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Yana Amelina: The West or Russia, that is the question

ArmInfo’s interview with Yana Amelina, senior research fellow at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies

  • by David Stepanyan

  • Friday, June 6, 17:43

 The EAEU is often called a 'union of dictators' for the known reasons. In Armenia, there are concerns that accession to the EAEU will deteriorate the problems with democracy…


I don’t think that the EAEU is ‘often’ called as a 'union of dictators.'  No one except liberal journalists uses such expressions. I don’t know what ‘known reasons’ do you mean, but Russia, Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan are known in the world as rather democratic countries. There is no limit to perfection, though. Nevertheless, speaking of dictatorship is rather odd in such case. I don't think that accession to this inter-state union that, unfortunately, has only one - economic component, may create any problems with democracy. Are there any restrictions on the free elections, peaceful assemblies or independent press in Armenia? Does the EAEU seek to make such restrictions? At least, look at how openly we discuss all this. Doesn't it mean that everything is good?  We should not consider the West as the etalon of democracy, should we?


Member of the Board - Minister in charge of the Development of Integration and Macroeconomics Tatiana Valovaya has recently expressed confidence that Armenia's joining the Eurasian Economic Union will increase the investment attraction of the republic and Armenia will become a field for the Customs Union states and other states to make investments. However, it is not clear, how Armenia's joining the EAEU is beneficial to the rest members of the Union in the economic sense. Or maybe politics will recompense everything?


I fully agree with Valovaya that it is really beneficial to Armenia to join the EAEU. As for the political component, the situation on Armenia's joining the EAEU is rather simple.  The complex geo-political situation in the world requires strict definition: the West or Russia, that is the question! And if the Russian Federation ensures Armenia's military security, and de-facto, its existence as a state, is there any sense to try to have good relations with permanent enemies of Russia?

  A few days ago Ambassador of Russia to Armenia Ivan Volynkin told journalists that the sale of TOS-1A heavy flamethrower systems and T-90 tanks to Azerbaijan was nothing but commerce. Won’t that Russian-Azeri "commerce" lead to a new war in Nagorno-Karabakh in light of more and more incidents reported from the border?  


 Commerce is certainly a vice. Let's assume that our Ambassador has used a wrong word. The real problem here is that Azerbaijan can afford buying arms and not only from Russia and that war is the only way for the Azeris – at least in theory – to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh problem in their favor. There will be the threat of a new war in Nagorno-Karabakh as long as this conflict remains a geopolitical problem. 

 I think the conflicting parties should try to maintain the status quo. But the world is changing as quickly as is growing the number of insane politicians and journalists. All this is fraught with both local and global risks, which has been proved by the events in Ukraine.

 Experts are seriously concerned over the high threat of the rapidly developing crisis in Ukraine to the U.S.-France-Russia cooperation over Karabakh conflict as part of the OSCE MG…


Frankly speaking, I cannot understand what cooperation is in question. I think the fruitless meetings of the OSCE MG Co-Chairs will be continued also in future. They will adopt no decisions. This became evident yet long ago. Nevertheless, an inefficient negotiating format is better than military actions," she said for conclusion.


The first meeting with the president-elect Petro Poroshenko with Barack Obama openly indicated that  neither the loss of Crimea nor the threat of the country’s spliting into two parts is able to re-orientate Kyev from the West to the East. What scenario of developments do you anticipate?


What we are witnessing in Ukraine is a real civil war. Much there will depend on what Russia will do. More and more people are showing  displeasure with the Kremlin's policy and demand more active interference in the events in Ukraine on both diplomatic and military levels. And this is natural as most of the Russians regard Ukraine as part of the all-Russian mental and geopolitical community and have lots of friends and relatives in that country.


The bloodshed continuing in Ukraine for several weeks already is horrifying and I am sure that Russia must interfere. Time will show in what a form this will be done. In any case, the political and economic chaos in Ukraine will continue to grow and this is fair: those who have voted for Petro Poroshenko are worthy of this. Anyway, I have no doubts that Ukraine will finally come under Russia’s influence and join the EAEU as a full member of it.

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