PETERSBURG (RFE/RL) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has described Armenia as Russia “strategic ally” and said Moscow is interested in political stability in the South Caucasus nation.
“Armenia is not just our partner, it’s our strategic ally, and we value that,” Putin told Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan late on June 17 during a meeting held on the sidelines of the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum.
“We understand what is happening today in Armenia and around Armenia,” he said. “We are intent on developing our partnership relations. We are interested in a stable situation in the country which will guarantee progressive development. “
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov similarly expressed hope last month that Armenia will enter a “period of stability” when he comment daily anti-government protests launched by the Armenian opposition on May 1. Peskov said the protests aimed at toppling Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan are the country’s “internal affair. “
In his opening remarks at his first-ever meeting with Putin, Khachaturyan said that Pashinyan’s official visit to Russia in April had a “huge impact” on the political situation in Armenia by ending “some speculation” there.
“But it was clear how you received [Pashinyan] here and what he felt when he toured [the Russian city of] Nizhny Novgorod,” Khachaturyan said, seemingly alluding to speculation that Moscow is encouraging opposition groups to oust Pashinyan.