Armenia: With EU Deal, Romancing Both Brussels and Moscow
Moscow appears angling to reinforce Armenia’s shaken commitment to the Russia-centric economic space, the Eurasian Economic Union, ahead of a key deal between Armenia and the European Union.
On October 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin gathered together in Dushanbe with leaders from nine post-Soviet countries, including Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, to discuss goings-on in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), a trade community cobbled together by Moscow as a response to the EU. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is expected to get deeper into the details of this communal economy during a visit to Armenia scheduled for sometime this month. Medvedev will be discussing ways to simplify the movement of goods between Armenia, Russia and the rest of the EEU.
Some see these discussions as part of a Russian campaign to reassure doubting Armenia that it made the right choice in 2015 to align itself economically with Russia instead of the EU. From the kickoff, the economic benefits of the EEU relationship have fallen short of Armenian expectations.
To counter disenchantment with the pact, Russian media has added its voice to the Kremlin’s efforts. Moscow’s state-financed Sputnik news service this week described the EEU as a chance, courtesy of Russia, for Armenia to restore its Soviet-era prosperity.