Prime Minister’s Statement: Putin No Longer There?


In his remote press conference on May 16 Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said with regards to the legal processes involving Russian companies in Armenia that the issue is on the Armenian-Russian agenda and there are agreements based on mutual interest.

The question was brought up again by the Russian foreign minister Lavrov on April 21 with a statement that the legal processes are not appropriate for allies. Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan responded to Lavrov, noting that Russian companies, like all companies, have equal rights and liabilities in Armenia and the government is doing everything possible to create a favorable climate for all the economic operators. Grigoryan also said that this question has the highest level of Armenian-Russian mutual understanding.

The issue was at the level of the heads of two states on 8 September 2018 during Nikol Pashinyan’s working visit to Moscow. The day before his visit the State Revenue Committee’s special department held an operation at The South Caucasian Railway Company.

The issue was not resolved in the Pashinyan-Putin meeting and was regularly brought up in the Armenian press. On 21 April 2019 Lavrov actually formalized the issue again.

Prime Minister Pashinyan announces that there is an agreement between the heads of the two countries on this issue. What did Lavrov mean then? Does this mean that there is huge pressure from Russia’s side? So, is Putin also under pressure? Or is he playing a double game, reaching an agreement with Pashinyan but bringing up the issue through Lavrov?

Or does Putin no longer make decisions in Russia and is he there simply because the Russian political elite or “politburo” has no decision yet on his future, to keep him or to think about replacing him? In its turn, it depends on how the international situation will develop, particularly the U.S.-Chinese “round” of global demarcation.

At the end of the day, the Armenian-Russian relations currently seem to reflect this uncertainty, at least judging by Pashinyan’s statements. The impression is that in Russia Yerevan has “lost” the one with whom problems need to be discussed or the one who is responsible for agreements. In other words, there are no problems with the “negotiator”, the problem is that there is no negotiator to discuss the current issues with.

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