Serzh Sargsyan's Last Battle: Moscow Doesn't Believe in Tears

    • Comments - 02 November 2017, 21:02
Ahead of his announced November 15 visit to Moscow Serzh Sargsyan held an interview with RIA Novosti focusing on economic issues. Serzh Sargsyan presents the pink prospects open up in the Armenian-Russian and Eurasian economic cooperation in different sectors, ranging from agriculture to technology.

Interestingly, Sargsyan spoke about such prospects on 3 September 2013 in Moscow when he announced about the intention to join the Eurasian Union. It was then that they talked about huge investments that Russia would do in Armenia.

Instead, the Armenian economy appeared in a more difficult situation and the Russian investments remained a Eurasian fairy tale.

Currently Serzh Sargsyan is again speaking about big prospects for investments. Interestingly, he is doing this ahead of another event or an expected event – the ceremony of signing the framework agreement with the EU.

The situation is not similar to that in 2013 but there are terms for comparison. Is Serzh Sargsyan likely to turn away from the EU agreement when he speaks about the promising future of economic relations between Russia and Armenia?

Sargsyan’s visit to Moscow was viewed in the context of the expected signing of the framework agreement with the EU, especially provided the controversial news flow about the destiny of this agreement on the recent days. Of course, Moscow did not appear in these flows, and technical or political issues in the “field” of the EU were referred to but it should not be ruled out that Moscow’s influence could be behind these issues. Especially that Azerbaijan’s influence was referred to openly. And in such cases Azerbaijan cannot do anything without the Russian support. Baku even managed to get Safarov from Hungary with Russian support.

Moreover, the situation is sensitive in the sense that Russia itself is not a country with institutional governance. There, one person’s mood and intention rules and several groups and circles are constantly working to influence that person.

Hence, this one person may not see an issue in the EU-Armenia agreement but different people may try to persuade that the problem exists. Hence, Serzh Sargsyan is facing the need for “counteraction” towards the one person until the very last minute to assure that there is no reason for concerns.

Technically, there is no prospect for any huge and reassuring investment either unless the issue of government in Armenia is resolved, and his interview on the bright future of Armenian-Russian economic cooperation, the Eurasian opportunities perhaps intended to show “one person” that Armenia is not dissatisfied with the economic relations with Russia and does not intend to question them and is not thinking about replacing them with the EU.

In other words, the opposite is possible: Serzh Sargsyan’s statement on potential investments is an attempt to protect the document from possible resistance rather than replacing another EU-Armenia agreement with Eurasia.

In addition, one can notice that Brussels is also working in this direction. A few days ago Commissioner Johannes Hahn stated in Tallinn that the document will be signed during the summit in Brussels and it is not directed against a third country.

The EU-Armenia agreement will be subject to Moscow’s moods until its signing, both directly and indirectly. Hence, it will be necessary to work until the very last minute to ensure that Moscow has no reason to be upset.

It is beyond doubt that during his visit to Moscow Serzh Sargsyan will prioritize his own political plans relating to the government of Armenia as well. Therefore, he is interested in demonstrating his satisfaction with the relations with Russia, and the only thing that he expects is timely supply of weapons.

On the other hand, the signing of the framework agreement with the EU is a process that has an essential political importance for Sargsyan’s plans, and if someone wishes to thwart his plans, including via Moscow, the agreement with the EU could be considered a target that, if missed twice, may harm Sargsyan’s political plans significantly.