Khachaturian was among foreign dignitaries who attended an international economic forum held in Saint Petersburg late last week with almost no Western participation. He sat next to the speakers of both houses of Russia’s parliament during the main plenary session of the annual forum that featured a keynote address by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin again defended his “special military operation” in Ukraine and dismissed the resulting Western sanctions, saying that the “economic blitzkrieg against Russia had no chance of succeeding from the very beginning.” He claimed that the unprecedented sanctions are primarily damaging Western economies.
Meeting with Putin later on Friday, Khachaturian said he agrees with “the conclusions which you drew” in the speech.
“It’s really a new era,” he said at the start of the meeting. “One should probably think about how to continue to develop in the new conditions that open up new opportunities.”
“I am sure that Russia’s economy will survive based on the resources and means at its disposal and given [what happened in] the last two months,” he went on. “The expectations, the predictions which … were made even by Russian specialists, financiers and economists have not come true.”
Khachaturian, who himself is an economist, said the Russian authorities’ economic policies have reversed a depreciation of the Russian ruble, reined in inflation an enabled the domestic economy to continue its “development.”
“In this sense, I am very happy,” added the largely ceremonial president who was elected by the Armenian parliament one week after the start of the Russian invasion in late February.
Armenia, which has very close economic links with Russia, was initially expected to be hit hard by the barrage of sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and other Western powers. But with the Russian economy proving more resilient than expected, the authorities in Yerevan now hope that Armenia’s economic growth will not slow down significantly this year.
Khachaturian also praised Putin’s role in the ceasefire that stopped the 2020 Armenian-Azerbaijani war and follow-up peace efforts.
“I think that the Armenian people appreciate your efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” he said.
The president went on to note “historical friendship” of Armenia and Russia. “It’s not me, it’s our ancestors who had decided 200 years ago or earlier that we must live together and make joint efforts to develop,” he said.