With the Russian economy hitting the skids, it looks like Armenia wants to hedge its economic bets. Although Yerevan became a member of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union in January, a senior Armenian government official told EurasiaNet.org that the country is working to complete an updated version of an EU Association Agreement that Armenian officials put on hold back in 2013.
A diamond deal that gives Armenia duty-free access to rough diamonds from Russia could offer Alrosa, the semi-government-owned Russian diamond company that provides roughly 27 percent of the world’s rough-diamond supplies, a dodge from potential European-Union sanctions, Armenian diamond-industry professionals believe.
Media-rights observers fear that the Armenian government’s attempt to force two media outlets to disclose the names of confidential sources has set a dangerous precedent for the future of journalism in Armenia.
It only requires a glance at the dance-floor showdown in the Soviet cult-comedy “Mimino” to see that competition between the tiny South-Caucasus neighbors of Georgia and Armenia can run strong. No less so with economic alliances.
Russian Ambassador Ivan Volinkin’s recent call “to neutralize” Western-funded non-governmental organizations in Armenia is stoking fears among Armenian activists that the country’s pending membership in the Moscow-led Customs Union will prompt a rollback of civil rights.