YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Nikolay Ryzhkov–a deputy of the Russian State Duma–and former USSR Prime Minister–highly stressed the importance of Armenian-Russian relations for both countries. "This is our southern stronghold–this is our friendly power–and we must be geopolitical friends with them by all means," he said in an interview to the Public Television of Armenia.
Positively estimating the general condition of bilateral relations–Ryzhkov also added that the current problems appeared to be caused by the Russia’s. Among the most important problems he mentioned was the failure to restore the direct railway communication between the two countries via Abkhazia.
"In fact–we’re guarding Shevardnadze–and the surrounding areas in order to prevent a quarrel there but we didn’t find the political will to restore 80 kilometers of the railway," said Ryzhkov. Instead we should transport the cargo on ferries from Novosibirsk to Batumi–which Ryzhkov characterized as–"scratching your left ear with your right hand."
Another problem is neglecting to finalize settlemen’s–because of which Armenia can lose about $100 million a year. "It is necessary to sit and discuss what needs to be done to finalize these unresolved settlemen’s," Ryzhkov said.
Ryzhkov expressed his conviction that Armenia is Russia’s main strategic ally in the Transcaucasus today. This strategic position is important to Russia both for the current situation and for future–long-term situations.