While in the opposition, Pashinyan spoke out against Armenia’s membership in the Russian-lead Eurasian Economic Union. Now he feels differently
The newly-appointed prime minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, attended today’s meeting held by the Eurasian Economic Council in Sochi.
As a member of the opposition, Nikol Pashinyan harshly criticized Armenia’s membership in this organisation prior to his election.
However, Pashinyan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and said that Armenia is ready to develop relations with Moscow both politically and economically with renewed vigor.
“We also hope to develop our relations in the military-industrial field. We highly appreciate Moscow’s neutral position during the internal political crisis of Armenia,” Pashinyan noted.
Vladimir Putin in turn said that Armenia is a strategic partner of Russia and one of its most important economic allies, and congratulated Pashinyan on his appointment as prime minister. He also expressed his hope that the recent growth of over 25 per cent in trade turnover between the two countries would continue to grow.
Pashinyan emphasised that there is a strong consensus in Armenia about allied relations with Russia and that their importance never has and never will be put into doubt.
A few months ago while presenting the position of the Yelk [Arm. exit, way out] opposition party, Nikol Pashinyan said that Armenia has nothing to do in the EEU and that ‘the only reason Armenia is in the EEU is blackmail’, ‘the EEU has not brought Armenia any benefits whatsoever, only harm’ and that ‘Armenia has lost territory after entering the EEU’.
On 14 September 2017, the party, led by Pashinyan, put forward a bill to parliament on Armenia’s exit from the EEU. After parliamentary hearings were held, wherein the former authorities from the Ruling Republican Party put forward their counter-arguments stating that there was no need to leave the EEU, Nikol Pashinyan said that Yelk had presented ten solid points to the RPA’s two points about Armenia’s membership in the organisation.
After the ‘velvet revolution’ victory, Pashinyan did not make such harsh criticisms of the Eurasian Economic Union. Moreover, after putting forward his candidacy for prime minister, he said that the question of Armenia’s membership would not be put forward by his administration.
“When you are in the opposition which has no possibility to examine structural issues on an administrative level, that is with the current authorities, then one option you have is to raise issues to get a reaction.”
“When you’re in power, you have the possibility to document all the issues, to discuss and solve them with partner countries in an atmosphere of patient dialogue. I am sure that positive results will be achieved through such discussions. We will not raise the issue of Armenia’s exit from the EEU. But this does not mean that we are saying that there are no problems,” Pashinyan said.