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Armenians rally as EEU entry approaches

04 September 2014 [13:45] - TODAY.AZ
By AzerNews

Hundreds of protesters marched on the streets of Yerevan on Sept. 3 to denounce the authorities' long-awaited dream to join the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

They blamed the Armenian government for the lack of legal authority.

"Strong powers, like Russia, will try to rule our country until Armenia lacks legitimate state power," said one of the protesters.

Protesters started rallying from the Freedom Square onwards to the presidential office, where they read out a petition.

The Russian parliament has ratified presidential order on Armenia's entry to the EEU.

However, the decision was not unanimously met in public as many people in Armenia opt for relations with Europe instead of Russia. Pro-European Armenians are the main driving force of the protests.

A member of the French branch of the Armenian Renaissance movement, Bagrat Apakelyan threatened to publicize the appeal against Armenia's entry into the EEU in other countries.

Armenian authorities with no further capability to improve the tough economic state of the country regard the Russia-led EEU as a tool to survive. President Serzh Sargsyan and Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan believe that Armenia's membership at the union could be helpful to address many social problems within the country. Political and economic dependence was the key reason to reject the relations with Europe in favor of the so-called Customs Union.

From the very beginning Armenia met some obstacle on its EEU plans as it was demanded to enter the union with the UN recognized border. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev was the first to protest against the post-Soviet country's intention to join the newly established organization by violating the UN principle. Later on Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov came out with a statement saying "Armenia will enter the Union with its UN-recognized state border and Sargsyan has confirmed it".

The move irritated aggressive forces in the country, even some accusing Serzh Sargysyan of losing the "political debates".

Armenia captured Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts from Azerbaijan in a war that followed the Soviet breakup in 1991. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and nearly one million were displaced as a result of the war.

Armenia's joining the Eurasian Customs Union will be decided at the Minsk talks on October 10, 2014. But could Armenia benefit from the union is the matter of time for people of the country with every third living in poverty.

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