36% out of 1145 Armenians perceive the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union – comprising Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia) a more preferable path of integration for Armenia, whereas 27,2% support the EU and 21,7% argue that Armenia should not take part at the integration process. This was the outcome of an opinion poll conducted by the Armenian representation of the Gallup International Association.
Notably is, however, that the support of the EAEU decreased compared to previous polls. The Director of Gallup International Association Office in Armenia, Aram Navasardyan, stated that, “various measurements showed that the index of joining the EAEU made up 54-64 percent”. The index of the EU amounted significantly.
In contrast, the new Armenian Ambassador to Russia, Vardan Toghanyan, described in an interview that Armenia is satisfied with its choice in favor of the EAEU. He recalled that Yerevan made a conscious choice in favor of the Eurasian integration although it held talks with the EU on associated agreements. Furthermore, he emphasized that the statistics show that a certain growth of commodity turnover after the accession has been perceived. Hence, the ambassador stressed that he is not familiar with the “either-or” policy option, referring to the fact that Armenia does not have to decide if it either joins the EAEU or the EU.
Armenian Minister of International Economic Integration and Reforms, Vache Gabrielyan, explained that the EAEU has a big potential as economic project and has already generated results regarding purely economic relations. Moreover, the Minister recalled that Armenia suffered from economic difficulties in 2015 and 2016 which was often linked to the entry into the EAEU, which lead to a serious public debate. At the same time Gabrielyan, however, stresses that Armenia’s economy would have deteriorated even further without the entrance into the union and the thereby emerging business opportunities with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The Minister also predicted that the trade turnover would increase in the following 2-3 years.
On the contrary Anzhela Khachatryan, a representative of the Free Democrats, stressed that the membership of the EAEU cannot give Armenia what the associated membership of the EU would offer. She further criticizes that the EAEU countries also suffer from corruption and human rights violations, while Armenia would be guided by European economic values when it follows the political priorities of Europe.