According to the findings of public opinion surveys on “Positions: to the North or West?” conducted in 2017, 33% of Armenian society thinks that Armenia should join EU, 32% thinks that it should join EAEU, 10% is against either of these organizations and 12% is for joining both ones.
The research is carried out for the 4th time since 2014. It is implemented in all marzes of the Republic of Armenia and in Yerevan by the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office and the “Advanced Public Research Group” NGO. In 2017, the survey was conducted in May, with individuals over 18 years of age and the findings were compared with the results of the previous three years.
Arthur Sakunts, Chairman Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor Office, Ruben Sargsyan, Head of “Advanced Public Research Group” (APR Group) NGO, participated in the press conference on this topic at Media Center.
Compared with 2016, the number of supporters of the EU has dropped from 41% to 33% in 2017, the number of supporters of the EAEU has increased from 25% to 32%. According to the research, the number of EAEU supporters in 2017 is higher than in 2016 but lower than in 2014-2015.
Artur Sakunts says that except for the year of 2016, the number of supporters of the EU has increased in four years, while the number of EAEU supporters has dropped, for example, in 2014, the number of EAEU supporters was 38%, and in 2015, it was 36%.
Ruben Sargsyan says the reason was the fact that Russia supplied military equipment to Azerbaijan during the April war.
“This year, the discussions are not so hot, so there are more supporters of EAEU this year than last year,” Sargsyan said.
Ruben Sargsyan also underlined that the Eurasian Economic Union is associated with Russia and those who oppose Armenia's joining the EAEU, do not consider Russia a friendly country for Armenia. 46.8% of the respondents considers Russia as a non-friendly country, and they are for the membership to the EU.
“If we consider the perceptions of friendly and hostile states, then the positive attitude towards the EU member states is more than the EAEU member states,” Sakunts said.
According to the survey, the number of EU supporters in almost all regions is increasing. The supporters of EU membership are mostly from Yerevan, and then Tavush and Shirak come. And the majority of EAEU supporters is in Lori province, then Vayots Dzor comes where the number of EAEU supporters has increased as compared to previous years.
The results of the survey show that EU supporters are mostly people aged 18-45, most of them are females, and they live in urban areas of the regions, and their monthly income exceeds the threshold of 150,000 AMD.
And the supporters of the Eurasian Economic Union are people aged over 45, mostly male, who live in the villages and their monthly income comprises to 150,000 AMD.
“The dynamics of 2014-2017 have been almost the same, unchanged, women have been more supportive of the EU, and men are from EAEU with the same age groups, 45 and older are for EAEU, younger people support EU,” Sargsyan said.
As a rule, mass media influence on population orientations. The survey found that the majority of TV viewers are supportive of the Eurasian Union, while the readers of print and electronic media are for EU.
“28 percent of television viewers are EU supporters, 35.2 percent are EAEU supporters, and In the case of radio, the number of supporters is equal - 23 percent. Those who read the print media are 50 percent supportive of the European Union and EAEU supporters are not among the print media readers. 37.5% of the readers of the online media are EU supporters, 22.8% - EAEU,” Sargsyan added.
Lilit Arakelyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”
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