October 18, 2013 - 17:05 AMT
Armenia more free in decision-making than Russia: expert

Armenia’s decision to join the Customs Union was extremely important not only for Russia but first of all for Armenia itself, according to director general of EurAsEC institute.

Speaking at a press conference in Yerevan, Vladimir Lepekhin said that Armenia is much freer in taking decisions than Russia and can get lots of dividends from joining the CU. “This first of proceeds from Armenia’s interests and the country can set conditions for the CU membership and seek their realization,” he said.

According to him, Armenia’s main interests are tariffs for gas and the Customs Union membership will allow resolving the issue to Yerevan’s benefit.

Lepekhin agreed that Russia is in a way dependent on the West. “The dependence is rather strong, however, Europe is even more dependent. It’s possible to reach an agreement with Russia, as the problems mostly refer to resources, but we can’t say the same about Europe,” Panorama.am quoted him as saying.

According to Novosti Armenia, Lepekhin also said that the Customs Union is not an important geopolitical project but a union aiming to improve turnover between the member states.

During a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sept 3, Armenian leader Serzh Sargsyan said Armenia is ready to join Customs Union, with further plans to be involved in formation of the Eurasian Economic Union.

Mr. Putin supported the initiative, voicing readiness to assist Armenia in the process. He also noted that Russian Railways may invest 15 billion rubles in development of Armenia's railway network.

The Customs Union was formed in 2010 to include of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia; Kirghizia and Tajikistan later expressed willingness to join the Union.