“Russia attaches great importance to friendly, allied relations with Armenia,” Putin said in congratulatory messages sent to President Armen Sarkissian and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.
“I am confident that the constructive dialogue between our countries, bilateral cooperation in various directions as well as interaction within the framework of integration processes in the Eurasian space will continue to develop actively,” he wrote. “This is undoubtedly in the interests of the Russian and Armenian peoples and in conformity with ensuring regional security and stability.”
Just like its predecessors, the current Armenian government has kept Armenia anchored to Russia politically and military while seeking closer partnership with the West. Nevertheless, its relations with Moscow have been clouded by economic disputes as well as coup charges brought against some former Armenian officials, notably ex-President Robert Kocharian, shortly after the 2018 “Velvet Revolution.”
Putin has repeatedly made a point of praising Kocharian and congratulating him on his birthday anniversaries since he was first arrested in July 2018. Putin called his former Armenian counterpart a “remarkable statesman” as recently as on August 31.
Margarita Simonyan, one of the most influential figures in Russia’s Kremlin-controlled media, also cited the criminal case against Kocharian when she attacked Pashinian on social media in July. Simonyan accused the prime minister of undermining Russian-Armenian relations and supporting Western-funded groups hostile to Moscow.
Pashinian rejected the accusations in an interview with a Russian TV station aired later in July. He said Russia and Armenia have long maintained close political, economic and military ties because of their “common strategic interests,” rather than certain individuals. He also argued that that contrary to some gloomy Russian forecasts, he has not changed Armenia’s geopolitical orientation since coming to power in the 2018 revolution.