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“If Armenia became Lithuania...”: Pashinyan’s interview adjusted by 180 degrees

Caucasus (, - The interview of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to the British newspaper The Telegraph was substantively discussed by relevant specialists and experts, including, of course, the interlocutors of As if there is nothing left to talk about, everything is clear and transparent. But there are certain nuances, understatements and signals. That's what we'll talk about.

On December 14 last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a press conference:

“I don’t think that it is in Armenia’s interests to terminate its membership in the CIS, EAEU and CSTO. “As for Nikol Pashinyan’s absence from events, it is connected with some processes in the country and is not connected with the desire or unwillingness to continue working in these associations.”

That is, Armenia, led by twice popularly elected Prime Minister Pashinyan, is not only a member of the three mentioned organizations, but at least takes an active part in at least two of them, and even chairs one!

Hence: I suggest you, dear readers, to play changeling. Let's imagine that Armenia is part of the EU and NATO (like, for example, Lithuania), and Nikol Vovaevich answers questions from a Russian journalist; instead of Russia, the conversation mentions, for example, Germany, and instead of the EU and NATO, respectively, the EAEU and the CSTO. We read and change places. Go!

The Telegraph (Roland Oliphant): You recently, I think this week, said that Armenia can no longer rely on Russia as its main military and defense partner. I think it's quite clear why. Russia has not fulfilled its obligations under the CSTO. What does this mean in practice? Is Armenia considering NATO membership in the future?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan: We did not say that we deny or reject cooperation with Russia in general and in the security sphere in particular. We said we were going to diversify our security relations. What does it mean? Does this mean we are going to sever our security relationship with Russia?

...Our security relations with the United States, France, India or the European Union, of course, are not directed against Russia. These are simply realities that indicate that the security relationships we have had in the past do not meet our security needs.

There is no such issue related to NATO on our agenda. That is, we have not discussed and are not discussing NATO membership.

…I will also say that today we are at least de jure a member of the Collective Security Treaty, and there are discussions in Armenia about how much the strategy of membership in the bloc corresponds to the interests of Armenia in the long term.

The Telegraph (Roland Oliphant): You say you are not turning your back on Russia. However, in the modern world this is impossible. The countries you mentioned have close ties with France, the USA, the EU, and they are in serious geopolitical confrontation with Russia. You actually have to make a choice, don't you?

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan: When the war in Ukraine just started, I think I said in an interview with Czech CNN Prima News that we are not allies of Russia on the issue of Ukraine, and this is so.

But I also want to say that our security cooperation with the United States, France or our other partners is not directed against another security partner of ours.

Another thing is that our partners themselves have concerns about how cooperation with them could affect their security systems. We are trying to resolve this issue with our partners as part of a joint agenda, being as transparent as possible.

The Telegraph (Roland Oliphant): You say that the new cooperation with the West is in no way directed against Russia, that Russia does not need to worry in this regard, that you are simply diversifying your security environment.

Now I will quote the comment of an anonymous source, presumably a high-ranking Russian official, to the TASS agency: “We regard the speech of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in the European Parliament on October 17 as absolutely irresponsible and provocative, especially as regards Russia and Russian-Armenian relations. We see how they are trying to turn Armenia into Ukraine No. 3 […], and Pashinyan is taking leaps and bounds along the path of Vladimir Zelensky.” If I were you, I would be very concerned about this kind of rhetoric coming from Russia, given what Russia is doing in Ukraine.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan: In general, it seems right to me to comment on quotes only after I read them myself, at least that’s what my political experience tells me. But in general, in continuation of the previous question, I will say the following: we, as I said in my speech in the European Parliament, are cooperating with the European Union, our relations with the European Union are deepening.

By the way, I would like to draw your attention to a very important fact: ... our direct neighbor, friendly Georgia, has become a candidate for membership in the European Union.

The Republic of Armenia and our government must take a definite position regarding this event. I can say one thing, and perhaps this is obvious from what I said: if I congratulated Georgia, the Georgian government and the Georgian people on this occasion, then it is obvious that I consider this a positive event. Otherwise, what's the point of congratulating?

P.S. Basically, I have only one question here. How many hours later would an explanatory team arrive at Pashinyan’s residence so that in the morning, as a result of the third round of elections, by the will of the people, another State Department or British mischief maker would sit in the NVP chair.

But we are not like that... We do not interfere in internal affairs.

“If Armenia became Lithuania...”: Pashinyan’s interview adjusted by 180 degrees