Electric Networks of Armenia is a 100 per cent subsidiary of the Russian Inter RAO Group, which in the popular consciousness makes Russia indirectly responsible for the social costs associated with that company. The company has repeatedly been accused (even by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Armenia) of embezzlement, mismanagement, spending money on expensive cars for the top management and overstaffing. As a result, discontent with Electric Networks of Armenia came to be projected onto Russian big business as a whole.
It is extremely important to build up contacts between legislators in the Russian Federation and the Republic of Armenia, and between influential centres of the Armenian diaspora in the East and the West. Diversifying contacts with the Armenian political community would help Russia to overcome the situation whereby the current government abuses its friendship with Moscow and attempts to strengthen its positions by posing as its only reliable ally. It would thus create a situation in which a change of regime in Armenia would not have disastrous consequences for the Russian presence in the country. Another challenge is to foster cooperation with the opposition. It is necessary to overcome the prejudice that the critics of the present administration are anti-Russian.
In addition to the political sphere, contacts should be fostered with civil society, meaning not only human rights activists and leaders of social protests, but young scientists, writers, teachers, journalists and businesspeople. One of the fastest-growing sectors of the Armenian economy is IT. It is in this sphere that the U.S. presence is very tangible, while Russia's is insufficient. Moscow should step up the trends that meet modern demands (technology, educational programmes, careers in Russia and Armenia owing to Russia's efforts).
Moscow plays a key role in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Military-technical cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan enables Moscow to maintain the status quo in the Caucasus and prevent Baku from drifting into the sphere of Western influence in the same way that Georgia did. Read more: Russia – Learning from ArmeniaVote