The lower house of Russia’s government-controlled parliament on Wednesday unanimously ratified a recently signed treaty on Armenia’s accession to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
The State Duma voted on the treaty one week after it was overwhelmingly approved by the Armenian parliament. “I want to bring your attention to the fact that in the last several years no legislation has been adopted by Armenia’s parliament with such an overwhelming majority,” Oleg Lebedev, a parliamentary leader of President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party, told fellow deputies during a brief debate on the issue.
Representatives of the three other parties represented in the Russian parliament also voiced support for the treaty which Putin and his Armenian, Belarusian and Kazakh counterparts signed in Minsk in October.
Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of a Duma committee on ties with ex-Soviet states, called Armenia’s upcoming membership in the EEU a “landmark event.” Slutsky, who reportedly has warm ties with Azerbaijan’s leaders, noted at the same time that Yerevan’s membership talks bid faced “some controversy” related to the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. “Armenia is joining the Eurasian project with its internationally recognized borders,” he stressed.
Slutsky clearly alluded to misgivings voiced by Kazakhstan earlier this year. Echoing concerns expressed by Baku, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev demanded that the accession treaty make a special reference to those borders, which do not include Karabakh.
The treaty has to be also ratified by the parliaments of Kazakhstan and Belarus in order to take effect. The Armenian government hopes that the ratification process will be completed by the end of this month.