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Is Russia Choosing Between Armenia And Azerbaijan?

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Is Russia Choosing Between Armenia And Azerbaijan?

By Naira Hayrumyan, Political Commentator – 17/2/2014
In an interview with the Kommersant, the Iranian ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanahi said Iran and Russia have almost agreed selling Iranian oil to Russia, about half a million barrel a day. Russia has offered several lines for transportation which are under consideration.
A few days earlier the Iranian ambassador to Armenia Mohammad Reisi met with Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan. The official press release states that energy and transit-related issues were discussed.
The two sides have possibly minimized their transit so far. Iranian gas is supplied to Armenia in return for which Armenian electricity is supplied to Iran. In terms of transit, only the Armenian highways are used to travel from Iran to Georgia via Armenia.
Do the Russian proposals involve a pipeline across Armenian for the Iranian oil? Recently, according to the Iranian mass media, the Russian ambassador to Iran has stated that the pipeline may run across Azerbaijan, connecting the Iranian Astara with the Azerbaijani Astara.
Addressing the congress of Yerkrapah Union of Volunteers on Saturday, Serzh Sargsyan refrained from foreign political issues. He only announced that joining the Customs union is economically better for Armenia for which a market of 200 million people opens up. Sargsyan said we were able to sell 20% of shares of ARG to Russia for 150 million dollars which, in fact, cost cheaper.
What did those 20% bring to us? Serzh Sargsyan asked, noting that if we want to control something, we need good legislation for that.
The legislation is certainly good. However, we have committed not to adopt legislation that will be against Gazprom's interests for 30 years. And the deal signed with Russia actually prohibits transit through Armenia. It is interesting whether there is a similar deal on oil.

Russia Does Not Allow Lifting Armenia's Blockade

By Naira Hayrumyan, Political Commentator – 17/2/2014 reported, referring to the Iranian press that Russia and Iran have agreed that Russia build Astara (Azerbaijani) – Astara (Iran) - Resht railway for which Iran will pay with oil.
The Kremlin is trying to buy Iranian oil to make sure it does not flow towards Europe through a pipe that is not controlled by Moscow.
However, the West is against. Yesterday, the presidents of the United States and France actually warned not to lift sanctions on Iran if others use the opportunity to start buying Iranian oil.
Moscow cannot sit down and twirl its thumbs so now methods of buying oil bypassing sanctions are being sought for. In addition, it is again done in prejudice of Armenia, across Azerbaijan, to make sure that Armenia does not happen to break through the blockade and appear in a geopolitical project.
The president of Iran is going to visit Armenia soon. Yesterday the ambassador of Iran met with the prime minister of Armenia and invited him to Iran to attend the meeting of the intergovernmental commission.
Armenia is receiving important proposals but Yerevan does not even make them publicly known not to have to understand why it refuses those proposals.
Interestingly, despite the fact of political occupation of Armenia, Russia is not going to give any chance to its partner or rather satellite. Moscow understands that even a slight fresh breath amid the blockade will eventually rip Armenia off the Russian space. Russia needs Armenia cornered and deprived of a chance to maneuver.
The Armenian political society prefers pretending that the biggest problem of Armenia is the domestic situation, and if the government is changed, all the problems will be resolved. In additional, the political circles avoid geopolitical assessments and do not offer foreign policy alternatives. Unlike the social networks where everyone says that the Armenian government is the distributor of Russian interests, no such assessments are heard from the political rostrum.
In this case, the Armenian government is not motivated to review its policy or rather the lack of policy.
All the Armenian government is doing now is rejecting all the profitable geopolitical projects. The so-called opposition has nothing against it. Moreover, the ideologists of the opposition periodically call not to replace the demand for removal of the government with geopolitical tasks. As a result, even Russia thinks it is necessary to include Armenia in its projects, preferring to build a railway between Iran and Azerbaijan, not Iran and Armenia.

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