Kremlin calls anti-Sargsyan protests Armenia's domestic affair

Kremlin calls anti-Sargsyan protests Armenia's domestic affair

The opposition rallies in Armenia are a domestic affair and any hypothetic deliberations on possible Russian meddling in this situation are irrelevant, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"This is absolutely Armenia’s domestic affair, this is all I can say," Peskov said when asked if Russia saw a threat of destabilization in the region amid the protests in Armenia.

"Why should Moscow interfere?" he said, noting that any hypothetic deliberations are absolutely irrelevant.

"We are carefully watching what is going on in Armenia. Armenia is our closest ally and we have been developing very close relations with it. Armenia is a member-state of the Eurasian Economic Union and therefore this country is important for us and we are carefully monitoring the events there," TASS cited Peskov as saying.

Peskov declined to say if Yerevan requested consultations with the Kremlin in connection with the events in Armenia. The spokesman said that Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier congratulated Armenian President Armen Sarkissian and Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan on their election.

Touching on a possible introduction of a special regime at the Russian military base in Gyumri, the spokesman said this was a matter of the Russian Defense Ministry.

The director of the Institute of Contemporary Economics Nikita Isayev, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the protests in Yerevan are being held without any anti-Russian slogans, therefore the unrest in Armenia do not affect Moscow's interests. "This is absolutely Armenia’s domestic affair, and I think that Russia will not interfere in it in any way. Yes, it is clear that Serzh Sargsyan is perceived as a pro-Russian politician, strategic relations with Armenia were built under his rule, but now there is an understanding that Serzh Sargsyan's prospects can be very sad, and the level of protest moods can demolish his regime," he said in the first place.

"In such conditions, unlike the Kiev Maidan case, there is no sense for Russia to support one of the sides, hence Peskov's accurate statements on this issue, because both the European Union and the US already made statements yesterday," Nikita Isayev warned.

At the same time, the director of the Institute of Contemporary Economics drew attention to the possibility of Armenia's shift to the West if the protesters succeed. "One of the claims of the society to Sargsyan is that he is a Russian puppet. If new people come to power in Armenia, they will take this fact into account and try to distance themselves from Moscow. Sargsyan is also shifting to the West slowly, but possible new Yerevan will make the West a priority, which will weaken communication with Moscow, and this will affect the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and it is impossible to predict what will happen there," he concluded.

Head of the Department of Political Science of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Gevorg Mirzayan, in turn, expects that no change of power in Armenia will change the nature of the republic's relations with Russia. "The change of Serzh Sargsyan to any more or less sane Armenian politician will lead to the fact that this politician will also be pro-Russian. Armenia has no other political vectors and orientations now except for Russia. No one else can guarantee Armenia security and markets. Russia, in turn, respects Armenia's position and will respect its choice," he said.

"Russia does not interfere in the internal affairs of its allies. We do not stand on the side of the protesters, because we are not engaged in regime change, but we respect the constitutional protest of citizens. We do not stand on the side of power, because we respect the right of people to express their point of view. As long as the situation has not turned into a bloodshed, Russia will consider it as Armenia's domestic affair," Gevorg Mirzayan summed up.