A concert in honor of Crimea’s joining Russia took place in the Karabakh capital of Stepanakert on Tuesday evening. The concert was spontaneous – many learned about it only during the day, even members of the Karabakh parliament acknowledged that they were not aware of the plans for the celebration.
In the past several weeks official Yerevan has been mum about the recent events in Ukraine, including both the formation of a new government after the ouster of elected president Viktor Yanukovych and the referendum held in the breakaway pro-Russian republic of Crimea to join Russia.
A political call for halting the procedures connected with joining the Customs Union has for the first time been voiced in Armenia this week. Member of the opposition Free Democrats Party Khachatur Kokobelyan presented reasons why Armenia should not be in a rush to accede to the Russian-led trade bloc but should rather start recovering its lost ties with the European Union.
The recent trip of the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton to Iran also included a visit to a local Armenian church, which some analysts in Yerevan put down to Armenia’s increasing role in what could be normalization of relations between the Islamic Republic and the West.
Many experts do not agree that the planned referendum in the Crimea (Ukraine) on its accession to Russia and Moscow’s recognition of its results may become a precedent for other unresolved conflicts.
Editor-in-chief of the Karabakh-based political magazine “Analyticon” Gegham Baghdasaryan, for example, believes that every crisis is unique and attempts to measure conflicts by the same stick could prove futile.
President Serzh Sargsyan, who was on a working visit to the Republic of Ireland, on Thursday attended the plenary session of the European People’s Party (EPP) in Dublin. Raffi Hovannisian, the leader of the opposition Heritage party, which is also a member of the EPP along with Sargsyan’s ruling Republican Party, also made a surprise visit to Dublin to attend the session.
Armenia’s former president and current leader of the opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) Levon Ter-Petrosyan said at a rally in Yerevan on March 1 that Armenia’s membership in the Customs Union is irreversible, while European integration is not possible in the foreseeable future.
Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili on February 27 arrived in Armenia on a two-day official visit at the invitation of his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan. Before that, Margvelashvili visited Ankara and Baku.
The mandatory accumulation pension system continues to be one of the most controversial issues in Armenia today. On March 28, Armenia’s Constitutional Court is to decide whether the element of the pension reform envisaging additional pension contributions by citizens aged below 40 should be mandatory or voluntary. A majority of people in Armenia insist on the voluntary principle being applied, while the government, backed by some international organizations, wants the element to be of a mandatory nature.