On August 8, Serzh Sargsyan will interrupt his vacation to meet with Putin in Moscow. It is symbolic and noteworthy that the meeting will take place during his holiday. The meeting may turn out to be very tough, and Serzh Sargsyan may find it difficult to resume work. He might need several days to recover after the meeting.
Russian mass media and experts suggest the meeting will deal with issues relating to the integration of the post-Soviet space, namely the Eurasian Union.
Not a surprise. This is Russia’s declared foreign political priority.
Armenia’s decision to join this union or not is of key importance in terms of the South Caucasian direction. If Armenia decides to reject the proposal, the South Caucasus will not be represented to the union.
Russia has already launched a slow but mass offensive against the authorities of Armenia. Besides, the top Russian delegations which made statements in Armenia on behalf of Armenia, Russia has involved the half-ruling Prosperous Armenia Party in this game as well. The latter has assumed the role of carrying the torch on the way to the Eurasian Union.
Membership with the Eurasian Union will mean not only a fundamental threat to the sovereignty of the country but also a hindrance to deepening and institutionalization of relations with the European Union. Consequently, the national interest of Armenia requires a refusal to join the Eurasian Union, as well as a confirmation that the relations with Russia don’t need to be conditioned by acceptance or refusal of this proposal.
Besides, there is no doubt that the Sargsyan - Putin meeting may focus on the Syrian issue too. Sure, here, Armenia seems to be a minor subject of international politics regarding the Syrian issue but we should not forget about 100,000 Armenians living in Syria who manage significant resources and infrastructures in that country. The Armenian community is considered one of the pillars of the Syrian government.
Nevertheless, the Armenian community succeeds keeping neutral in the civil war avoiding direct involvement in the conflict.
The Russian policy on the Syrian issue, as well as the whole Arab chain, fails. It is not ruled out that Moscow would like to consider the Armenian factor as one of the measures of resistance of the Russian policy.
Meanwhile, the Russian experts stated in Armenia that it needs to be precise and direct and call for non-use of force. In other words, Moscow prompts Yerevan to make statements against the Syrian opposition which will end up with tough consequences for the Armenian community. Moscow is considering the option of direct involvement of the Armenian community in the conflict to use it against the Syrian opposition and against the West.
After all, involvement of the Armenian community in the game will result in tension about the Christians in the Syrian conflict shifting responsibility on the Christian West.
By the way, it has become known that the U.S. House is working on a bill to protect the Christians of Syria and if necessary support their evacuation. The bill particularly dwells on the necessity to help the Armenian community in Syria.
Apparently, Serzh Sargsyan will need to refuse Moscow to support the Russian policy on Syria. This will be tough. Actually, during the Moscow visit, Serzh Sargsyan will need to refuse Russia regarding two issues – the Eurasian Union and the Syrian issue.
Before leaving for Moscow, Serzh Sargsyan congratulated Barack Obama on his birthday. No doubt, the U.S. support is very important for Sargsyan at this stage. Will Obama help Sargsyan to avoid losses or end up with minimum loss in the Moscow meeting?
This will certainly be one of the most desired situations when you expect support from one great power in your relations with another great power. The most desired option for a state would be to enjoy the support of your own citizens in your relations with any super power.
But for this purpose a completely different domestic policy is necessary with governance based on absolutely different principles, values and thinking.
But the Armenian government is too far from this, so it needs to balance between Russia and the West, using one to deal with the other.
In the meantime, the interest of the government sometimes coincides with the national interest and the success of the government becomes the nation’s success.