Kocharian Meets With Nikolay Ryzhkov

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenian President Robert Kocharian met with the last prime minister of the collapsed Soviet Union–co-chairman of interparliamentary commission on cooperation between Russian Federal Assembly and Armenian National Assembly Nikolay Ryzhkov on June 20 at the Yerevan Linguistic University. Ryzhkov is in Yerevan to give a fresh impetus to Russian-Armenian relations.

Ryzhkov is among the few former Soviet political elite who enjoy great popularity among Armenia’s–especially among those in the earthquake zone.

Armenia’s still remember the pain and sadness on the face of this man when he was instructing major help to Armenia in 1988. He actively participated in the elimination of the consequences of the earthquake. A monument to Ryzhkov will be unveiled in the town of Spitak on June 21.

"The name of Nikolay Ryzhkov will stand in one row with Johannes Lepsius–Fritiof Nansen–Franz Werfel–Valery Brusov–with all those–who were near the Armenian people at difficult times," said Suren Zolian–the Rector of the Yerevan Linguistic University.

Nikolay Ryzhkov stressed that now he tries to avoid trips abroad and there are only two countries–which he visits with great pleasure. Armenia is the first of them: "Love connects me with Armenia–we got to know each other not by photos but by deeds. The heavy year of the earthquake made me feel quite attached to the Armenian people–with which we made acquaintance during the hard time."

Now Ryzhkov is a co-chairman of the Russian State Duma and co-chairman of Russian-Armenian inter-parliamentary commission for economic cooperation. He was given a warm reception in the Armenian parliament by Deputy Speaker Gagik Aslanian and members of the commission. Russia’s Ambassador to Armenia Anatoly Dryukov was also present at the meeting.

The interlocutors attached particular importance to the agreement on allocation of Russian diamonds to Armenia for five years–which–according to Ryzhkov–will be approved by Russian federal Assembly next week.

Referring to the activity of interparliamentary commission on cooperation–Ryzhkov informed that the next session will be held this autumn. According to him–during the session mainly economic issues concerning the possibilities of cooperation between Armenian and Russian substructures will be discussed. Before the session the commission will try to determine a framework of issues of bilateral interest.

He criticized the new world order implanted by the US: "I don’t understand why after the September 11 events the American bases began to be deployed in Central Asia–which is in the influence zone of Russia. I don’t understand why Turkish presence is being increased in Georgia."

Answering a question after the meetings about the current policies carried out by Russia in the Caucasus–Ryzhkov answered: "We should work more productively–these are our geopolitical allies. Armenia is our top ally in the Caucasus."

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