Economists and political scientists sound off on recent Russia sanctions
New economic sanctions recently passed by the US Senate against Russia are being actively discussed in Armenia.
Political and other expert circles are trying to figure out just how the situation that has formed between the USA and Russia will affect a small country such as Armenia. Will Armenia suffer from the economic sanctions given that it is a part of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) which has formed around Russia?
Analysts believe that the consequences will not only be economic but also political.
Economists note that as a result of the sanctions, Russia’s economy will weaken, and because the Armenian economy is tightly linked and dependent on Russia, the negative consequences will be felt very quickly in Armenia.
“It’s no secret that the majority of Armenia’s residents are dependent on money transfers from Russia. If the rouble loses its value as a result of the sanctions against Russia, Russia will experience inflation and other issues. It is impossible that this would fail to affect money transfers, and people receiving them will be able to buy less products with the same amount of money,” said economist Vilel Kachatryan.
He noted that in the past two years, the number of money transfers from Armenia has significantly decreased already: from 2 billion a year to 1.3 billion.
Economists also say that Armenian exports to Russia may suffer, as the purchasing power of Russian citizens will shrink, less products will be able to make it to the Russian market and imports to Armenia await a similar fate.
Political scientist Gevork Melikyan agrees that Armenia is too tightly connected with the Russian economy, and a negative impact from the recession in the Russian economy is unavoidable.
“This will directly affect the economy of Armenia. I’m speaking about money transfers and import issues,” he said.
Melikyan noted that this event must become a signal for Armenia as to the necessity of diversifying its political and economic connections, in addition to strengthening its partnership with other countries.
As a result of the new economic sanctions, former Foreign Minister of Armenia Arman Navasardyan believes that it will now be more difficult for Armenia to maneuver between the USA and Russia.
Political scientist Levon Shirinyan meanwhile claims that such a situation may be beneficial for Armenia; he believes that Russia is being weakened under the force of the sanctions, and understands that it cannot have as strong a position as it might desire in the South Caucasus.
“Russia has a big appetite: widen, expand, conquer Donbass, Ukraine and Armenia. Do you not see how Russia is expanding, how it provokes fights in order to achieve its aims? The USA is trying to temper her appetite with these sanctions,” noted Levon Shirinyan.