"I do not see the future of Armenia in EAEU" - Eurasia Diary from Armenia | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

23 August, Friday

"I do not see the future of Armenia in EAEU" - Eurasia Diary from Armenia

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Exclusive interview by Eurasia Diary with a well known Armenian filmmaker, social and political activist, co-chair of the social initiative < The European choice of Armenia>  Tigran Khzmalyan
-Mr. Khzmalyan, when in 2013, Armenia began negotiations with European union to establish closer ties, Moscow intervened into the negations process in its last minutes and convinces Yerevan to join customs union instead. With Russia nailing its position hard into the ground as the dominate player in Armenia, It seemed like, at that time, that the question of Armenia integrating into the European Union was closed.  Yet right now Brussels and Armenia got back to this question and are preparing for an  agreement < Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement >, which, judging on the situation, will be, signed without any major setbacks. What are your expectation from singing the contract between the EU and Armenia?
Another official attempt from Yerevan to resume the dialogue with the European Union, that is scheduled on November this year, which most likely is symbolic. In contrast to the agreement “euro-association” which was suppose to be signed in 2013 by Yerevan and Kiev, that was interrupted and torn apart as a result of the war in Ukraine and threats of war in Armenia- well this agreement is abstract enough. It does not contain specific commitments, deadlines and not even a formula for the integration of Armenia into the European Union. Meanwhile this document, is evidence for the will of both sides to continue the dialogue with a real  content at the first opportunity. What is that opportunity?
The annex of Crimea in 2014 helped Serge Sargosyan in his mission to convince the Europeans of his inability and against will actions when he at a sudden , scandalous “change of course” actions that caused at that time Armenia with EU in EEU. For this reason, the second approach is done much carefully, and the announcement of “Bar weights” where to go lower? Yet Russia has left our region twice for the last century – which means that it will leave and a third time – of course under political pressure, economic sanctions and ideological war. Meanwhile , our region(Transcaucasia – from the point of vew of Russia, greater middle east – from the point of view of USA, and south-east Europe, from our point of view) is centered too close to the middle of the geopolitical storm for the last few years, for them to neglect. Yeravan is close enough to Tehran, Erbil and Damascus, that to Moscow. But if Russia imposes the role of the outpost  and the besieged fortress on Armenia,  then it is much historically and traditionally preferable to be the peaceful bridge between east and west. This function, the west finds much appealing for Armenia, this is why the agreement holds much importance and is symbolic to us. 
- What will be the reaction from Moscow in the case of signing this agreement? 
Moscow always had a rich collection of means and ways of impact on Armenia and Armenians: from economical to military and psychological. In practice, all economy, energy and transport is owned by Russian public monopoly. Coming to reality, all weapons, shooting from both sides Armenian-Azerbaijani frontlines is sold by the Russians ( which meanwhile talks of their “peacekeeping” mission in this conflict) 
 - In your opinion, how will the close cooperation between Armenian and UE effect the relationship with EAEU countries? 
- A very negative opinion has grown towards the political aspects of EAEU in Armenia. This does not solely come from the weak and ineffective economical of this post-soviet structure, as much from the military-political support by non-“union” member states of EAEU, against non-aligned Azerbaijan.  The common opinion does not go into detail – on the specific features of the national Russian, Belarussian, and Kazakh politics, but harshly reacts, on what the Armenian opinion counts to be treason of the member union commitments – for example the trade of weapons or  voting in different international organizations. 
- What are the tendencies in the Armenian society towards the EAEU and the EU today? Are there more voices  for the cooperation with the EU or with the EAEU?
Armenia is not a free and democratic society, where polls and public opinion directly influence the adoption of political decisions by authoritarian authorities. However, it is impossible not to witness the  evident growth of critical and negative opinions , that were no unheard ten years ago , about  Armenia's dependence from the Russian monopoly  and the political zigzags of the Kremlin. First and foremost, the growing discontent in the country is fueled by unrelenting tension on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, which many see the unfriendly will of Moscow. Equally significance of the economic crisis that is gaining momentum in Russia, which leads to the collapse of  hopes of hundreds and thousands of Armenians who hoped to find work there and a decent life. The presence of a multi-million Armenian Diaspora in the West makes Armenia unresponsive to Russian anti-Western propaganda, as many themselves or, according to relatives, are aware of the incomparability of the social, economic and cultural status of the EU and the EEA.
- How do you see the future of Armenia in EAEU?
- I do not see it.

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