Thursday, October 30, 2014


Armenia

Putin Arrives In Armenia Amid Protests Against Customs Union

Anti-Putin demonstrators rally in Yerevan on December 2.
Anti-Putin demonstrators rally in Yerevan on December 2.

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News Analysis: Armenia's Choice Stirs Competition Between Moscow, EU

The Armenian president's decision to favor joining the Russian-led Customs Union at the expense of closer EU ties has raised questions about Moscow's regional ambitions.
By RFE/RL's Armenian Service
Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Yerevan, where some 1,000 activists protested his visit and Armenia's plans to join a Russian-led customs union.

Putin met with Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian and agreed that Russia would sell Armenia natural gas for $189 per 1,000 cubic meters, roughly half the price Russia charges countries in Europe.

Putin also agreed to cancel a 35 percent duty on Russian exports of petroleum products to Armenia.

Increases in Russian duties on petroleum products have caused large problems in some CIS countries that are not part of the customs union, which besides Russia also includes Kazakhstan and Belarus.

Armenian officials have agreed to join the customs union and enjoy the accompanying trade benefits.

Putin started his trip to Armenia by visiting the northern city of Gyumri on December 2, where he visited a Russian military base, attended a business forum, and a ceremony to launch a new section of the Razdan power plant constructed with Gazprom's assistance.

Meanwhile, protesters in Yerevan held posters saying, "STOP-Russia," "Putin, Go Home!" and "Serzh, Go Away!" and tried to march to the presidential palace.

Police blocked the protesters' way, saying their demonstration was unsanctioned.

Several leading anti-Russian activists were detained in Yerevan before the rallies started.

WATCH: Putin visits Armenia amid protests (Live Feed In Armenian)



With reporting by ITAR-TASS, Interfax and RIA Novosti

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