Russia hopes that its close relationship with Armenia will remain unchanged after the grave political crisis in the South Caucasus state is resolved, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
“We still hope that all processes in Armenia will remain within the constitutional and legal frames,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “We wish our Armenian friends a maximally quick settlement of the existing political situation.”
“We also hope that in any case the allied, warm and constructive Russian-Armenian relations will remain a constant for both the foreign policy of our country and the foreign policy of Yerevan,” he said, according to Russian news agencies.
Peskov implied that Moscow is prepared for any outcome of the upcoming election by the Armenian parliament of the country’s new prime minister.
For its part, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that it is continuing to “closely follow” the dramatic developments in Armenia. In a statement, it expressed hope that the Armenian crisis will be resolved “as soon as possible” through a “constructive dialogue of the republic’s political forces.”
Both the ministry and the Kremlin thus remained careful not to publicly take sides in the three-week standoff that has led to the resignation of Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian. Opposition leader Nikol Pashinian, who has organized the massive anti-government protests across Armenia, is now expected to be chosen as prime minister on May 8.
Pashinian has repeatedly stated that he will not pull Armenia out of Russian-led defense and trade blocs if he comes to power. He told visiting Russian parliamentarians on April 29 that Russian-Armenian ties will only deepen further as a result of regime change in Yerevan.
Pashinian has previously harshly criticized Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Lawmakers from Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) pointed to this fact during Tuesday’s parliament debate on his bid to become prime minister. They repeatedly challenged him to explain why he is now making different statements on the subject.
“We now have new political realities and must reckon with them,” responded Pashinian. A “drastic” change in Armenia foreign policy would only hurt the country, he said.