Armenia cannot stay away from Russia’s “toxic” policy
Ruben Tatulyan, a Russia-based entrepreneur with Armenian origin (a.k.a. Robson), who appeared on the December 2017 U.S. sanctions list for financing thieves-in-law, told the blogger Alexander Volov that he is a citizen of Armenia and Russia, has a diplomatic passport and drives a car with an Armenian diplomatic number plate because he is an adviser to the minister of foreign affairs of Armenia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not answered the question why Robson has received an Armenian diplomatic passport. He only said that Robson is not an adviser any longer. The spokesperson for the prime minister of Armenia has announced that Ruben Tatulyan is not a member of the Armenian Investors Club. However, nobody has denied that he has a diplomatic passport of Armenia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia does not specify the rules of issuance of diplomatic passports to people who live in Russia and are not directly related to the foreign policy of Armenia. Of course, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs may not be accountable to the public in Armenia but will have to advocate Tatulyan’s diplomatic passport from the U.S. sanctions or take it back and upset Robson.
The policy of sanctions against Russia has not bypassed Armenians and Armenia. The new U.S. sanctions on the Russian defense industry may make the third countries to stop buying Russian weapons, the analyst of the American Foreign Policy Council Stephen Blank told the Voice of America.
According to him, the major buyers of Russian ammunition, including Azerbaijan and Armenia, may be surprised. Sanctions may be applied against governments, he notes.
The director of the Atlantic Council John Herbst also thinks that those who do business with sanctioned companies must be ready for consequences.
Stephen Blank thinks that it is in Armenia’s interests to shake off the Russian economic handcuffs and establish equal relations with Russia, as well as the EU and the United States.
The United States has not submitted official claims to Armenia and its foreign policy but both Russia and Armenia are getting closer to hour X, and this moment may be used to give an account to Armenia.
Russia will hold presidential elections in March, and in February the United States may leak out information about Putin’s close oligarchs and their assets abroad. Although few doubt the outcome of the Russian elections, new sanctions may be painful.
In April Armenia will have a transition from presidential to parliamentary rule. An anti-Russian public and political discourse is maturing. This does not mean that Russia is bad. This means that the economic issues, rise in prices and other things in Armenia are due to Russia, as officials confess that Armenia has to carry the weight of sanctions introduced due to Russia’s “imperialistic policy”, the Deutsche Welle writes.
It is hard to tell whether this discourse will form until April and whether the new policy of Armenia will be built on it. It is obvious, however, that the new authorities in Armenia will need to keep away from the Russian “toxic policy”, at least out of their instinct of self-preservation.