Russian President Vladimir Putin praised what he described as Armenia’s “significant” socioeconomic achievements and growing international standing on Friday in a letter to his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian dedicated to the country’s Independence Day.
“In recent years Armenia has achieved significant successes in the social and economic fields,” read the congratulatory letter made public by Sarkisian’s press office. “Your country’s authority in international and regional affairs has been growing.”
“I note with satisfaction the friendly and constructive character of Russian-Armenian relations, which was fully confirmed during our recent meeting in Moscow,” said Putin. “I am confident that with joint efforts we will continue reinforcing the strategic partnership between our countries and expanding our productive interaction within the framework of the CIS and CSTO integration mechanisms.”
Putin and Sarkisian met in the Kremlin on August 8 for talks that apparently focused on the Russian leader’s controversial idea of creating a Russian-led “Eurasian Union” of former Soviet Republics. Yerevan had reportedly faced growing Russian pressure to pledge support for what Kremlin critics claim is an attempt to recreate much of the ex-USSR.
Sarkisian made no public statements to that effect after the talks. He and Putin announced only that the two sides will set up an ad hoc commission that would look into ways of Armenia’s possible involvement in the existing customs union of Russia, Belarus Kazakhstan, which Moscow views as the bedrock of the would-be Eurasian Union.
Yerevan has refused to join the customs union so far, arguing that it has no common border with any of the three nations.