Russian official: Karabakh can become EEU member after its status is determined

Russian official: Karabakh can become EEU member after its status is determined

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This week at the Parliament, at the 25th Armenian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission the head of the commission, member of the Russian Council of the Federation Nikolay Ryzhkov mentioned that Nagorno-Karabakh can become a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) only after clarifying its status.

In response to a reporter’s question why Russia can enter the EEU together with Crimea, and Armenia cannot do the same with Karabakh, Ryzhkov answered: “You try to compare Crimea with Karabakh… I understand that Karabakh is a painful topic for Armenia, for us - as well, but in case of Crimea let me not agree with you. Crimea is historically a Russian land, for centuries we were one territory, and we have no fault in the fact that [Nikita] Khrushchev was drunk when he handed it to Ukraine.”

He mentioned that the population of Crimea willfully decided to join Russia, what were they supposed to do then? Say no?

“Let’s first get determined about the status of Karabakh and then discuss this question. If it is an Armenian land we will be glad to see it in the form of the EEU. For now that question is suspended. For instance, that same Transnistria… they cannot become a member in the EEU because you know the rules, if certain territorial or border issues are not solved then membership cannot take place. Thus, when Karabakh conflict is solved we will be happy for its membership. And the way it will be solved – as a separate state, or in the form of Armenia, life will show,” Ryzhkov said.

Addressing the question concerning the controversial statements of Dmitry Kiselev, a host of a prime-time Sunday program on State Russian TV known as one of the top mouthpieces of the Kremlin, who at a meeting with a group of Armenian lawmakers last summer regretted that the Russian language is fading away in Armenia, calling for its official status, Ryzhkov said that official Moscow never raised the question of Russian becoming Armenia’s state language.

“Frankly speaking, this is the first time I hear about forceful steps toward the status of the Russian language, moreover, Russian being granted the status of the second state language. Armenia has a state language; besides, it is a mono-ethnic state. Someone might have said something. Do not listen to them,” Ryzhkov said.

Ryzhkov, 85, is considered a pro-Armenian politician, in the international arena he stands out by his pro-Armenian speeches, valuing the necessity of the Armenian-Russian strategy. In Gyumri there is a Ryzhkov memorial board with his face carved on it, in Spitak – his statue in recognition of his personal contribution to reconstruction in the wake of a devastating 1988 earthquake. In 2008 the Armenian government awarded him the highest Armenian decoration - National Hero.