by David Stepanyan
The statement made by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Moscow in Dec 2013 has questioned the future of integration in the post-Soviet area, independent Russian expert Sergey Markedonov said in an interview to ArmInfo.
According to the expert, Nazarbayev has two motives for making such a statement: first, he gives quite a high priority to economic ties with Azerbaijan and, second, he is very much afraid of separatism in any form. Russia, on the contrary, is very much interested in seeing Armenia as part of the Customs Union since the Armenians were very close to initialing an association agreement with the EU. The other reason why the Kremlin was so active in pushing Armenia into the Customs Union is that it was afraid of a defeat in Ukraine.
So, in Markedonov's opinion, Russia is now facing a choice between its key partner for Eurasian integration, Kazakhstan, and its key foothold in the South Caucasus, Armenia.
To remind, during a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Moscow on Dec 24 2013 Nazarbayev linked Armenia's accession to the Customs Union with the Nagorno-Karabakh problem.