Russia continued to avoid on Wednesday openly taking sides in the ongoing political crisis in Armenia, its main regional ally.
“We still reckon that that this is an internal affair [of Armenia] and hope that our Armenian friends will manage to settle this situation and reach … a consensus-based solution very soon,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.
“We are continuing to monitor this situation very closely,” he added, according to Russian news agencies.
Peskov made similar comments on Monday shortly before Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian stepped down under pressure from tens of thousands of people demonstrating in Yerevan and other parts of the country.
“Armenia, Russia is always with you!” a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said following the announcement of Sarkisian’s resignation.
The Kremlin, which frequently accuses the West of fomenting “color revolutions” in ex-Soviet states, thus stopped short of backing Sarkisian. It has also made no public statements in support of Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Karen Karapetian. The latter is a former top executive of Armenian and Russian subsidiaries of the Gazprom energy giant.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev phoned Karapetian late on Monday to discuss the political situation in Armenia. Medvedev was reported to stress the importance of “keeping the situation in the legal constitutional field.”
Nikol Pashinian, the opposition leader who has organized the massive protests, said on Tuesday that he will keep Armenia allied to Russia if he comes to power as a result of his “velvet revolution.”