Assessments

What the Chill in Russian-Armenian Relations Means

Jan 21, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Supporters of Armenian Nikol Pashinian celebrate in Yerevan's Republic Square on May 8, 2018. Pashinian would go on to become prime minister.

Supporters of Armenian Nikol Pashinian celebrate in Yerevan's Republic Square on May 8, 2018. Pashinian would go on to become prime minister. As ties between Yerevan and Moscow hit a rough patch, others could make inroads with Armenia.

(SERGEI GAPON/AFP/Getty Images)

When it comes to former Soviet countries, few states have remained closer to Russia than Armenia. The Caucasus country hosts 5,000 Russian troops at the 102nd military base in Gyumri, while Russia wields substantial influence over most of Armenia's strategic economic sectors, from energy pipelines to telecommunications. Russia is also Armenia's largest trade partner -- accounting for 25 percent of total trade -- and it is the largest destination for Armenian migrant workers, whose remittances account for 10 percent of their country's gross domestic product. Yerevan is also a member of both the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Moscow's primary mechanisms for integrating the countries of the former Soviet Union. Recent political shifts in Armenia, however, have thrown the traditionally strong relationship between Yerevan and Moscow into question – raising the possibility that other powers near and far could step in to fill any breach....

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