Our Analytics 7 august — 13:12

Sargsyan almost said: 'Mr Putin, our road is not your road' (Our editorial)

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BY CHINGIZ HUSEYNOGLU

If one reads the Armenian press, it seems that torpedoing the project of three presidents - Ilham Aliyev, Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani (strategic transport artery North-South), the country of Hays (Armenians) will gain great prosperity: the poor will become rich, the rich, as usual, even richer, and young workers, who had run away from their land immersed in endless wars and intrigues with their neighbours, will turn around 180 degrees and return to their native Hayastan (Armenia). Fortunately, one can drive through Armenia from end to end on the high-speed highway twice as fast: in just 4.5 hours.

Will the dream of the sea come true?

Armenia, with the help of Russian Armenians and lobbyist circles in the highest echelons of power in Russia and Iran, tries to convince the neighbours of the expediency of an alternative route of the 'great road': through the 'ancient Armenian land.'

The expectation of the onset of the era of high speeds and long-long roads contains many important meanings for the Armenians. The transport corridor, among other things, also means the fulfillment of the long-standing Armenian dream - the access to the sea - the Black one. This will be made possible by a corridor with a total length of 556 kilometres. How can they not rejoice!

In addition, according to the forecasts of Yerevan political scientists, at the time when the first carriage with Armenian apricots moves in the direction of Moscow through Georgia, everyone in Azerbaijan will die from anger and in Georgia from envy. Political scientists write that, at last, Armenia goes to the Black Sea coast. In fact, the Armenians have been dominating the entire Georgian coast for a long time, and, frankly, we are tired in our Azeri Daily from the desperate reports of our volunteer correspondents about the creeping Armenisation of Batumi, Sukhumi, Poti, which are about to unite with their compatriots who have settled there from the time of the sad event - the famous earthquake in Sochi.

Maybe someone is amazed at the Armenian resourcefulness, but the Armenian government does not stop crying about the fact that in order to realise its ambitious project it was necessary to take a loan from the Asian Bank in the amount of almost half a billion dollars and another 60 million euros from the European Investment Bank.

And it was assumed that the transport corridor will start working this year (2017), and now these terms have been postponed for at least another two years. Again, maybe for someone in Moscow or Baku, these figures will seem just a trifle, but as the Armenian leader Serzh Sargsyan several years ago complained, 'the situation is such that every penny has to be counted.' And since that time, little has changed in Yerevan in this regard.

And if this goes on like that -- and nothing else is expected -- then the Yerevan wisecrackers will be right, saying that a week after the opening of the highway, there will not be a single car left in Armenia: everybody on the Ladas or Kamaz will head for the North. Who will remain in Yerevan, Hrazdan and former Leninakan? Those who stayed in the former Stepanakert -- pensioners, disabled people of the Karabakh war and just disabled people. So say the skeptics.

And what the optimists see

'As a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Armenia will also become a transit country (and not any, but part of the Silk Road, that is, with high capacity), and the role and influence of the country in the EAEU itself will grow dramatically. Which, in turn, will have a beneficial effect on the relations with Iran...' So the press writes. In particular, the Lragir newspaper.

And if so, then it's time to start intrigues.

For starters, the Armenian media are taking aim... at Moscow. It turns out that 'The influence of Russia in Armenia has lost its main thing - trust. Clownery in this sense has come to an end, and it's not for nothing that Western proposals to Armenia began to come and more often they started talking about leaving the EAEU.' Even for the Lragir, which has never been politically legible, this conclusion seems too sharp. But here the question is important: why did it suddenly start talking about the loss of confidence in Russia? After all, Armenia of the times of Gorbachev swears allegiance to the ideals of democracy and Russia - Gorbachev's, Yeltsin's, and until recently Putin's.

Maybe, indeed, Sargsyan is ready to throw out a serious trick: he will throw off a flattering smile from his face at the sight of the Russian president and say: 'Vladimir Vladimirovich, our road is not your road. Stay in your EAEU, and we need to move to the West, where we are expected.'

No, Serzh Azatovich is not like that. Lragir, Aravot, as well as thousands of their readers, are convinced that it's time to say goodbye to Moscow. And in that there is nothing new. As the saying goes, the Moor did his job...

However, some twenty years ago even ultra-nationalists proceeded from the assumption that Armenians can achieve their national goals (read: the creation of 'Great Armenia') exclusively in alliance with Russia.

My notes contain many quotes from conversations with Armenian politicians. One of Levon Ter-Petrosyan's advisers, I remember, did not think that he was saying something extraordinary when he was arguing on the sidelines of the talks in Minsk: 'Azerbaijan was a loser because it believed too early in the end of Moscow. The 'red Moscow' was over. It is still unknown what Yeltsin's one will transform into...'

