The Communist Party will not allow antiRussian sentiments to develop

The Communist Party will not allow anti-Russian sentiments to develop

Hayots Ashkharh, Yerevan
20 Aug 04

by Vahan Vardanyan

The Communist Party of Armenia [CPA] yesterday made a statement saying
that it intends to deal a final counterblow to any possible
anti-Russian sentiments. To find out the motives for such a
statement, the newspaper interviews the first secretary of the CPA
Central Committee, Ruben Tovmasyan.

[Hayots Ashkharh correspondent] Mr. Tovmasyan, how should one
understand such an unexpected statement by the CPA? What kind of
anti-Russian sentiments do you see as a subject of counteraction by
the party?

[Ruben Tovmasyan] Recently, various parties and politicians started
making statements concerning Armenian-Russian relations, calling them
exhausted. It means that the country’s foreign policy must be changed
towards the West and that only Western states, specifically the USA,
will help us build a prosperous country. Others point out the need for
Armenia’s integration into European structures and NATO.

However, the CPA is categorically against this position. We are sure
that only the deepening of relations with Russia can keep Armenia away
from disastrous developments in the future. The Communist Party of
Armenia believes that attempts to deepen anti-Russian sentiments will
affect only our country. Our relations with Russia over the last 300
years have stood a serious test and have done the Armenian people only

[Correspondent] Who and which parties do you think support
anti-Russian sentiments?

[Tovmasyan] Unfortunately, their number has considerably increased of
late. Everyone who is allowed to speak on TV or in the press seems to
feel obliged to make anti-Russian statements, even saying that they
[the Russians] have prejudice against our people. Various parties, the
“remainder” of the [former ruling] Armenian Pan-National Movement,
initiators of various round table discussions and clubs have become
demonstrators of the “damage” caused by Armenian-Russian relations.

[Correspondent] Do you admit that such forces exist within the
Armenian opposition as well?

[Tovmasyan] Why not? But it is also unacceptable to us. A big question
mark is hanging over Russian-Armenian relations and the country’s
military orientation today, not over those who oppose the
authorities. Although the CPA is in radical opposition to the current
regime, it will not allow anti-Russian sentiments to develop,
irrespective of whether their initiators are in opposition or

[Correspondent] However, the policy of the Armenian authorities is not
anti-Russian. In this context, your concern is exaggerated.

[Tovmasyan] No, it is not. As regards the authorities, I would mention
the circumstance that they do not make any radical statements and do
not declare pro-Russian orientation Armenia’s only and decisive
choice. There are some signs of it, but it does not mean that the
country’s orientation is pro-Russian, and it is mentioned in our
statement as well.

[Correspondent] Does the CPA still think that the only prospect is in
a union with Russia?

[Tovmasyan] Yes, we must ally ourselves with Russia on all
issues. Only this union will allow Armenia to solve its problems and

[Correspondent] But which status should Armenia have in such a union?

[Tovmasyan] In my opinion, Armenia must maintain its statehood. But
we, the communists, consider it to be a key issue not to allow our
country to be sidelined from the developments in the former Soviet
Union. There is the Union of Russia and Belarus which is developing in
spite of minor obstacles. Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan
are stressing more and more the idea of restoring the common economic
area. These are the signs of Russia’s serious influence. Armenia must
actively participate in these processes.

[Correspondent] There are many predictions that Western influence will
gradually prevail in our region. How can we ally ourselves only with
Russia if we have no common border?

[Tovmasyan] This does not mean that Armenia must follow the example of
Azerbaijan and Georgia which have really pro-Western orientation. Our
country’s role in Western programmes is too modest and nominal. The
CPA will never agree with this.

We must have a pro-Russian orientation, and maybe only this will
influence Georgia and Azerbaijan and make them change their
orientation, and it is not we who must follow them. The West will take
into account our opinion when it sees us in a union with Russia, not
when we accept all their demands.