By Erik Davtyan
September 28th, the CACI Analyst
On September 7, Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan visited Moscow and met his counterpart Vladimir Putin. This meeting, which took place nearly two years after President Sargsyan declared Armenia’s decision to join the Russia-led Customs Union, is the fourth in this year. The first meeting in 2015 took place in April, when Putin attended the events dedicated to the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Centennial. The second and third meetings took place in May and July when Sargsyan attended the events in Moscow dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War and then during the joint summit of BRICS, the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and SCO leaders in Ufa.
By Eduard Abrahamyan
September 30th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
Since a few months, Armenia’s civil society, expert community and military are debating the threat that the terrorist organization calling itself the Islamic State (ISIS) poses to Armenia. In parallel, disillusionment is growing with the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and its reaction to the escalation in tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Since at least three out of six CSTO members continually sell arms to Azerbaijan, it is now disputed whether the organization is capable and willing to ensure Armenia’s security. In this atmosphere, the idea has recently emerged that Armenia could reduce its dependence on Russia and restore relations with the West by joining the global coalition against ISIS.
By Natalia Konarzewska
September 15th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
Armenia’s economy is currently experiencing a significant decline, which is primarily caused by spillover from Russia’s recession. At the end of 2014, Armenia’s national currency, the dram, saw rapid depreciation, which boosted inflation. Falling remittances from Russia are putting additional pressure on the dram, negatively affecting the livelihood of many ordinary citizens. Additionally, export volumes to Russia, which is Armenia’s top export destination, have decreased significantly. Armenia currently has few options to boost its faltering economy due to a falling number of foreign direct investments, high national debt and a shortfall of budget revenue. Economic forecasts for Armenia remain grim and since June the country has seen a wave of protests over the price hike on electricity.
By Erik Davtyan (19/08/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
July was a productive month for bilateral cooperation between Armenia and Georgia. Firstly, the two states expanded their dialogue in the military sphere. On July 16, a delegation headed by Armenia’s first Deputy Minister of Defense Davit Tonoyan visited Tbilisi. A subsequent meeting between representatives of the two defense ministries took place on June 24-25 within the framework of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) Defense Ministers meeting in Brussels, during which Armenia’s and Georgia’s Defense Ministers Seyran Ohanyan and Tinatin Khidasheli discussed bilateral military ties. Khidasheli later explained that the parties agreed “to find new areas of cooperation.”
By Armen Grigoryan (19/08/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The Iranian nuclear deal may create new opportunities for Armenia. However, whereas Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other governmental agencies should consider the opening prospects of energy cooperation with Iran seriously, their traditional pro-Russian attitude reduces the chance for taking advantage of the changing geopolitical situation and, at the same time, increases the risks for Armenia’s own security and regional stability in general.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.