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Armenia: Customs Union Marks Great Leap Backward -- Activists

Will joining the Customs Union affect civil freedoms in Armenia? (Photo: Anahit Hayrapetyan)

While President Serzh Sargsyan’s administration touts Armenia’s pending accession to the Russia-led Customs Union as likely to usher in an era of prosperity for the South Caucasus country, rights activists assert that when it comes to democratization, Customs Union membership means Yerevan will take “one step forward, two steps back.”

The founding members of the Customs Union – Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus – all feature authoritarian-minded political systems, in which freedom of expression is restricted, the judicial systems are firmly under executive control and non-governmental organization activists and independent journalists are generally viewed by officials as subversive elements.

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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am.

Armenia: Customs Union Marks Great Leap Backward -- Activists

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