Pashinyan "learning" the art of sitting on two chairs

Nikol Pashinyan, the leader of the velvet revolution in Armenia, which resulted in Serzh Sargsyan’s leaving his post of the prime minister, has already begun to take decisive measures to redirect Armenia towards the West, well-known Russian political analyst Sergey Markov wrote on his Facebook page.

Pashinyan began to attract people from the West as his advisors, but at the same time, he voices readiness to establish contact with Moscow. For now, in words only.

Thus, Daron Acemoglu, a Turkish-born American economist, has become the economic adviser of Yerevan, while former representative of Armenia to NATO David Tonoyan was appointed as Armenia’s defense minister.

Markov described the situation as "disturbing tendencies" and expressed doubts about the sincerity, goodwill of the Armenian leader towards Russia.

Recently, at a meeting with Pashinyan in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin once again stressed the dependency of the Armenian economy on Russia. More than 25 percent of Armenia's trade turnover accounts for Russia, while Russian investments make up 35 percent of all investments made in the Armenian economy.

In general, Armenia's military sector is fully dependent on Russia and the situation will not change as a result of timid overture with the Chinese and Indian military industries.

Putin also mentioned the growing supplies of agricultural products from Armenia to the Russian market, clearly hinting that the 38-percent-growth in recent months may unexpectedly be replaced by a 100 percent decline.

In response, the Armenian prime minister noted that no one in Armenia has ever put the strategic importance of the Armenia-Russia relations into question and will not do that.

However, such statements sound unconvincing. There have been and there are doubts. Moreover, Pashinyan has been expressing them for many years. And even the name of the opposition bloc that supported him during the revolution and election testify to the existence of very concrete doubts about the cooperation with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union.

Those two state appointments, mentioned by Sergey Markov, are symbolic, rather than disturbing especially when it comes to Daron Acemoglu, whose invitation to the country is a very significant phenomenon, given that the economist was born and brought up in Istanbul.

The Armenian president is former ambassador of Armenia to UK, economic adviser living in the US was born in Turkey, defense minister is former representative of Armenia to NATO, head of the administration of the prime minister is a DJ who graduated from the International University of Monaco. Is it reverence to the West or a simple coincidence?

I think it is worth stressing once again that everything Pashinyan said about cooperation with Russia is nothing more than an attempt to prevent Moscow from putting formal pressure on Yerevan. Fortunately, the Russian political establishment has enough experience here, which was gained during tomato wars with Turkey and the dairy conflict with Belarus.

However, if Turkey was slightly disappointed as a result of the situation with tomatoes, which did not appear in Moscow, then tons of Armenian cucumbers and other vegetables which suddenly stopped meeting the norms of the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing, may hit the Armenian economy as severely as 10 years of Sargsyan's rule.

That is why Pashinyan has fully abandoned the anti-Russian rhetoric and shows extreme caution in his relations with Moscow. The opportunity to sit on two chairs at the same time always looks attractive, especially if you are nailed to one of the chairs. But will Pashinyan have enough political experience not to fall off both chairs?