MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian President Vladimir Putin met Friday with his Armenian counterpart Serge Sargsyan during his visit to the Armenian capital of Yerevan, which is hosting events in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire.
Over 200 interstate, intergovernmental and interagency treaties and agreements were signed. Fundamental documents include the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance of August 29, 1997 and the Declaration of Allied Cooperation in the 21st Century between Russia and Armenia, which was signed on September 26, 2000.
Russian-Armenian relations are characterized by regular top- and high-level contacts.
On August 19-20, 2010, then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made his first visit to Armenia. During the visit, a number of documents were signed, including a protocol extending to 49 years the duration of the 1995 bilateral treaty allowing the Russian 102nd Military Base to be deployed in Armenia's northwestern city of Gyumri. A number of intergovernmental agreements on readmission and cooperation in building new power units for the republic's nuclear power plant were also signed.
In 2013, Armenia reaffirmed the vector of its development, prioritizing Eurasia. On September 3, following talks between Vladimir Putin and Serge Sargsyan, Armenia declared its intention to join the Customs Union and participate in forging the Eurasian Economic Union.
On December 2, 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a state visit to Armenia. The talks with Sargsyan focused on the development of bilateral cooperation, trade, economic and humanitarian cooperation and the prospects for Armenia's accession to the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space. Twelve bilateral documents were signed. President Putin also visited the Russian military base in Gyumri and, together with President Sargsyan, via video conference, watched the launch of the fifth power unit at the Razdan thermal power plant.
On February 7, 2014, President Sargsyan attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Russia's Sochi.
The countries maintain active contact between their prime ministers, as well as intensive interaction on ministerial and departmental levels.
Russia and Armenia actively cooperate in addressing international issues on various international platforms: the UN, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
The Border Protection Directorate of the Russian Federal Security Service, in conjunction with Armenian border guards, ensures the protection of the country's borders with Turkey and Iran.
Russia is Armenia's key foreign trade partner. According to the Russian Federal Customs Service, in 2014, their bilateral trade balance amounted to $1.4 billion, including Russian exports of $1.1 billion and imports of $313.5 million
Imports include foodstuffs and agricultural goods, precious metal objects, textiles, textile products and footwear.
Russia is Armenia's leading foreign investor. The volume of Russian investment accumulated since 1991 is about $3.4 billion. Major investment projects include the construction of natural gas energy facilities with the participation of Russia's Gazprom, the acquisition of 100 percent of Armentel, Armenia's national telecom company, by Russia's Vimpelcom and the acquisition of 100 percent of Armsberbank's assets by Russian VTB Bank, among others.
Armenia has transferred ownership of five companies to Russia to count toward its state debt. Companies and businesses with a share of Russian capital in Armenia (over 1,300) account for 27.6 percent of the total number of companies with a share of foreign capital operating in Armenia.
Russian-Armenian cultural cooperation is expanding. In 2008, the Season of Russian Culture in the Republic of Armenia was conducted and in 2009, the Season of Armenian Culture in Russia was held. In April 2009, the Russian Center of Science and Culture opened in Yerevan.
The Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) State University, founded in 1997, is one of Armenia's leading establishments of higher education. Branches of Russian colleges and universities are very popular in Armenia. There are various programs to support the Russian language in the republic.
On September 12, 2013, a cathedral of the Russian and Novo-Nakhichevan Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church was consecrated in Moscow.