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Vigen Akopyan. Russia-Armenia: friendship without surprises

After missing a couple of embarrassing punches, the “fifth column” in Yerevan has eventually been knocked out. Following Armenia’s decision to join the Eurasian Economic Union, the US Department of State and the USAID announced a cut in the finding of their humanitarian programs in the country, thereby proving their political motivation.

That move received little, if any, criticism from Armenian “public opinion leaders” - who are mostly loyal to the United States.

There was some other thing they were worried about – the forthcoming visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Yerevan.

“He will not attend the commemorations of the 100th year of the Armenian Genocide because he does not want to spoil his relations with Turkey,” “The Kremlin will dare to put into question its relations with Erdogan,” “Russia has always sacrificed Armenia’s interests” – that is what most of them said in their comments.

But then there was the Kremlin saying that Putin would visit Yerevan and would attend the commemorations of the Armenian Genocide. That was one more proof that Russia was not going to deviate from the high ideals of humanity and historical justice just because it faced some political or economic circumstances. We can’t say the same about the United States, whose President Barack Obama has broken his pre-electoral promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

The “Armenian Cause” has long become an acid test for the United States. Every year it reveals new double standards in Washington’s policy. It is still not clear what a status the US delegation will have at the commemoration events in Yerevan.

This may seem absurd but almost all American states have legislatively recognized the Armenian Genocide - unlike the USA as a whole. The Americans have lots of problems in this region – for much here concerns Turkey. But the same problems concern Russia as well. Even more, in the atmosphere of western sanctions, the factor of Erdogan has become really viable for the Kremlin – as is the case with the Turkish Stream project.

Today the constructive partnership between Russia and Turkey has become the key stability factor for not only the Middle East but also the South Caucasus.

Peace between Russia and Turkey – this is the formula of life for the future generations of Armenians and the independent state of Armenia. This is obvious.

For Russia, peace and stability in the South Caucasus are also a strategic priority. Their guarantors are the Russian military base in Gyumri and the Russian border guards on the Armenian-Turkish border. Today a century after the killing of 1,500,000 Armenians, the Russians remain the key guarantors of the peaceful future of the descendants of those who survived that horrible massacre. As a country that has remembered the Armenian Genocide victims for 20 years already, Russia has made it clear that it will not go back on its position.

Putin’s visit to Yerevan is a signal that the Kremlin will stay loyal to the principles of humanism and historical justice even if this attitude runs counter to some of its political or economic interests. The history of Armenian-Russian relations will not end after Apr 24 2015. Yes, there will be as many problems as before - as the western partners will certainly be working to this end, but, hopefully, there will be more occasions for Armenia and Russia to prove that the interests of any third party are unable to spoil their friendship.

It should be noted that Russia is not the only true fried of Armenia. Three more countries will send their presidents to Yerevan – France, Serbia and Cyprus. And Armenia may well become a place where Putin and Hollande will discuss the situation in Ukraine or the delay in Mistral deliveries.

As one of the capitals of the Eurasian Economic Union, Yerevan has become an important political venue on these memorable days.

 Vigen Akopyan, Editor-in-Chief of EADaily, specially for Kultura newspaper

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