Russian-Led Trade Bloc ‘No Soviet Union’

By Sargis Harutyunyan

Armenia will not lose its independence after joining the Russian-led customs union, Russia’s ambassador in Yerevan, Ivan Volynkin, insisted on Friday, strongly denying that Moscow is keen to recreate the former Soviet Union. 


“The Soviet Union is a thing of the past, and there will be no return to the Soviet Union with its positive and negative sides. I am absolutely certain that there will be no new USSR,” Volynkin told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) in an interview.


“These states will not lose their sovereignty in full,” he said, referring to the current and future members of the Russian-led trade bloc which Moscow wants to turn into a Eurasian Union. “But they will undoubtedly have to give away part of their sovereignty to supranational bodies. This is what happens in all integration processes in the world.”


“Didn’t the member states of the European Union sacrifice part of their sovereignty when they formed that European alliance?” argued Volynkin. “Some of those countries even sacrificed some sectors of their industry and agriculture.”


“By the way, the Customs Union does not require such sacrifices. Moreover, Armenia’s industry and agriculture will receive an additional impetus for development and use of the Eurasian market,” added the diplomat.


Critics of the planned Armenian membership in the union, which was unexpectedly announced by President Serzh Sarkisian in September, say the authorities in Yerevan have failed to substantiate the economic wisdom of the move. They say Armenia risks becoming even more dependent on Russia.