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Moscow's Envoy To Armenia Says Russian-Led Trade Bloc 'No U.S.S.R.'

Ivan Volynkin, Russia's ambassador to Armenia
YEREVAN -- Armenia will not lose its independence after joining the Russian-led Customs Union, Russia’s ambassador in Yerevan, Ivan Volynkin, has insisted in an interview with RFE/RL.

Volynkin strongly denied that Moscow is keen to recreate the former Soviet Union, saying that "the Soviet Union is a thing of the past and there will be no return to [it]."

Referring to current and future members of the trade bloc, Volynkin said these states will "undoubtedly have to give away part of their sovereignty to supranational bodies."

But he insisted that was part of all integration processes, including to the European Union.

Critics of Armenia's planned membership of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakshtan -- which was unexpectedly announced by President Serzh Sarkisian in September -- say Armenia risks becoming even more dependent on Russia.