Armenian ruling party MP: It’s better to remain under Russia’s yoke

It is better for Armenia to remain under the yoke of Russia, a “majoritarian” member of the ruling Republican Party’s parliamentary faction said on Thursday, explaining his “yes” vote for the ratification of a treaty under which Armenia will become a member of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) beginning next year.

“We cannot survive without the Russian people and you know it well, simply you’re asking this question,” said Mher Sedrakyan, speaking to reporters in a parliament corridor.

“Our people has always lived under foreign yokes, we are used to having someone standing above us – Persians, Turks, Russians… Isn’t it better to be under the power of the Russians?” said the lawmaker, adding that “if we are not with them, we will be devoured.”

The 131-seat National Assembly of Armenia on Thursday voted 103 to 7, with one abstention, to ratify the treaty under which the country will form a trade bloc with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan from January 1.

The vote took place against the backdrop of a protest organized by scores of activists outside the parliament building. The protesters demanded that the lawmakers refuse to ratify the treaty that they claimed would strip Armenia of its sovereignty.

Representatives of the ruling party believe Armenia’s EEU membership does not affect the nation’s political sovereignty, but, on the contrary, is good for its economy and security. Major opposition groups, which also voted in favor of the treaty in parliament, also see no alternative to Armenia’s alliance with Russia.

Before the parliamentary debate and ratification the treaty passed through the Constitutional Court, which also upheld its constitutionality.