by David Stepanyan
Armenian complementarity has temporarily hidden, not "died out," says Sergey Markedonov, a visiting fellow in the Russia and Eurasia Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Talking to ArmInfo, Markedonov said that Yerevan's cooperation with Brussels and Washington has not disappeared, as the leadership of Armenia has benefits from that vector of cooperation, at least from preventing monopolization of the Caucasian topics in the West by Azerbaijan as well as using the Diaspora resources. Therefore, Yerevan has just highlighted different key points in its policy laying the emphasis on Russia. I don't think that anyone of Serzh Sargsyan's opponents would do that better or in a different way," the analyst said.
In this light, Markedonov recalled the concern of Moscow's partners in the Customs Union over Yerevan's choice. For instance, he said, Nursultan Nazarbayev publicly expressed his concerns that the Karabakh conflict and the integration processes might be linked. Markedonov said that Ukraine's crisis has certainly changed Astana's views, but concerns remain.
"One should not forget that Russia's key ally in the region, Armenia, is going to access the Customs Union, unlike Baku and Tbilisi.
Moreover, Yerevan has no enough economic reasons to join the CU. It is natural that the conflict with Azerbaijan and the closed border with Turkey outweigh thousands of other rational and estimated factors," Markedonov said. At the same time, he thinks Armenia's leadership would try to choose another vector of development if security had no such extremely big importance for the country.
"In this light, I cannot but agree with my Armenian colleagues who consider the CU and Eurasian integration generally political and not economic projects. The crisis in Ukraine and the precedent of Crimea have even more outlined the contradictions between 'both' and 'either:or' formulas and even more politicized Yerevan's choice.
Nevertheless, considering Armenia's decision to access the CU, it is necessary to take into account that the formula of exclusive choice was promoted by no one by Europe," Markedonov said for conclusion.