Reporting from Armenia: Artur Papyan
One of Armenia’s wealthiest businessman and leader of “Bargavach Hayastan” (Prosperous Armenia) party Gagik Tsarukian has backed the initiative of his party’s youth wing to hold the First Eurasian Youth Conference in the Armenian resort town of Tsakhadzor on August 22-27.
According to the official press-release disseminated by the Prosperous Armenia party, the conference will host delegations from 14 countries to discuss the idea of establishing a Eurasian Union. A special declaration will be signed at the end of the conference.
The Eurasian Union (EAU) is a proposed economic and political union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan and other Eurasian countries, in particular the post-Soviet states.
The idea, based on the European Union’s integration, was brought to attention in October 2011 by the Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin. On 18 November 2011, the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed an agreement, setting a target of establishing the Eurasian Union by 2015. The agreement included the roadmap for the future integration and established the Eurasian Commission (modeled on the European Commission) and the Eurasian Economic Space, which started work on 1 January 2012.
Armenia’s official position on the EAU has been cautious so far. As RFE/RL puts it: “The absence of common borders has been the main declared reason for Armenia’s refusal so far to join the customs arrangement which Putin hopes would form the backbone of a future Russian-led “Eurasian Union” of former Soviet republics. Top Russian officials have actively promoted the would-be union during recent visits to Yerevan, fueling speculation that the Sarkisian government is under growing pressure to embrace the idea.”
Gagik Tsarukian’s “Prosperous Armenia” party has said in the past, that it supports, in principle, Armenia’s accession to Eurasian Union. “Prosperous Armenia” is the second most influential party in the Armenian parliament which is posing as a competitor to the ruling Republican party. With increasingly frank pro-EAU declarations (read pro-Russian, pro-Putin), Tsarukian might be looking at Russia’s support strengthening its foothold in the Armenian politics and even directly challenging incumbent president, Republican party leader Serzh Sargsian in the upcoming elections due February 2013.
PS: For the record – I kind of hate the idea of going back to the USSR, which the Eurasian Union is sure to become if Putin is to have his ways with Russia throwing around petrodollars and the gas-stick. No, thank you very much! I’d rather stay independent, even if shaky and dependent on Russia as it is now.