Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 4 / Trend /
Trend commentator Elmira Tariverdiyeva
Looking at Yerevan's rushing between Russia's initiative on the Customs Union and an agreement on the association and free trade zone with the EU, one can recall the parable about a donkey which could not choose which one of two haystacks and died of starvation.
Although the donkey made a choice in this situation, this does not testify to the fact that it will survive. The fact is that from the legal point of view it is impossible to be a member of the Customs Union and to have an agreement on association and free trade with the EU. This means that Yerevan lost considerably again.
The fact that Armenia will try to placate Russia was obvious. Relations between the two countries have recently weakened because Yerevan began establishing trade relations with the EU. An agreement on the association and free trade zone between the EU and Armenia was to be initialled at Vilnius during the upcoming November summit which of course will slightly improve the deplorable situation of the country's people.
Armenia, along with Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova, quite actively were moving in the direction of initialling the Association Agreement in Vilnius. Brussels has recently even recognised Armenia as a leader of the programme in terms of reforms.
However, the Armenian authorities are completely indifferent about the living conditions of the people, but the Russian leadership's attitude to them personally is important. Yerevan is even more upset that relations between Baku and Moscow for many years remain friendly. Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent visit to Azerbaijan confirmed this.
Judging by the Armenian president's press service information, as soon as the Kremlin confirmed Putin's visit to Baku, Sargsyan started to pack his bags to fly to Moscow.
But the Armenian leader voiced his consent to join the Customs Union and at the same time sacrificed the relative prosperity of Armenian people.
The fact is that Armenia having no border with Russia, will gain little from joining the Customs Union. In fact, there is no economic feasibility for Armenia as a result of joining the Union. But one can understand the political implications of Yerevan's actions. Yerevan's logic is very simple - old friends and old wine is best.
So, if one agrees with Moscow's initiative, one can save friendship with a long-time ally and partner. Alas, Armenia has no idea about the balance policy, so the country's rushing about is fully justified. Well, a poor and a dependent country conflicting with its neighbours cannot be independent. In this case, it is necessary to bend or yield even in the issue of its own national interests.
As for Russia, Moscow needs poor little Armenia in the Customs Union only for political, rather than economic participation.
In this case, the Armenian president's team knew about the risks. The internal situation will deteriorate after Sargsyan's decision and will turn against him.
The fact is that on the one hand Sargsyan's team tried to succeed in the process of European integration. Now, the authorities will have difficulty to explain why Armenia joins the Customs Union instead of signing an association agreement and why ordinary people again became a bargaining chip in the bid for the big neighbour's good attitude.
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