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'Outpost syndrome' in Armenia

05 May 2010 [14:00] - TODAY.AZ
Armenian politicians are still not able to assess their political plans from the viewpoint of the current geoeconomic reality.

Today, the major political news for entire former Soviet Union area is the upcoming May 9 events, which will mark the sixty-fifth anniversary of the end of World War II. Russia is set to hold a parade on Red Square, which will for the first time involve representatives of CIS countries and members of the anti-Hitler coalition.

The regular informal CIS summit is most likely to be held at the same time. Among other things, the summit will also discuss economic projects.

Prior to the Moscow summit, Armenian officials put forward a revolutionary idea, saying Armenia should join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Yerevan has not yet thought out how this should take place because Armenia has a common border with none of the states included in this Customs Union. Armenia has no access to the sea either. The presence of a common border or access to the sea is a basic requirement for membership in any military or economic union. Otherwise everything will remain at the level of declarations.

But Yerevan does not lose heart. Officials say the customs examination system in Russia's Kaliningrad must be introduced and, Armenia, which borders Iran, and has well-organized communications in the Middle East, should be used a as a "platform" for the Customs Union when dealing with these regions. Yerevan has failed to remember that Kaliningrad has access to the sea and it is also an ice-free port.

Yerevan’s confidence that the Customs Union cannot do without a "platform" like Armenia is good a subject for a parody. Armenia hopes that the Customs Union will grant a "special status" to the country for its willingness to participate in the union whereas there is presently no need for such foreign economic activity.

Another thing is that Armenian "commerce" in the Middle East is still based mainly on highly sensitive operations, such as detonators for the Lebanese party of Hizbollah, which were carried from Tehran to Yerevan in a Caspian Airlines passenger aircraft that crashed in Qazvin after the cargo exploded on board the plane. This kind of trade really needs a "platform,” a staging post which will draw no suspicion. However, legal trade requires transparency.

To tell the truth, Armenia is concerned about something else entirely. It is worth remembering that in February 2009, almost simultaneously with a drastic drop in the dram, Yerevan cautiously explored possibilities of Armenia’s inclusion to the ruble zone. All these efforts to integrate the country into the Customs Union, the ruble zone or somewhere else pursue a single goal – to force members of EurAsEC countries, notably Russia, to take Armenia’s ailing economies under maintenance in exchange for some "political achievements" and "strategic alliance.”

Given that a week ago Armenia solemnly withdrew from the Armenian-Turkish protocols, we can guess that in the near future anti-Turkish hysteria in Yerevan will only intensify.

And since slogans of "historical rights" are not enough, Yerevan needs financial infusions.

Apparently, EurAsEC is not inclined to engage in philanthropy at the national level especially when this philanthropy threatens to undermine relations with much more promising partners like Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Day.Az writer

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