The recent change of Armenia’s government resulting from mass protests has not had a negative impact on Russia’s close ties with the South Caucasus state, a senior Russian diplomat said on Friday.
“We did not stop or slow down cooperation [with Armenia,]” Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Pankin told the TASS news agency. “When [Russian President] Vladimir Putin met with the new prime minister of Armenia [Nikol Pashinian] it was confirmed that everything will be preserved. The vector and the dynamics [of bilateral relations] remain the same.”
“All projects relating to financial, commercial, investment and humanitarian interaction remain on the table,” he said. “So there is no deviation or scaling back.”
Putin and Pashinian met in the Russian city of Sochi on May 14 almost a week after the latter was elected prime minister following weeks of protests that brought down the previous premier, Serzh Sarkisian.
Pashinian assured Putin that Armenia will remain allied to Russia during his tenure. “Nobody has cast doubt and, I think, will cast doubt on the strategic importance of Russian-Armenian relations,” he said.
The new premier also praised Moscow’s “balanced” and “very constructive” reactions to the protest movement led by him.
Moscow closely watched the dramatic events in Armenia sparked by Sarkisian’s attempt to extend his decade-long rule. In their public statements, Russian officials avoided taking sides in the standoff that led to Sarkisian’s resignation on April 23.
Pashinian has since repeatedly stated that he will not pull Armenia out of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. The 42-year-old former opposition leader had previously criticized Armenia’s membership in both Russian-led blocs.