By Laman Sadigova
The current state of affairs between Russia and the West may impede Armenia's "dual policy” conducted for many years.
Used to hide behind Russia and to extort money from the West now the post Soviet country needs to interpret its priorities more clearly after the standoff between these two great powers.
Armenia, which bows to its “big brother” Russia for much of its history, does not forget about the West, which occasionally turns its gaze to this poor South Caucasus country. The shadow of the U.S. over Armenia, and increasing need to engage in multiple “partnerships”, created a sense of urgency to clarify the parameters of the cooperation with Russia.
Armenia lacks any resources or economic scenario, its aggressive policy towards neighboring countries led to its blockade with Turkey and war with Azerbaijan, which lands are still under Armenia’s occupation. Russia remains the only vital link of the country with the outside world.
Indeed, the Russian support is the only reason this country still remains “afloat”. The northern giant receives the largest Armenian migrants and is the largest source of remittances, which accounted for more than one fifth of the national income in Armenia in 2014.
Despite the transfers from Russia had negative dynamics in 2015, these funds are still the main income of the population. In addition, Russia sells natural gas to landlocked, energy-poor Armenia “at quite a good price,” as Sargsyan stressed.
At the same time, Armenia receives “free assistance” from the West, assuring that this has no effect on relations with Russia. In fact, now, even those light handouts have ceased to exist.
The country is now left offside, without financial aid and political support. Armenia is torn between those who support alliance with Russia and those who think that the West is most likely to save the country.
But, the reality is in that in the current situation nobody needs this poor and instable country. Its decision to join the EEU was made under the guidance of Russia and brings no benefits despite wordy promises. Nobody needs Armenian goods and its economy is falling down day by day. Yerevan faced an unexpected failure in its aspiration to get a lion share in the Northern Giant's consumer market and what is the worst the amount of transfers from Russia plummeted by nearly 40 percent.
The official statistics say that the trade turnover of this post-Soviet country decreased by 5.6 percent in 2015. The main share of trade reduction fell on the retail trade, which declined by 4.6 percent.
If earlier the question was whether Russia would allow Armenia to cooperate with the West, now neither of them needs this post-Soviet country.
The economic crisis forces to hold on the intended path firmly, but what to do if Armenia has never had any certain plan?