YEREVAN, January 23, /ARKA/. A Russian historian Alexei Vlasov, who is also head of North-South think-tank, urged today Armenian authorities to launch a series of public debates to find out whether the citizens want their country to be part of the planned Eurasian Union before 2015 when Russia and several other former Soviet republics are expected to sign Eurasian Economic Union agreement.
Speaking to journalists in Yerevan he said sooner or later Armenia will have to decide upon this and public debates are the best way to find out the best development vector for Armenia.
“It is up to Armenia to make the final decision. Love can not be compelled, but Armenia needs to formulate its strategic objectives and to do so it must decide its development vector,’ he said.
He said one of the main obstacles to form a clear-cut position on integration processes across the Eurasian space is the ideology issue which is to be used as the basis for prospective Union.
“I think it is the absence of common value guidelines that creates a tension. We still do not understand fully one another – neither on civil society level nor on political elites level,’ he said.
Aram Safarian, head of an NGO called Integration and Development, argued that Armenia’s European and Eurasian integration processes are not in conflict.
"I am deeply convinced that Armenia can build a European-styled society being at the same time part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which is part of the Eurasian geopolitical space," Safarian said.
He said Armenia is Russia's ally, and, thus, part of the national and regional security, led by Russia in the common defense space.
"We may sign a trade treaty with Europe to have our country integrated into European markets, as well as an agreement for closer Eurasian integration on the post-Soviet space," Safarian said.
He said the consensus on these issues can be found as a result of in-depth public discussions. He recalled that Russian president Vladimir Putin said in March 2012 that Russia will build the Eurasian Union and maintain close relations with the EU at the level of strategic partnership. This position of Russia removes the controversy, he said.
In this context, he noted that in the case of passivity and the refusal to accept the challenges of the West and Russia, Armenia may face a third alternative to become part of the Middle East. -0-