President Vladimir Putin has awarded a Russian state medal to an Armenian official who has coordinated Armenia’s accession talks with a Russian-led trade bloc transformed into the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
A decree signed by Putin on Monday and publicized on Friday says that former Deputy Economy Minister Karine Minasian as well as four other foreign dignitaries will receive Russian Orders of Friendship for their “great contribution” to economic and other ties with Russia.
Minasian was tasked with handling negotiations with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan after President Serzh Sarkisian unexpectedly decided to make Armenia part of their Customs Union in August 2013. She also coordinated the implementation of Yerevan’s “roadmap” to joining the bloc, which was agreed with its three member states in December.
Minasian was widely regarded as a member of former Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s inner circle of economists during his six-year tenure. Most of them, including Economy Minister Vahram Avanesian, lost their senior government posts after Sarkisian stepped down in early April.
Minasian was dismissed as vice-minister and appointed economic adviser to President Sarkisian in June.
Sarkisian, Putin and their Belarusian and Kazakh counterparts signed a treaty on Armenia’s accession to the EEU at a summit in Minsk last month. The Armenian leader has expressed hope that the parliaments of the three EEU member states will ratify the treaty before January.