Armenia's Approach to Eurasian Integration

Armenia's Approach to Eurasian Integration

Norayr Dunamalyan
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1950-9.ch009
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The Armenian view on Eurasian integration is multidimensional, as it includes various ideological, historical, political, and economic aspects that simultaneously contradicts to the classical Eurasianism, but gets along with the political and economic contexts of this phenomenon. Joining CSTO and the EAEU is explained by searching political and economic stability in regional integrative projects, as well as within a country. Highlighting three levels of reflection of Eurasian integration allows observing a large gap of state, public, and diasporic approaches to understanding and mastering the idea of integration in the post-Soviet space. However, there is no split in the Armenian public opinion as the initial prerequisite for Armenia's participation in the Eurasian integrative project concerning the political and economic aspects. Another feature of the Armenian approach to the CSTO and the EAEU is the consideration of these projects in the general direction of Russian-Armenian relationship, rather than a scrutiny of multilateral cooperation.
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The complexity of the analysis concerns the omission of many important aspects of the problem. Researchers come to not quite correct conclusions because of many nuances related to the EAEU “semi-integration” problem (Tigran Sarkisyan vidit neobkhodimost 'v soglasovanii natsional'nykh politik ..., 2019), whereas the internal political context is ignored beyond the frameworks of scientific analysis or it takes too much attention.

The most popular topic of analysis remains the discussion around the concept of “conflict between two integrations” (the term was introduced by Vinokurov et al. 2015). This problem includes two levels. On the one hand, the studies are connected with a more professional assessment of the institutional interoperability issue in the economic union and cooperation with other integration projects. On the other hand, the discussion revolves around the “existential” choice between the West and the East. This approach is common both in the Armenian and foreign academic community, but it is worth noting that politicization of the issue has been a subject of a thorough scrutiny in academic papers (Delcour, 2018; Tavadyan, 2018, Shirinyan 2019) and analytical publications on various network resources (Armeniya mezhdu ES i EAES: v lovushke politicheskogo parasitisma, 2017; ES – EAES: vozmozhna li konvergentsiya? 2017).

Speaking about the internal political context of the U-turn of Armenia towards Eurasian integration, another discourse aims to analyze the tactics and strategy of Armenia’s political elite in 2008-2013. This approach considers the process of including Armenia in various integration projects from the domestic political expediency perspective, aimed at strengthening political power and ensuring stability within the state. Thus, the process of association with the EU is explained by the need to neutralize the liberal opposition in Armenia and to ensure the victory of the ruling party and President S. Sargsyan in the elections for 2012-2013, that is why some scholars saw the motivation of the following global changes rather prosaic (Giragosian, 2014). At the same time, the geopolitical component of the process is not neglected, since joining the EAEU is determined by a combination of internal and external factors. Besides, the problem becomes biased, reducing the discussion of the issue in the public and scientific fields to the competition of “pro-European” and “pro-Eurasian” (meaning “pro-Russian”) discourses (Terzyan, 2016; Gabrielyan, Dabaghyan, Tadevosyan, Zakaryan, 2017).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Greater Eurasia: The concept of a Greater Eurasian partnership or community as a common space for economic, logistic, and information cooperation, and for peace and security space of the EAEU, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the ASEAN, and other countries.

“North-South” Project: Major infrastructure project which aims at connecting the Southern border of Armenia with its Northern point by means of 556 km-long Meghri- Yerevan - Bavra highway. The construction of this highly important strategic road will ensure easier traffic from the Southern border of Armenia to the Georgian border and up to Black Sea ports.

“Small State” Strategy: Several strategies that small states employ to achieve greater stability and security, and gain more influence in relation to other actors. Small states can either engage with great powers, balance against potential threats, develop hedging strategies or stay neutral.

2018 Armenian “Velvet Revolution”: A series of anti-government protests in Armenia from April to May 2018 staged by various political and civil groups led by future Prime-minister Nikol Pashinyan (head of the Civil Contract party).

The CSTO: An intergovernmental military alliance (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan) that was signed on 15 May 1992. The CSTO promotes the collective defence of any member that comes under external aggression.

Eurasian Economic Commission (EAEC): Is the permanent regulatory body of the EAEU, which aimed to ensure the functioning and development of the EAEU, and developing proposals for the further development of integration.

Complementarity Policy: The foreign policy of Armenia is based on a partnership approach that seeks to simultaneously develop relations with all states in the region and with states with interests in the region.

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