The Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta forecasts increasing “tensions” between Moscow and Yerevan in the wake of last year’s “Velvet Revolution” (that swept Nikol Pashinyan into the office of Armenia’s prime minister).
The author, Yuri Simonyan, says the Kremlin seeks “proofs of allegiance” from the new authorities to keep the developing strategic alliance high on agenda. Dismissing the possibility of personal tensions between Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the author cites, nonetheless, justified causes” raising concerns that the bilateral relations are “far from cloudless”.
Citing “well-informed” sources, the paper says that Russia’s trust in
Armenia’s new government is still “on shaky ground” in the light of
recent inspections in Russia-owned companies operating on the territory
“Certain statements, particularly those concerning attempts to establish military and trade ties with China or Sweden, have not undoubtedly gone unnoticed. But the inspections in facilities under Russian ownership could not have understandably contributed to a higher level of trust in the Armenian-Russian relations. Also, the criminal cases instituted against former officials linked to Russian political and business circles should be borne in mind,” Simonyan says, citing the prosecution against second President Robert Kocharyan, a “close ally” of President Vladimir Putin, as a high-profile case needing proper attention.
The author notes, at the same time, that Yerevan mutually has similar complaints in relation to the strategic ally, particularly in the light of the continuing Russian-Azerbaijani weapons dealing. “While Yerevan is worried over the surge in natural gas prices, Gyumri is beset by the incidents involving servicemen of the Russian military base …
“Against the backdrop of this, the absence of negotiations with Putin from the agenda of Pashinyan’s Moscow trip is really an alarming sign. The ‘shortage’ of Putin’s free time for Friday is not among the most pleasant news for Pashinyan. In Armenia, it will be interpreted as a double criticism against the prime minister,” says the analyst.
Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said earlier that no meeting between the two state leaders was scheduled as part of Pashinyan’s visit to Moscow. “To the best of my knowledge, no meeting is being planned. You know that they frequently communicate via telephone, as well as meet very often. Friday is a rather busy day for the president, and I do not know whether there will be any changes,” he told reporters in Moscow.
Pashinyan left for Moscow on Friday, January 25, to take part in the summit of the Eurasian Economic Commission. After his speech at the key interstate event, the chief of Armenia’s cabinet gave a news conference to elaborate on the ongoing and planned political and economic reforms in Armenia. Upon Russian journalists’ request, he addressed the Government’s negotiations with Gazprom (over natural gas prices) and the recent developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.