“Regarding the economy, I also want to note that after a certain decline in March, there is an intensification of bilateral economic relations looming,” Pashinian told Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting held following a Collective Security Treaty Organization summit in Moscow.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, Pashinian thanked Putin for “prodding Russian businesspeople to invest in Armenia.” He welcomed the “investment interest” shown by them but did not specify potential projects that could be launched soon.
Nor did he cite any projections regarding this year’s volume of Russian-Armenian trade. It rose by almost 21 percent, to $2.6 billion, in 2021. Russia thus solidified its status as Armenia’s number one trading partner.
Bilateral trade reportedly shrunk in March following the start of the war in Ukraine and the resulting Western sanctions imposed on Russia. Visiting Moscow last month, Armenian Economy Minister Kerobian said the two governments should work together to “urgently eliminate the causes of the decline and restore growth.”
Pashinian discussed the matter with Putin as well as Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin when he paid an official visit to Russia later in April. He spoke of “common challenges” facing Armenia and Russia.
Because of its close economic links with Russia, Armenia is expected to be significantly affected by the Western sanctions. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have said that economic growth in the South Caucasus country will slow down considerably this year.
The Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) likewise forecast modest growth in early March. It argued, in particular, that a sharp depreciation of the Russian ruble will have a negative impact on Armenian exports to Russia and remittances from Armenian migrant workers.
The ruble has rallied dramatically since then and is now stronger against the U.S. dollar and the euro than it was before the Russian invasion.