Fly in ointment: why is EU Association Agreement threat to Armenia?

Fly in ointment: why is EU Association Agreement threat to Armenia?

Yesterday, the historian and journalist Armen Gasparyan, speaking at Vladimir Solovyov's 'Full contact' on Vesti FM radio station, told about the problems, which may be caused by Armenia's signing the European Union Association Agreement during the Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels. In particular, he stressed the EU's desire to close the outdated Armenian nuclear power plant in Metsamor.

"As you know, any country which is starting to sign any treaty with the European Union must consistently get rid of the 'bloody legacy of the Soviet regime'. Everything that can be done from this point of view has been eliminated in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Moldova. Ukraine did it itself. They suggest Armenia to close Metsamor NPP, which gives heat to approximately 45-46% of the republic's population, and use alternative energy sources," he said, adding that Armenia simply does not have reliable ways to deliver comparable volumes of energy from other sources.

For Russia, in turn, there is a threat of closure of the 102nd military base in Gyumri. "I was doing some reading in the opposition Armenian press, and they immediately indicated the position as follows: on November 24, an agreement on European association will be signed - accordingly, until the end of the year we lose the base," Armen Gasparyan noted.

At the same time, rapprochement with the West through the EU Association Agreement opens for Armenia prospects for closer contacts with NATO. "In addition, some military personnel had an experience of participation in the war in Afghanistan on the side of NATO," he said.

It would inevitably bring into consideration the language situation in the republic, especially since the situation with Russian language in Armenia is deplorable now. "When I was on a business trip there for the last time, I found out that a significant percentage of Russian classes exist only on paper, that is, closed," Armen Gasparyan drew attention.

The journalist explained this by the fact that they do not consider it necessary to teach Russian in Armenian schools. "For those who really want to learn it, there are universities, but it does not work at the level of schools," he stressed.

One of the listeners of the program spoke about the problem of Russian language in modern Armenia even more vividly: "I returned from Yerevan three days ago, there are more signs written in English than in Russian, and the youth speaks English better than Russian, it's sad."

Armen Gasparyan also drew attention to the alienation of Russian Armenians in Armenia. "This is a generally painful topic. I once heard the following concept: despite the fact that they are proud of all these people, but since they do not live in Armenia, they do not have the right to speak on internal Armenian topics," he explained.

Armenia's European Union Association Agreement is not beneficial to both Russia and Armenia. Yerevan's formal rapprochement with the West will not entail any political or economic benefits for it, since for the European Union the republic is just another springboard for expanding Western influence to the East within the framework of the Eastern Partnership program.

At the same time, such a provocative step in the opposite direction from Russian integration projects will entail a weakening of Russian support for Armenia.

Russia recognizes Armenia as its strategic ally in the Caucasus and the Middle East - and Russia's ally tomorrow will sign documents on economic and political integration in the  European Union, a union of countries that has declared sanctions against Russia on a multitude of directions, that blocks Russian economic projects and peacekeeping initiatives in the international arena. Political scientists talk about Yerevan's attempt to keep a foot in both camps - but in this case these camps are located in different places of Eurasian geopolitics, and Yerevan will inevitably collapse into emptiness between them.

Does Yerevan understand it? We'll find out tomorrow.

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Vestnik Kavkaza

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