John Heffern, America’s ambassador to Armenia, has this week told Armenians that they should blame Russia if US sanctions against Putin’s government affect the Armenian economy.
Speaking on the subject of sanctions against Russia Heffern told journalists “The sanctions are aimed against Russia, not Armenia, but they can affect Armenia’s economy. If Armenia does not like this, they should complain to Moscow.”
The ambassador’s comments come after rising concern from many experts of the effect US and EU sanctions will have on Russia and its trade partners. As a country that relies economically on Russia Armenia stands to lose a lot if sanctions negatively impact the Russian economy.
Economic sanctions and Russian trade restrictions have already led to some change in Russia and the Caucasus region. Food prices in some parts of Russia have increased and experts have expressed concerns that the combination of sanctions and import bans will affect many not connected to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, including many of Russia’s poorest.
Armenians have also expressed concern that they may be unfairly affected by sanctions, as a country that relies heavily on trade and imports with Russia.
Ambassador Heffern’s comments highlight a concern raised by many experts who suggest that the US and EU are unconcerned with the negative effects that their sanctions may have on many people, including those living in the Caucasus. Earlier this month Russian academic Natalia Zubaravich claimed that a food import ban would impact many people living in the Caucasus region unfairly and lead to little impact on Putin’s government.