope to see positive macroeconomic effects as early as one or two years after Armenia’s accession,” continued Putin. He said membership in the EEU will give a further boost to Armenia’s trade with Russia and the two other ex-Soviet states. “The other key indicators — Gross Domestic Product, consumer demand, real incomes of the population and employment — should also improve,” he added.

Sarkisian, his government and political allies have likewise asserted over the past year that EEU membership will speed up Armenia’s development by lowering the cost of Russian natural gas for its consumers and facilitating its manufacturers’ access to the vast Russian market. However, the authorities in Yerevan have stopped short of forecasting higher growth rates for the Armenian economy for the next few years.

Economic growth in the country is on the contrary slowing down now primarily because of a fallout from Western economic sanctions that have been imposed on Russia in recent months. The International Monetary Fund said last week that Armenia’s GDP will likely increase, in real terms, by only 2.6 percent this year and 3.3 percent in 2015. The Armenian government came up with considerably higher growth projections in its most recent policy program approved by parliament in May.

Entry into the EEU means that Armenia will have to replace its traditionally liberal trade regime with more protectionist policies pursued by the bloc’s three member states. The treaty signed in Minsk allows it to exempt more than 800 types of imported goods from much higher customs duties set by the EEU. Armenian officials say that these exemptions will prevent massive price hikes in the domestic market.

Armenian critics of EEU membership argue, however, that Yerevan will enjoy the trading preferences for only several years and will eventually have to adopt the EEU barriers to trade with the rest of the world and the European Union in particular. They point out that Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan account between them for less than 25 percent of Armenia’s overall foreign trade.

The Armenian government was poised to finalize a far-reaching free-trade deal with the EU when Sarkisian unexpectedly decided in August 2013 to make his country part of the Russian-led bloc. The deal fell through as a result of his U-turn widely attributed to strong Russian pressure.

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17 Comments

  1. Avetis said:

    I can now sleep better at nights. Armenia will survive the storm. Armenia will prosper once more.

    • Shahen said:

      Hayastan ev Artsakh will prosper even more when we help in any way we can, through finance, volunteer, professional input which we have gained outside of Armenia. It is indeed a victory for our nation.

  2. Gurgen said:

    Bravo Armenia! Great move. We look forward to a great future with the Eurasian Union.

  3. Gurgen said:

    Congratulations Armenia. This was a historic decision and the choice was the right one.

  4. Shahen said:

    Well done Armenia, the future of Armenia/Artsakh and it’s security guarantees are with Russia, not the sell outs EU/NATO clowns who have not yet even considered holding Turkey responsible and are continuously lying and supporting Armenia’s enemies. Armenia should never become victim to the manipulative CIA government which is destroying Europe and the middle east from within. Armenia’s economic proximity and historical ties are with Russia NOT US/NATO/EU. Congratulations Armenia, Thank you Nakhagah Serzh Sargsyan. True patriot.

    • Armenian said:

      This statement will be completely thrown out the window in about a year when Russia sells more heavy artillery to Azerbaijan… again.

      • Shahen said:

        That is the failed policy of our foreign affairs committee which should hold Russia responsible for these destructive measures. I agree with you that the nature of these sales go against our security however you can’t forget Russia has a base in Armenia and the amount of relative hardware we receive from Russia free of charge or dirt cheap which our professionals make full use of. We have the most sophisticated air defense system in the area. The EU/US could give two sh*** about Armenia and would rather destroy us. We are the only dependable and reliable partner for Russia. Whatever weapons the aziks get will end up with us, Armenians.

        • Armenian said:

          Don’t underestimate your enemy. Every time the enemy is underestimated, they come out on top. This isn’t 1991 anymore. Armenians are completely demoralized and in a very deep and serious state of psychosis (see, Avetis and many zombies like him begging for Putin to become President of Armenia) while the Azeris have a renewed sense of purpose in their foreign policy ventures and a significantly larger population. As much as I hope Armenia wins in the event of a war, I don’t see it happening with the way things are going now. Not to mention that our “ally and reliable partner Russia” will step in to prevent any one side getting ahead of the other, just like it did in 1994. Russian and Armenian interests are not interchangeable… I wish Armenians would understand that.

  5. DR.Hermon Mihranian said:

    Finaly Yerevan signed the EEU membership, this will protect Yerevan from the Turkish and Azeri aggressive islamic countries.

    • Armenian said:

      Kazakhstan and Belarus are already hinting at Karabagh’s status as separate from Armenia. Once Russia forces Armenia to give up Karabagh so Azerbaijan can enter the EEU, your “security” argument becomes completely invalid. Then in about 5 or 10 years, we’ll wonder why and how we were coaxed into this lousy “union” of Russia-docile states.

  6. Janapar said:

    As if there was a choice! To be a friend of the west like Georgia risks the wrath of Putin.
    Russian Caucastan one step closer.
    Now lets see how long it is before AZ & Russia and in the news. Oh look – naval exercises!

  7. EznikforPeace said:

    Sad sad day

    ​​Obama needs a strong, friendly Turkey. First it was to work against the Soviets and then the crazy dictators of the Arab countries and now bad boy Putin. That is why they are in the EU and NATO. Now friend Turkey is again needed as a forward base. Their price, as always, is for the west to look the other way in regards to Armenia and the Kurds. Turkey wants to get rid of Assad and as many Kurds as possible as a bonus. A perfect partnership.
    Turkey needs the Kurds killed in the fighting and to NOT be a helping hand in the coalition which would give them notice and power. How to achieve this-sit and watch as ISIS kills Kurds and then cry for help when they cross the border into Turkey itself. So far so good.

    OK so ISIS and Assad are gone and lets say by some chance the west is pissed at Turkey and wants to punish them for having to save them (as I read somewhere). Armenia is not part of the picture. Independent Kurdistan yes, they were a big help in Iraq you know. Armenia? Where is Armenia? Oh that little Russian puppet state? Nope, forget it. Georgia is our western friend.

    ONLY thru positive engagement with the west can Armenia hope for resolution of its territorial problems. Russia does not care and actually wins with continued regional tensions.
    Both Turkey and Armenia must give up hating each other because of the past, shake hands and open the borders. Armenia must be seen as trying to join the league of developing countries for others to want to help them.
    Exactly where has 20 years of screaming ‘bastard Turks’ got Armenia?
    God do I have to say it; never fight a war on two fronts.

  8. Pingback: L’Armenia firma per l’Unione eurasiatica: una scelta obbligata | Cronache Internazionali | Notizie dal Mondo

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