By Rashid Shirinov
Following the the new wave of Western sanctions against Russia, Armenians have once again raised the issue of country’s possible exit from the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) to preserve the remains of Armenia’s collapsed economy. Armenian MPs and experts keep noting the need of leaving the Russia-led structures.
In 2015, Armenia became the fourth full-fledged Member-State of the Eurasian Economic Union together with Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. For most Armenians, this meant only more economic pain as the country needed to adjust tariffs and trade rules.
The well-known Ukrainian expert and economist, Alexander Okhrimenko, commenting on the issue, ruled out the possibility of Armenia’s exit from the Russian integration structures.
“For now, the exit of Armenia from the EAEU or from any other Russian structure can be considered only hypothetically,” Okhrimenko said. “Anti-Russian sanctions of the West cannot but affect the economy of Armenia, they have connection; all the economic control levers of Armenia are in hands of Moscow.”
Moreover, the West is not interested in Armenia. Neither Europe nor the United States are interested in the problems of Armenia, in the country’s dilapidated economy, according to him.
“Integration into the European community is a dream for Armenia. Armenian politicians should address the pressing problems, and not cheat poor Armenians with meaningless illusions about European integration,” Okhrimenko noted.
The expert pointed out that the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains the only reasonable step for the recovery of the Armenian economy and the wayout for the country’s political isolation.
“The reason for the troubles in which this country remains for many years is the obstinacy of the Armenian leadership, which impedes by any means the negotiation process,” he said.
Azerbaijan has long ago stated it is ready to settle the conflict through negotiations with Armenia with mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. However, the Armenian side is constantly trying to make up reasons to avoid a constructive dialogue and preserve the unacceptable status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Okhrimenko noted that as long as the authorities of Armenia delay substantive negotiations with Azerbaijan and try to keep the status quo indefinitely, the problems of this country will only increase.
The Armenian society has long been speaking about distressing unemployment, endless outflow of people from the country, and many other problems. As a result, Armenia lost thousands of people, and very soon the country may turn into a state of elders and the disabled.
“The negligence of the authorities to the situation in their own country and to their citizens became the reason of serious problems,” Okhrimenko said. “The problems are not solved, but instead accumulated like a snowball, and this is being reflected in the welfare of the general population.”
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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