Heiko Langner: Armenia will not succeed in putting an end to isolation at zero tariff
The growth of anti-Russian sentiments is observed among Armenia's population due to the fact that Yerevan's bet placed on the integration into the Eurasian projects has not helped improve the socio-economic situation in the country, although there's another reason for the failure - the republic which occupies Azerbaijani territories is not able to establish an economy without settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Berlin political scientist Heiko Langner told Vestnik Kavkaza, commenting on the results of the Caucasus Barometer survey, which showed that Russia's reputation in Armenia was damaged.
According to him, the survey results show a long-term trend, which is less dependent on the current political agenda and expresses a decline in the population's tolerance for the climate of hopelessness prevailing in the country.
"Armenia's integration into the Eurasian Economic Union, dominated by Russia, has not yet led to an improvement in the situation of permanent economic underdevelopment. In particular, the situation in such economic sectors as industrial production and processing continues to show stagnation at a low level. Since Armenia has no direct border with Russia, the exemption from customs duties also hardly brings additional impulses. Moreover, a very close integration with Russia's economy leads to the fact that Russia's negative economic developments also have a direct impact on Armenia. Armenia's economy is not sufficiently diversified both in sectoral terms and in terms of foreign economic relations," the expert recalled.
The lack of proper diversification of the Armenian economy in terms of foreign trade is due primarily to the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. "Armenia's two neighboring states - Azerbaijan and its ally Turkey - have been keeping their borders with Armenia closed for the last two and a half decades and retaining economic embargoes against this country, which reduces the number of potential purchasing countries of their own export goods and further increases their transit costs. In addition, for a long time there has been a high rate of emigration of the population, and in particular of well-educated male specialists, due to which the Armenian economy is deprived of important human capital," Heiko Langner pointed out.
At the same time, Azerbaijan actively develops its ties with Russia, thereby strengthening its positions on the regional and international arena. "Despite the military alliance with Armenia, Russia is the largest supplier of arms to Azerbaijan. In recent years Moscow has significantly expanded its economic and political relations with Baku, which is logical in terms of Russia's strategic interests, but in Armenia it is perceived as an unreliability of the alliance partner and the risk to their own interests. The root of the Caucasus Barometer survey, therefore, is the growing disappointment about the real value of the alliance with Russia, as Armenia has not extracted sufficient benefits and has not solved any of its structural problems," the political scientist said.
Heiko Langner suggested conducting another poll with another focus. "It would be informative to study how to solve existing problems from the Armenian population's point of view. This requires an understanding by the Armenians that a greater willingness to compromise is needed to settle the political conflict with Azerbaijan. As long as Armenia continues the military occupation of Azerbaijan's territory, despite the clear decisions of the United Nations, good-neighborly relations and economic trade are inconceivable. Achieving peace and putting an end to isolation is not possible at a zero tariff," he concluded.