The spokesman for President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) has hit out at Russian commentators who have condemned Armenia’s landmark agreement with the European Union in talk shows hosted by Russia’s state-controlled television.
At least two such TV channels have aired extensive programs in recent days featuring criticism of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed on November 24. Analysts and commentators invited to their studios charged that the deal undermined Armenia’s traditionally close relationship with Russia. Some of them went as far as to compare Armenia to a wife cheating on her husband.
“If Armenia wants to survive, it must stay within Russia’s sphere of influence,” another pundit, Sergey Kurginyan, warned during a talk show broadcast by Russia’s First Channel.
Eduard Sharmazanov, the HHK spokesman and a deputy speaker of Armenia’s parliament, was asked by reporters to comment on such statements after a weekly meeting of the ruling party’s governing body held late on Wednesday.
“These are ludicrous, silly evaluations that do not stem from the friendly alliance of our peoples,” Sharmazanov replied. “And I don’t think that the deputy chairman of the National Assembly or any other official of my state should comment on some dubious political analysts or politicians.”
“We don’t need to waste our time on such nonsense,” he said.
Sharmazanov also stressed that Russia’s official reaction to the signing of CEPA has been positive. He cited statements to that effect made by the Russian Foreign Ministry and Russia’s ambassador in Yerevan, Ivan Volynkin.
Volynkin said last week that CEPA provisions do not run counter to Armenia’s membership in the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). “Armenia is a sovereign country and it has the right to enter into any agreements or blocs that do not contradict obligations assumed by it earlier,” he told the Arminfo news agency.
Armenian leaders have repeatedly stated that the alliance with Russia remains the cornerstone of Armenian foreign and security policy despite their efforts to forge closer ties with the EU. Sarkisian visited Moscow and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin nine days before attending the CEPA signing ceremony in Brussels.