YEREVAN—On Monday, the Armenian National Assembly’s Committee on Foreign Relations and the Russian State Duma’s Committee on CIS Affairs and Eurasian Integration adopted a joint statement condemning the Armenian Genocide while at the same time marking the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany.
The joint statement, adopted on Monday following a meeting of the two parliamentary committees, highlights the importance of the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War, as it is called in Russia, and the contribution of the Armenian and Russian peoples to the victory over fascism. The statement also reaffirmed the sides’ stance on the Armenian Genocide and called on the legislative bodies of all countries to condemn and recognize the Genocide that took place in the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923.
The parliamentary committees also included a point about enhancing the economic integration of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), so far consisting of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Armenia.
Russian lawmaker Leonid Slutsky, who chairs the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs and Eurasian Integration, remarked on Monday that the Armenian Genocide “needs a political solution,” opposing Ankara’s insistence that a historical debate is in order. “Our stance on the Armenian Genocide is known also to the countries that do not recognize that crime against humanity, including to Washington,” the Russian parliamentarian said.
Slutsky brushed off complaints from Armenian lawmakers that the joint statement does not go far enough and is unclear in its demands.
“We should realize that sometimes it is useful to yield in small issues to win in the bigger ones,” Slutsky said. The Russian lawmaker repeated his belief in the need to condemn and recognize the Armenian Genocide, which, Slutsky said, he has voiced during foreign visits, irrespective of the stance of the country hosting him. “I voiced my stance on the Armenian cause even during my meeting with Aliyev,” the Russian parliamentarian said.
Slutsky said Yerevan should use its strategic relations with Moscow to soften the anti-Armenian rhetoric from Baku and Ankara.
The Russian lawmaker also informed journalists in Yerevan that the presidents of Armenia and Russia, Serzh Sarkisian and Vladimir Putin, will meet on April 24 in Yerevan to discuss the Artsakh conflict, ahead of ceremonies commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
“The Karabakh conflict is a sensitive and delicate matter. The negotiations are held within the OSCE Minsk Group format, Slutsky said. “There is another format of trilateral negotiations between the presidents,” Slutsky said recalling the August 2014 meeting between the Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Russian presidents in Sochi wherein, according to Slutsky, the settlement was discussed rather comprehensively.
Slutsky hopes for “symbolic steps” in the Karabakh peace process within the coming months. He stressed the need for an immediate settlement of the conflict given the recent upsurge in tensions at the frontline.
Meanwhile, Armenia’s President Serzh Sarkisian met with the Speaker of the Russian State Duma, Sergey Naryshkin, who is on a working visit to Armenia. The two parties reportedly discussed a broad range of issues related to the Armenian-Russian strategic partnership and bilateral relations. The sides emphasized that inter-parliamentary relations play an important role in the strengthening of partnership between Russia and Armenia.
Sarkisian and Naryshkin also discussed the development of Armenian-Russian trade and economic relations, especially in the context of new EEU integration processes. The sides asserted that by acceding to the Eurasian Economic Union, Russia and Armenia have enhanced their mutually beneficial partnership and must take advantage of the Union for the welfare of both nations.
Naryshkin was later hosted at the Armenian-Russian (Slavonic) University, where a forum devoted to the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War was being hosted.
Speaking at the forum, the Speaker of Armenia’s National Assembly Galust Sahakyan noted that the year marking the 70th anniversary of the victory is also the year marking the centenary of the Armenian Genocide, stressing that there was a direct relationship between the Armenian Genocide of the early 20th century and atrocities of World War II.
Prior to the opening of the forum, Galust Sahakyan and Sergey Naryshkin participated in a tree-planting ceremony held as a sign of friendship between the two nations in a newly added pathway in the courtyard of the Slavonic University.