Armenian newspapers react to the official information disseminated by the Kremlin about an upcoming meeting of the leaders of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in Astana to discuss trade and economic ties within the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), a post-Soviet integration group that Armenia joined at the beginning of this year.
“168 Zham” stresses that Armenia’s EEU partners, in fact, meet to discuss integration processes without Armenia. At least, no official sources in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan or even Armenia have any information about the invitation that was sent to Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian to attend the Astana summit, the paper notes. “Of course, there can be numerous reasons why Sarkisian has not been invited by [Kazakh President Nursultan] Nazarbayev to Astana – beginning from his personal attitude and ending with it being just another case of Armenia being disregarded – or the formal reasoning may be that the meeting is of the EEU founding nations. But the very fact that these nations discuss integration processes without Armenia is also symbolic: Armenia became a member of the Union under Russian pressure and has only suffered from this membership during the past several months. So EEU membership was not an integration program for Armenia, but an act of “disintegration” with the European Union and after that Russia and its Eurasian partners do not care much about Armenia’s situation.”
“Zhamanak” writes sardonically: “Armenia has not been forgotten. Simply no one has ever remembered Armenia. There is nothing new or extraordinary in this situation. And the absence of Sarkisian will only accentuate the natural state of affairs. Sarkisian participates only in gatherings held under the heading of “EEU”, because not participating in the meetings would be considered something “unusual”. In other words, Sarkisian attends only ceremonial meetings, because outside ceremonies he does not seem to be anyhow connected with the Union – either economically or politically.”
“Zhoghovurd” describes Armenia’s absence from the upcoming meeting in Kazakhstan as a “disgrace”. “It does not matter at all whether Sarkisian was invited, but preferred not to go or he was disregarded altogether. The fact is that Armenia is a fourth passenger on a sinking ship called the Eurasian Economic Union and if the other three passengers gather to discuss their future cooperation, the presence of the fourth one is mandatory,” the paper writes.