Armenian national postal operator bypasses anti-Russian sanctions
    West's double standards

    ANALYTICS  28 February 2023 - 13:16

    Huseyn Safarov

    "You don't want to put up with a change in lifestyle because of Western sanctions? And your business desperately needs goods that have become unavailable? It is still possible to deliver everything you need from abroad to our country. Absolutely everything that could have been ordered before the sanctions is still being delivered to Russia! This is done by Haypost, the national postal operator of Armenia."

    This is how, brazenly and unceremoniously, Armenia's national postal operator advertises its services to circumvent Western sanctions on Russian platforms.

    While Russia is under international sanctions and many Western companies stop doing business with this country, Armenia is trying to improve its economic situation keeping its foot in both camps, as custom has it.

    It is interesting that the West is well aware of who helps Moscow circumvent the sanctions. Last year, Jake Sullivan, US Presidential National Security Advisor, published a list of countries suspected of helping Russia, and Armenia was named among them. Moreover, according to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), EU exports in May-July last year compared to the average of similar periods in 2017-2019 decreased by 56 per cent in the direction of Russia and by 39 per cent in the direction of Belarus, while it increased by 72 per cent in the direction of Armenia. It is noteworthy that exports from Armenia to Russia increased significantly in 2022: it quadrupled compared to 2021 and reached $2.5 billion. Such a sharp upward leap certainly has nothing to do with the magical development of the Armenian economy.

    The increase in exports to Russia means that sanctioned products are simply being transported through Armenia. The only surprising thing about this story is that no sanctions have been imposed on Armenia. If Azerbaijan had been involved in such "disobedience", a reaction would not have been long in coming. When it comes to something reprehensible against Armenia, the West prefers not to "hear or see". Strange as it may seem, even non-sanctions channels – a terribly painful topic for Westerners, especially if it directly concerns Russia - are ignored by both the United States and Europe when it comes to Armenia. And Armenia is willing to use it. The situation is paradoxical, to put it bluntly: on the one hand, Yerevan is pestering European institutions for financial aid, while on the other, it is annulling the sanctions aspirations of its European donors, helping Moscow to circumvent the restrictions in every way possible.

    There are even special Telegram channels and pages in popular social networks where Russians are given the information they need - how and what they should do to obtain the necessary details, technology, and goods.

    There are many Armenian resources in the public domain, which contain unbiased advice on how to circumvent sanctions through the Armenian banking system and what conditions the Armenian government directly creates for this; detailed instructions are given on how to withdraw sanctioned money from accounts through Armenian banks and how to open a business without getting caught. In other words, Yerevan is deliberately and purposefully creating conditions for Russian businesses to overcome Western sanctions.

    The Canadian think tank Geopolitical Monitor concluded back in March last year that the ways in which Iranian products are removed from Western sanctions through Armenia could serve as a perfect example for similar actions against Russia. The publication notes that in the past, due to its advantageous geographical location, Armenia helped Iran in money laundering operations and facilitated its access to the international financial system. Now it has every opportunity to do the same for Russia; in fact, it is already doing so openly and without hiding this fact. In other words, Armenia has become not only a "bridge" for Iran but also a "window" for Russia, helping both to circumvent sanctions.

    And thanks to the efforts of its diaspora-funded lobby and the West's double standards, Armenia remains unpunished and is performing its role as a "window". Apparently, there is not enough air in the West, as the window is still only ajar.


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