In an interview with Lragir.am the deputy speaker of parliament and spokesperson for the Republican Party Edward Sharmazanov claimed that membership to the Eurasian Economic Union was not imposed on Armenia, and Armenia pursued its own interests. He repeated this several times, as if trying to persuade.
Apparently, the question of forcing Armenia is becoming key in the U.S. regional policy. The recent U.S. sanctions on Russia contain a clause on Russia’s pressure on different countries in one choice or another. However, a country must confess that it has been under pressure, and so far Armenia has officially denied being under pressure. It is possible that this is in contrast with the latent policy of the Armenian government which tells in private conversations with the West that its membership to the EAEU had been accepted under pressure, to receive financial and other assistance.
Definitely, there is pressure by Russia but the Armenian government and political class is also to blame, if not more. The authorities do resist Russian pressure in some matters but they follow the main line.
At one time, Yanukovich said that he is terrified every time he thinks about a meeting with Putin. Serzh Sargsyan also confessed at one time that it is not easy to deal with Putin.
So far, the United States pretended believing in the claims of Armenian officials that Russia is to blame but now the United States seems to need a public confession of pressure. And Armenia does everything to avoid this because otherwise it will appear on the other side of the barricade at once.
Pressure is becoming a key issue. If there was pressure, the United States can help get over it, if there was not pressure as the authorities claim, there is no need to expect help. After all, the West is the main creditor of Armenia’s debt amounting to billions. In fact, Armenia’s claims that there was no pressure may produce the opposite impact. Armenia may lose not only the support of the West but also become its broken opponent.
On August 29 the presidents of Armenia and Russia congratulated each other on the 20th
anniversary of the treaty of strategic partnership between Armenia and Russia. The presidents pretended that everything is fine in the Armenian-Russian relations.
The Armenian-Russian relations are not only in the energy sector which Russia and the Armenian oligarchs are protecting from “intrusions by aliens”. They are not only the Russian military base the future of which is becoming hazy because the base must leave in Armenia all the ammunition and equipment as the fee for stationing free of charge in Armenia for 20 years.
Armenia has crossed the line of trusting Russia but has not reached the line of expressing concerns about pressure.