What do we know about Armenia’s foreign policy options?

Civilitas Polls
The Civilitas Foundation attaches paramount significance to identifying public opinion on Armenia’s foreign integrational policy and encouraging broad public discussion. This need is especially highlighted in the current context of political decision-making, when the choice over Armenia’s foreign policy options is a one-man or one-party process lacking democratic support.

On October 6, 2014 the Civilitas Foundation organised a public discussion on Armenia’s foreign policy options. The event also featured presentation of the findings of a national telephone poll conducted earlier on the same topic. The telephone poll aimed to identify the knowledge of Armenia’s population of foreign integrational policies, including the possible benefits and harm from each option, their attitude and preference over these options as single or combined policy directions. It also identified the population’s mid-term projection of the situation in areas pertaining to domestic policy, such as education, health care, security, and economy (labor market).


The results of the poll also show that the population is generally unaware of the details and implications of policy choices. Roughly 30% of the population does not know of the benefits and disadvantages of joining the Customs Union or deepening relations with the EU, although the public thinks that they know more about the benefits of joining the Customs Union (only 20% unaware of the benefits).

The full report on findings of public awareness, opinion and attitude, as well as the foreign policy background of Armenia is available here.

The public discussion was moderated by Civilitas analyst Tatul Hakobyan, the guest speakers were Alexander Arzoumanian, Former Foreign Minister, Parliament Member and Hovhannes Igityan, Ex-chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations of the Parliament.

The discussion was livestreamed and is available on CivilNet’s Youtube channel. Here are some of the statements of the guest speakers. Alexander Arzoumanian, for example, highlighted that Armenia has a chance of maneuvering and defending its interest, like Kazakhstan is currently doing. “Under the circumstance of limitations to our sovereignty, we can propose a national referendum, in this manner we can avoid haphazard decision-making,” says Alexander Arzoumanian.

Speaker Hovhannes Igityan described the model that Russia is trying to create by establishing a unified economic zone and raising customs fees. “We do not fit into the Eurasian Economic Union, we are a consumption-based economy, we can hardly meet our minimum consumption basket needs, that is why our state is cutting customs fees on imported products in order to keep the consumer prices low. Whereas Russia is aiming its policies towards internal consumption, if they do not produce, for example, ‘Lada’ cars, their economy will collapse, that is their soviet way of thinking. This is the reason why Russia is telling people to drive ‘Lada’ and is increasing the customs fees for imported goods,” says Hovhannes Igityan.

The participants of the public discussion also had an opportunity to pose questions to the speakers and articulate their opinions. The public discussion indeed contributed to crystallizing public opinion about the issues and risks of joining the Customs Union or the Eurasian Union, as well as to learn about the opportunities of deepening relations with the European Union.

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Facts for Thought
Number of theater performances (1) and attendance (2) in Armenia
(1) (2)
2008 2,364 409,500
2009 2,443 367,800
2010 2,331 394,800
2011 2,707 458,900
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