Armenia Joins Russia-Led Eurasian Economic Union

MOSCOW (The Moscow Times)—Armenia officially joined the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) on Friday, banding together with Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus in a Moscow-led project meant to counterbalance the European Union.

Armenia officially joined the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) on Jan. 2.
Armenia officially joined the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) on Jan. 2.

As part of a deal signed last October, Armenia will have limited representation in the organization until the end of 2015. Three Armenian members will share one vote in the union’s governing body, the Eurasian Economic Commission, TASS news agency reported Friday.

Kyrgyzstan is also set to join the union on May 1.

Armenia’s entry into the EEU means it will have to gradually transition to a unified tariff system with the union’s other members, with 2022 set as the deadline for the full transition, TASS reported.

The country will have to negotiate with the World Trade Organization, of which it is a member, on its changing obligations in light of its new membership with the economic bloc of former Soviet republics.

The Armenian government had been set to clinch a free-trade deal with the EU until, following talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Armenian President Serge Sarkisian in 2013 abruptly decided to switch to the Russian-led Customs Union, a precursor to the EEU.

Trade economist Alexander Knobel told The Moscow Times previously that Armenia turned away from European integration after Russia offered it the budget price of $170 to $180 per 1,000 cubic meters on its all-important natural gas imports.

The Armenian economy is heavily dependent on Russia, the country’s largest foreign investor and trade partner as well as the source of vital remittances sent home to Armenia by migrant workers.

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  1. armenia don’t even think of joining We need to be with russia Europe economicly would make no sense and piss of russia our biggest arm supplier and trade partner

  2. Becoming a member of Eurasian Economic Union is the only sensible choice left to Armenia because of it’s landlock situation and also no sensible offers from any other source. It will also strenghten our security. However, strong economic and cultural ties with Europe and surrounding countries is also essential for a stronger economy and normal friendly relations.

  3. This is certainly not a surprise, and I have a feeling that this will benefit Armenia in the long run rather than the gloom and doom scenario many are talking about. Still, there are reasons for concern as well.

    For example, has the government of Armenia explored all the scenarios if the time ever comes where Russia will want Azerbaijan into the union as well? And what happens if Azerbaijan starts giving Russia some big advantages and in return demands lands from Artsakh? How about if Russia asks Armenia to hand over territories just for the heck of it “in the spirit of friendship” or “just like old times”? I don’t think these will happen, but from what Armenia has been through, blindly trusting (any country) should never be one of its free handouts or virtues, and I think Armenia needed a lot more time to do some “homework” with Russia, but unfortunately there was no time it seems and everything was done in haste.

    Just as an example, in the beginning of this process, the turanist “Turkic brotherhood” reared its ugly head when they started questioning Armenia’s membership and started talking about Artsakh belonging to Azerbaijan etc, when it was none of their business. This is one indication, where (given enough time to do some more careful planning), Armenia could have made it clear to Russia that it will not tolerate all that barking from Central Asia if it were ever to come up, and where Russia would have put them in their place before they even opened their mouths or caused trouble.

    Negotiations with Artsakh joining the union by default would have also been nice, but on the other hand it would be fun if Armenia plays their own games too where Artsakh would join the economic association agreement with Europe instead (with a lot of work and lobbying), since the independence process is taking too long. I don’t know how possible that is, but that would be a good one-two punch for our “neighbor”.

    • Hagop,

      You mentioned some of my concerns. Turkey and Azerbaijan have more to offer to Russia than Armenia in terms of purchasing power, larger markets for exports, oil and gas transit routes, etc. From a cynical point of view, for Russia’s needs, Armenia is a very useful thorn in the side of Azerbaijan. Having smaller states in your sphere of influence in conflict with each is one way to have control over them.

      With all the support that Armenia is getting from Russia, one needs to keep a realistic view. Russia is a major power and she will do what’s best in her interests.

  4. Armenia NEVER had a choice. It’s Russia or bust. We are wed to the Bear for better or for worst. Stop doing Uncle Sam’s work by fear-mongering and do your best to make the most out of Armenia’s relationship with the Russian Bear. At the end of the day, this is the formula we must all recognize: No Russia in Armenia = no Armenia in the south Caucasus. Armenia’s independence from Russia will only make Armenia dependent on Turkey. It’s that simple. Anyone that does not understand what I am saying is either deaf, dumb or blind – or a Western operative.

    God bless mother Russia, God bless our Hayrenik Armenia. And may God help protect the two hundred years old Russian-Armenian alliance from all enemies both foreign and domestic.

  5. Armenia is run by a small group of gangsters. No matter what the majority of the people which are poor will get nothing. Yes, Russia is the more logical choice but the few gangsters that own 90% of the country will benefit in any deal.

    • During the October Opposition rally in 2014 in Yerevan, all the leaders of opposition parties, except one, endorsed RoA Gov’s policy vis-à-vis EEU.
      The exception was the Heritage Party: surprise, surprise.
      The party was also the only one that voted against accession during the Parliamentary vote.
      Heritage gets about 5% in Parliamentary elections.
      That means that 95% of political Parties in RoA Parliament, duly elected representatives of the Armenian electorate, endorse Armenia’s economic union.

      I would like to paste below what one representative of RoA-ARF said:

      [ARF Dashnaktsutyun to vote for joining Eurasian Union]
      {YEREVAN. – Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Union is an examination that the country should pass according to “what does not kill me makes me stronger” principle, MP from ARF Dashnaktsutyun believes.
      Armen Rustamyan agreed with the assertions that Armenia could hold better talks while drafting a treaty on accession to the Eurasian Economic Union. “Today we must make decisions taking into account the situation. Armenia and NKR are in a blockade and in a state of war. The world is in a state of new Cold War. The struggle for influence between super powers has brought to direct confrontation. For Armenia, it is important to decide how to behave in this situation,” Rustamyan emphasized. The MP stressed that if we want peace, we should be prepared for war. The task is to hand over 42 thousand square kilometers of Armenian land to the next generation.“ If you do not have a better alternative for the security of the country, you should preserve the existing ones. Calm down, it’s a fact. For ARF this treaty is a solution for safety,” he resumed.}

      Read that again: “If you do not have a better alternative for the security of the country, you should preserve the existing ones. Calm down, it’s a fact. For ARF this treaty is a solution for safety,”

      Well said Mr. Rustamyan: nothing more needs to be said

      To drive home that point, I link below a remarkable piece I ran into at an obscure site run by a young Armenian-American.
      The author of the piece is one Sedrak Mkrtchyan, a journalist from Armenia.

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