While during the CIS and CTSO summits in Moscow Vladimir Putin said the CIS members are the main strategic partners of Russia, the European Commission announced about the roadmap it has worked out ahead of the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. The roadmap is called to boost by joint efforts the political association and economic integration of Eastern Partnership member states with the EU, said the EU commissioner for enlargement Stefan Fule.
“Armenia has achieved significant progress in the creation of conditions ensuring the start of negotiations over the creation of a Free trade zone. Overall, Armenia has progressed also regarding the human rights and democracy issues”, the European Commission report runs. It is noteworthy that the European Union called to ensure accessibility of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent territories to its representatives without any preconditions.
Today the Russian Vedomosti published an article of the Armenian premier in which he actually stated that the economic integration into the CIS is not beneficial to Armenia in the sense that they don’t have common borders and so this won’t boost economic growth in Armenia. He stated that Armenia’s cooperation with the European Union is much more beneficial since it changes Armenia to comply with the European standards.
“The agreement on free trade zone with the EU will ensure significant progress in Armenia and will enhance export and import,” says Tigran Sargsyan in the aforementioned article.
Actually, the forecasts of the analysts that the RPA faction will represent the European trend, while the Prosperous Armenia will represent the Russian trend, Heritage and Free Democrats the pro-American trend, turn out to be true. Despite supporters of the Eurasian Union on the Republican list, Tigran Sargsyan’s article shows that the RPA will be inclined for association with the EU.
What can Russia do to prevent such course of developments? The first statement has already been made. Dmitri Medvedev promised Serzh Sargsyan “to support by all means the social-economic development of Armenia.” This means that Russia may lend more money to Armenia “to save the economy”. A similar step was taken in 2009 when it became clear that Armenia’s economy cannot deal with the crisis alone. Later, this loan was referred to for hundreds of times as a symbol of the Armenian-Russian friendship.
Will Armenia accept the loan? Judging by Tigran Sargsyan’s interview, Armenia may refuse.
The strengthening of the CSTO may become an argument for Russia to attract Armenia. CSTO’s members facing security challenges, it serves as support to the ruling regimes in the member states. This time, the final resolution of the CSTO summit did not specify common challenges of member states.
Nursultan Nazarbayev stated that CSTO leaders discussed in a narrow circle further development of collective measures, including counteraction to threats and challenges coming from Afghanistan. The situation in the Near East, developments in Syria and Iranian nuclear issues were also among the discussed topics.
All this can hardly be called issues of vital importance for Armenia. But its authorities may be interested in Lukashenko’s statement: “No one will attack CSTO countries openly but many are eager to carry out coups.”