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The Europeans Brought Armenia Closer to Customs Union: Opinion

The Karabakh issue can be resolved if Russia, the EU, and Azerbaijan come to an agreement, and the resulting decision is not contrary to Iran's interests, said expert on electoral and political affairs Armen Badalyan, in conversation with Epress.am. 

According to him, it's meaningless to talk about returning to the Karabakh negotiating table at this time — this is nothing other than self-delusion, since second president of Armenia Robert Kocharian removed the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh from the negotiating table, turning the conflict into not a question of self-determination, but a territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Now, according to Badalyan, even Armenia's participation is limited, as the Russian Federation has a great influence on Armenia's foreign policy. In his words, given this fact, the Sargsyan-Aliyev meeting cannot be discussed, which was simply a regular round and de facto did not yield any results. 

"On Sept. 3, Russia's president informed Armenia's current president about his decision to make Armenia a member of the Customs Union. And [Armenian President] Serzh Sargsyan informed Armenian society about Russia's decision.  From that day on, it became obvious that Armenia's sovereignty was restricted, and hereinafter Russia has a big impact on Armenia's foreign policy, whether that be in EU-Armenia, Iran-Armenia, US-Armenia or other relations," he said. 

Badalyan believes that it's obvious that Armenian news outlets were given "state orders" to blame Putin for what happened, trying not to make Serzh Sargsyan appear guilty or a victim of criticism. "In fact, Russia decided for Armenia because of the current situation in the country, for which Serzh Sargsyan is to blame. It is the current administration's fault that 95% of Armenia's citizens are dead from a political point of view," he said. 

According to Badalyan, the media reports that after four years of negotiations, Serzh Sargsyan "threw" the Europeans, while, in fact, it is because of the policy of European officials that Armenia will join the Customs Union. 

"Every time they would send Prescott or someone else to say that the elections in Armenia were a step forward, believing that with that one step they are bringing Armenia closer to the [EU] Association Agreement, [but] actually the opposite: with one step they were bringing [Armenia] closer to joining the Customs Union. They turned a blind eye to the political prisoners, the victims of [the events of] March 1 [2008], and fraudulent elections, leaving the people alone and having hope that Serzh Sargsyan will sign the agreement," he concluded.