Monday, February 27, 2017

Armenia after 25 years of Independence: Maintaining Stability in an Unpredictable Neighborhood

Russia International Affairs Council,

image from
Continual strengthening of the strategic alliance with Russia, regardless of the dynamics in the CSTO or Eurasian Economic Union, will continue to be a priority for any government in Yerevan. Yet it is important to open up new channels of interaction between Moscow and Yerevan and to remove Soviet-era mentalities on both sides, otherwise miscommunication will deepen over time, as seen with other post-Soviet countries. Just to bring one vivid example: in “The Strongman” (2013) Angus Roxburgh interviewed many experts and high-level politicians in Russia — and none of them could predict the events that would happen in Ukraine; moreover, the scenario of a worsening of bilateral relations with Ukraine was mostly ridiculed by the interviewees.
Intensive exchanges of students, academic visits by university researchers, and enhanced humanitarian cooperation and public diplomacy will eventually replace the “common past” narrative, which is mostly irrelevant for the post-independence generation. Of course, the mass media in both countries has a big role to play, gradually embracing proper expertise instead of ”know-it-all” commentators.
The present situation sometimes sends false signals of consensus within the Russian elite that Armenia is and will remain Russia’s key and unparalleled ally in the region. The 17% drop in public perception of Russia’s “friendliness” in Armenia, observed in a Eurasian Development Bank survey in October 2016, should be an alarm bell for both sides ...

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