Armenia Russia Economic Ties Deemed Poor by Volsky

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–In an interview with Radio Liberty–Russia’s Union of Industrialists chairman Arkady Volsky assessed Russian-Armenian economic relations as poor and urged further cooperation in that realm–saying that while political self-government was acceptable for both countries–the notion of economic self-government was absurd.

He stressed that trade between Russia and Armenia has dropped six percent since the fall of the Soviet Union–adding that this factor had greatly impacted both economies.

Volsky expressed optimism over prospects of Russian economic cooperation with Armenia–outlining that his organization had close relations with a similar group in Armenia–and citing the development of projects within the Armenia-Russia Trade Union–the establishment of a Russo-Armenian Trade Center and the potential of the Russian-Armenian community.

Volsky’s approach toward Armenia was generally positive in his interview. He stated that he would prefer to spend the final days of his life in the Dogh village of the Hadrut region and commenced his interview with greeting the audience in Armenian.

The Russian industrialist said that he believed if the proper policies were undertaken by the right people–the construction of the earthquake zone would not have suffered–and Armenia would be facing a different economic reality.

He opined that even following the collapse of the Soviet Union–it would have been possible to advance the earthquake zone reconstruction. In that regard–he criticized Levon Ter-Petrosyan saying that the former leader focused his attention on self-government and did not implement necessary programs in the earthquake zone.

"Maybe Russia and all the other countries are to blame as well," said Volsky adding that special attention must be paid to the earthquake zone and that the reconstruction should become a moral obligation for all Commonwealth of Independent States member-nations.

He pledged his organization’s support to the earthquake zone reconstruction process.

Volsky also commented about the Karabakh conflict–saying that while the current situation was more preferable than war–Karabakh needed the right to self-rule.

His experience as a representative of the Karabakh in the Supreme Soviet provided him with the insight to call for a more active role by Russia in the peace process.

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