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Pashinyan optimistic about Armenia’s relations with Russia

Russian and Armenian leaders meet in Moscow

The Kremlin hosted a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

The Russian leader stated in his welcoming speech that relations between the two countries have been special over the centuries:

“Relations between Armenia and Russia are developing steadily in all directions. This concerns the political relations, military, security issues and economic cooperation spheres.”

Pashinyan, in turn, confirmed that the parties are going to discuss a whole range of issues that have recently surfaced in the relations between Yerevan and Moscow:

“God forbid being in a situation where there are no issues. This means that there is no relationship either. Russia and Armenia have no unsolvable problems. Our countries rely on the principles of respect for the interests of each other’s affairs and non-interference therein. We are determined to develop relations further, not only bilaterally, but also within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization [EEA and CSTO operate under the auspices of Russia – JAMnews].”

He also said that, despite the problems, relations between the countries are developing dynamically:

“Despite some pessimistic opinions presented in the Armenian and Russian media and on social networks, I think that our relations are developing very dynamically, very naturally.”

This is the third meeting between the two leaders since the Armenian revolution earlier this year.

The Russian media previously reported that the Kremlin intends to discuss the topic of the persecution of former leaders of Armenia with Pashinyan. In particular, the criminal charges made against former President Robert Kocharian and former Minister of Defence Mikael Harutyunyan.

Moscow is also unhappy with the current situation concerning CSTO Secretary General Yuri Khachaturov, one of the defendants in the same high-stakes case as Kocharyan and Harutyunyan, who is accused of usurping power. The other CSTO members believe that the incident has caused serious damage to the reputation of the organisation.

Robert Kocharyan was the President of Armenia from 1998 to 2008. He was arrested in connection with the events that took place on 1 and 2 March 2008: Following the presidential elections of 18 February 2008, supporters of the first president of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, demanded an investigation into the election results, claiming that Levon Ter-Petrosyan had won the election instead of Kocharyan. Thousands of protesters occupied the central square of Yerevan, taking part in round-the-clock demonstrations until 1 March.

On 1 March, military-grade weapons were used to disperse the crowds. Eight civilians and two police officers were killed in the process. Kocharyan was still president of the country at the time. According to data from the Central Electoral Commission, President Serzh Sargsyan was elected. However, he had not yet taken office.

Another topic on the agenda was the purchase of Russian weapons by Armenia.

After the story with Yuri Khachaturov, information appeared that Russia might refuse to implement a loan agreement for the delivery of weapons worth USD 100 million.

However, Russian Deputy Minister of Defence Alexander Fomin said that ‘this information [was] incorrect’.

Armenian political scientist Alexander Iskandaryan believes that this meeting is an opportunity to resolve differences between Moscow and Yerevan:

“The policy of interaction between post-Soviet countries is not made by ambassadors or even heads of foreign ministries, but at a personal level between heads of state. More than one visit will be required to establish reliable contact [between the heads of state]. I do not think that everything will be fine in Russian-Armenian relations. But weapons, it seems, will continue to be supplied. And this shows that no-one is going to burn bridges in Russia or make emotional statements.”

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