Russia, Armenia end diamond export tax
The deal on diamond trade was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenia's Serzh Sargsyan, and follows Armenia's decision in September to join the Moscow-led Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Western analysts say Russia is pressuring the former states of the Soviet Union financially to prevent them integrating with the European Union.
Russia's Alrosa sold 40,233 carats of diamonds worth $4.85 million to Armenia in the January-September period of this year. Russia and Armenia also agreed on cheaper prices for natural gas and oil products.
Current anti-government demonstrations in Ukraine follow the government's decision last week not to sign key agreements with the European Union in favor of stronger economic ties with Russia. Sargsyan said his country would take the necessary measures to join the union as soon as possible. ■