Moscow. Farid Akberov – APA. “By choosing the Customs Union, Armenia is moving towards the Eurasian Union,” former Russian Ambassador to Armenia Vyacheslav Kovalenko said at televised debate "The process of integration in the post-Soviet space. Armenia's Choice" between Yerevan and Moscow held in "Ria Novosti" international news agency, APA’s Moscow correspondent reports.
He said that relations with the European Union were blocking Armenia’s way to the Eurasian Union: “This step of Armenia meets the national interests of both Russia and their own. By joining this Union, investments of Russian businessmen in Armenia will increase and they will get more opportunities to freely learn the Russian language.”
Former Ambassador said that Russia doesn’t want to impede Yerevan’s establishing relations with Brussels: “Moscow wanted Armenia to establish relations with both the Eurasian Union and European Union. However, as the rival was so serious, Moscow took this step. I am sure that Russia will keep all its promises to Armenia.”
Armenian political analyst, Caucasus Institute Director Alexander Iskandaryan said that Yerevan's intention to join the Customs Union is purely a political decision: “Russia is a guarantee of Armenia's security. Armenia is a very important country for Moscow's presence in the South Caucasus. This decision has no economic benefit for Armenia. Unlike Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan that are the members of the Customs Union, Armenia's economy has not developed so much. They are exporting countries, but Armenia isn’t. Armenia does not have borders with the states of the Customs Union. Therefore, the economic benefits of joining this organization are out of question.”
Alexander Iskandaryan said that Armenia made this decision under Russia’s pressure: “Moscow has exerted strong pressure upon Armenia to pass this decision. With this decision, Yerevan has ensured its security through Moscow. There was no another alternative for Armenia and only matter was to ensure redline security and territorial integrity. Therefore, Yerevan was forced to choose this way.”
Alexander Skakov, chief of research group at Central Eurasia Research Center at Institute for Oriental Studies of Russian Academy of Sciences, regarded Yerevan’s decision to join the Customs Union as a political one. He said that Yerevan decided to join the Customs Union after getting security guarantee from Russia.
Alexander Markarov, the director for the CIS Institute’s Yerevan branch, said that Armenia’s decision to join the Customs Union will not give any economic benefit to Yerevan: “This decision only serves to strengthen political and military relations between Russia and Armenia. Of course, Armenia’s decision is related to ensure its security through Moscow.”