7 September 2005 — Several top members of a leading opposition party said yesterday that they are quitting in protest over what they described as the party’s pro-Western stance.
Albert Bazeian, who left the Anrapetutsiun (Republic) party along with six comrades, said its leaders’ push for Armenia’s membership in NATO and withdrawal from the Russian-dominated alliances was wrong.
The Anrapetutsiun party leader, former Prime Minister Aram Sarkisian, has recently called for Armenia to quit the Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose alliance of ex-Soviet countries.
Armenia has remained a staunch Russian ally and hosts a Russian military base.
Russia’s energy monopoly assumed financial control of Armenia’s only nuclear plant in 2003, and earlier this year it also has acquired the right to manage and receive profits from Armenia’s national grid company for the next 99 years. Armenia also depends on Russia for natural-gas supplies.