Forced to be an Ally | Armenia


Most of analysts journalists met in Yerevan sounded quite pessimistic: joining the Eurasian Economic Union will most likely cost Armenia its independence. But despite of all the variety of opinions regarding the union with Russia (including strong protest against it), the life in Yerevan was calm and quiet. Only some 40 percent of parliament members came to the session to ratify the agreement, and only a dozen of people gathered in front of the parliament to protest against it.

There are several major reasons behind Armenia’s inevitable joining with the Eurasian Union and security tops the list.

‘Imagine that Azerbaijan begins a military operation against Armenia, and Russia just keeps being passive,’ Agvam Vartanyan, secretary of the ‘Armenian Revolutionary Party Dashnaktsutyun’ said while explaining the journalists how he managed to explain Armenia’s choice to his European colleagues.

Another important reason is Armenia’s economy, which ‘belongs to Russia’ as one of our Armenian respondents put it. An approximate number of Armenian citizens working in Russia estimates 1 million people; investments of wealthy Russia-based entrepreneurs of Armenian origin is also an important factor; and so is the low price for Russian gas Armenia pays.

However, certain political scientists predict that the union with Russia will not be effective or viable.

‘Even the supporters of the Eurasian Economic Union do not see any profit for Armenia, and do admit that it is a forced move,’ Stepan Safaryan, head of the Foreign Affairs and Security Institute, said, ‘I don’t see any grounds for Russia’s influence to be effective in Armenia.’

‘I am not sure this Union will exist in, let’s say, 10 years from now,’ Alexander Iskandaryan, head of the Caucasus Institute, told the media, ‘It used to be a Ukraine-oriented structure, and Armenia was never regarded as a potential member’.

Expedition participants:

Dimitri Avaliani, Tabula TV company, Tbilisi

Izida Chania, Nuzhnaya Gazeta newspaper, Sukhum/i

Malkhaz Gagua, Rezonansi newspaper, Tbilisi

Irina Kelekhsaeva, Ekho Kavkaza radio, Tskhinval/i

Mari Nikuradze, Ftwatch online magazine, Tbilisi

Tea Topuria, Radio Liberty, Tbilisi