It is hard to imagine that in Moscow, from time immemorial accustomed to Armenian helpfulness, they did not guess what lies behind the last passages of Yerevan political scientists and the government officials indulging them. Here is one of the most common judgments: there is an ordinary, purely Armenian 'knight move.' 'This is done so that Russia intensifies cooperation with Armenia.' So believes Nikita Krichevsky, PhD, a modern Russian economist and publicist, a man who knows the peculiarities of political relations between Moscow and Yerevan firsthand.

The political scientist is convinced that attempts to exit the EAEU are absolutely impossible for Armenia. 'So it's just not worth paying attention to the statements about Armenia's withdrawal from the Eurasian Union.' Without entering into polemics with supporters of this, the most popular opinion in Moscow, I would like to say the following: yes, this is a well-known political device, but resorting to it in relations with the allies means that the alliance itself is also seen as a political device.

Once Armenian-Georgian relations were also proclaimed almost fraternal in Yerevan. Especially touched by them was late Eduard Shevardnadze. Now in Yerevan it is believed that Georgia has lost not only its former strength, but also does not represent any allied interest. Worse, Georgia is preventing the Armenians from realising their plans in the Caucasus.

'Our country has no common border with Russia, where Iran is eager to get to... However, there is a hope that this issue will be resolved in the future. After all, Armenia will not forever be cut off from Russia...' So believe Armenian politicians, diplomats and political scientists.

The ex-brotherly country is getting closer to NATO, so it turns into a state openly hostile to Russia, Yerevan is whispering to Moscow. Azerbaijan, which is a well-known matter, is attracted to Turkey. So, Armenia is the only support of Russia in this most complicated geopolitical region.

Intrigues around the perimeter of the borders

In other words, Moscow is offered to crush the special parity of the South Caucasian states created by the incredible efforts, a certain stable balance of power, on which peace in the region has been so long based upon. It is not difficult to imagine what this could lead to in the face of the impending global crisis.

The only one who is satisfied with this ending in the development of political events is the Armenians with their ideology of turning their own state into the dominant force in the region. And to achieve this goal, it weaves intrigues around the perimeter of its borders.

Fortunately, the construction of an international transport corridor (ITC) North-South, which should link Russia's territory with Iran and India, seems to Yerevan, in fact, to be a favourable chance for this.

'Tehran should not force the construction of a road from the Iranian Resht to Azerbaijani Qazvin,' the Yerevan experts whisper to the Iranians. To the astonishing objection that this route is profitable from the economic point of view, the answer is, they say, the Armenian direction is much more preferable for political reasons (?!). And this despite the fact that the 'Armenian' route will cost two times more: more than 3 billion dollars!

Meanwhile, the development of cooperation with Moscow for Tehran seems promising economically, and in the conditions of sanctions can in general create a lot of mutually beneficial things for the countries of the region.

After all, just in 2016 the Russian-Iranian trade turnover increased by 67%. However, this new foreign policy tendency is not pleasant to Yerevan, which seems to be an ally of Moscow and Tehran's partner. Well, and so on.

And the fact that such a corridor is needed not only for the Iranian business, exhausted by Western sanctions, but especially for Russia, albeit an ally of Armenia, does not bother anyone in Yerevan. As Armenia does not care about the fact that there are many countries in the EU expressing readiness to trade with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has a huge potential -- almost 80 million people.

However, the matter is not at all in the advantage lost by Europeans. They will somehow live without the Iranian market. The question is that the transport corridors, even those that bypass Armenia, ultimately work for its impoverished population, because they have a region-wide and even wider inter-regional significance, in keeping with the spirit and aspirations of globalist trends.

Why does Armenia oppose these projects and so tempting socio-economic prospects? In Yerevan, they think of the categories of enmity and national intolerance. Is this why Armenia is in isolation? And, paradoxically, this is its own choice. Choosing between isolation and involvement in regional cooperation, Armenia preferred isolation. And the logic here is one, old as the world: just to annoy Azerbaijan.

What is surprising is that while in Moscow, Baku and Tehran, and in Europe for that matter, they are eagerly waiting for the gates of a new market of global significance to open, the Armenian press is enthusiastically discussing the topic of the most important national issue -- the coming war with Azerbaijan.

Levon Shirinyan, a well-known political scientist, talks about the opportunity for the Armenian army to launch a preventive strike on the Kura-Araks lowland in order to finally reach the Caspian Sea...

Interestingly, in Moscow, do they suggest to pay no attention to this as well?

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