“Whoever your ally may be, you can’t have any security mechanism if you don`t have these three components. And to state that as part of the Customs Union we will have security is just ridiculous. Is security possible if you are humiliated?” stated Postanjyan. She added that Putin’s official visit on December 2 was offensive since the Russian President violated the ceremony rules by first visiting the military base in Gyumri instead of the capital city of the country receiving the high-level guest.
AvetikIshkhanyan, Armenian Helsinki Committee Chairman, is sure that even a small and weak nation can negotiate with one or another country and show fangs. Ishkhanyan believes flattering is not diplomacy, moreover it is common to neglect the one flattering. In his observation, the Armenian authorities negotiated with Russia not for security, Karabakh, but for their power maintenance.
“I had high hopes that the signing of the Association Agreement would be the salvation. The excitement I felt at Armenia’s access to the Council of Europe melted away. In any case, the Association Agreement could become a lever,” stated Ishkhanyan.
ArturSakunts, head of Helsinki Citizens` Assembly Vanadzor office put forward three issues of concern to civil society:firstly, to inform the Armenian public about the consequences of the Armenian entry into the Customs Union and human rights issues in the CU member states;secondly, to prove that the Republican Party of Armenia has illegally accumulated a similar capital, which also serves its political purposes; and lastly, to make efforts to resolve the crime which took place on March 1.
“The First of March is a crime against the Armenian citizens committed by the current government, with the direct support of Putin whose emissaries provided expert support aimed at suppressing the Armenian citizens,” believes Sakunts.
LevonBarseghyan, president of “Asparez’’ journalists` club, considers that Russia blackmailed SerzhSargsyan over Armenia’s joining the CU. ‘Either you join the CU or you will be substituted in your country.’
Barseghyan is sure that Armenia’s joining the Custom Union contributes to the loss of sovereignty., thus, the political parties must consolidate to resolve the problem. ‘What should these political parties do if Armenia became a Russian region? Isn’t it easier to struggle now? Hating EU does not mean that they should not struggle for Armenia’s sovereignty.’
Larisa Minasyan, executive director of “Open Society Funds-Armenia”, believes that joining the Customs Union is imposed on Armenia as an alternative for its existence: ‘With us you live, without us you die.’ According to Minasyan, the CU membership may be ‘reasoned’ by the fact that it is an economic union first of all. The CU state members may be more corrupt but we will possibly be granted with gas price reduction.' However, the Eurasian Union membership may cause more serious problems.
'Joining the Eurasian Union brings about changes regarding values which is a greater and more constant problem,' noted Larisa Minasyan.
StepanGrigoryan, director of Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation, has not so far got a clear answer from any of the EU officials why so much attention was paid to the Vilnius Summit. According to Grigoryan, once the Association Agreement was worked out, EU should have signed it with Armenia and Ukraine without waiting for the Vilnius Summit.
'While EU officials intended to take all the parties to Vilnius, the 'anti' powers started to work,' stated StepanGrigoryan. The panelist congratulated the Ukrainian nation on their struggle that comes to prove that it is not the authorities who decide everything.
On December 16, 2013 Partnership for Open Society initiated a public discussion entitled ‘Life after Vilnius: Challenges and Implicit Future Opportunities’. The panelists included Larisa Minasyan, executive director of “Open Society Funds-Armenia”; LevonBarseghyan, president of 'Asparez' Journalists' Club; ArturSakunts, head of Helsinki Citizens` Assembly Vanadzor Office; StepanGrigoryan, director of Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation; and AvetikIshkhanyan, Armenian Helsinki Committee Chairman.