Surprise. Shock. U-turn... Yet if we look at the bigger picture, including developments of last few months, this turn of events will not seem that surprising.
First sign that we are going to witness what we eventually witnessed, i.e. Armenia president announcing (3 September 2013) country’s intention to join the Russia led Customs/Eurasian union, was... yes-yes, the anti-gender-equality-law-hysteria.
Armenian government proposed the law on gender equality, as part of its European commitments, made sure it was approved by the under control parliament (no efforts needed, just order), then along with Russia provoked and contributed to the backlash against the very law they adopted by equalling “gender” with “European amorality” and “LGBT”. To note, women's groups, including Women's Resource Centre that became target of orchestrated hate campaign and LGBT rights groups had no role whatsoever in developing or promoting the law.
Never before Armenian public underwent such an intoxicating dosage of anti-EU hysteria with propaganda machine making all the possible efforts for EU to be associated with "amorality", "destruction of traditional Armenian families", "making your children gay"... You got the picture.
While this puppet show was clearly governed from Moscow, Armenia authorities not only did nothing to explain the benefits of their ‘EU integration’ policy, a policy they ‘worked towards’ for the last 4 years and seemingly (only seemingly!) committed to, but all their under control media, including Public TV, was engaged in an anti-EU campaign.
They used this ‘hate the EU’ campaign to prepare the public for the announcement of 3rd September.
Since the introduction of Eastern Partnership, It has always been the case that Russia dislikes (to put it mildly) the initiative and will do whatever possible to derail it. Armenia’s dependence on and close ties with Russia was never a secret.
It’s inconceivable to believe that Armenia authorities committed to EU and went so far - only steps away to sign (initial) the Association agreement, including deep and comprehensive free trade agreement - without Russia's blessing.
They waited the right moment to announce the U-turn as a diplomatic coup triumph for Russia and a scare tactic directed primarily to Ukraine.
For Armenia authorities, hardly bearers of or devotees to European values, the main reason why they entered this game was because in return they received EU/West legitimacy, despite fraudulent elections. The only things that matter to them are power, money and travel enjoyment. With Russian help, they made EU to believe that they are committed pro-Europeans. Ha!
Now they can present themselves as victims of Putin’s pressure: ‘poor Armenian authorities, they simply had no other option but to succumb to Russia’s pressure.’ How convenient.
This way they will try to avoid EU sanctions and may get something light in return. You know, the way they like the concept of ‘human rights light’. Now it will be ‘EU light’. Something that won't put too much responsibility on them in terms of commitments by still giving all the main benefits in terms of keeping power, money and travel. Win/win for Armenia ruling regime and Putin’s Russia. Big fail for the EU.
Armenia ruling regime clearly demonstrates how unreliable international partners non-elected authorities could be. Time wasters.