Moscow warns Armenia against 'political' crackdown on old elite

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Russia's foreign minister on Tuesday warned Armenia's new leadership not to make "political" moves against pro-Moscow former elites who are currently being targeted in an anti-corruption crackdown.

The remarks came after former president Robert Kocharyan was charged with tipping a 2008 election in favour of his pro-Moscow successor.

"The events of the last few days...contradict the recent declarations of the new Armenian leadership that it was not planning to pursue its predecessors on political grounds," Sergei Lavrov said in comments carried by Russian news agencies.

"Moscow, as an ally of Yerevan, has always had an interest in the stability of the Armenian state and therefore what is happening there must be of concern to us," he said, adding he was hoping for "constructive" developments.

Lavrov's declaration is the first outward sign of tension between Russia and Armenia since opposition campaigner Nikol Pashinyan swept to power in the ex-Soviet nation in May on the back of popular protests.

He launched a campaign to stamp out graft, which has already seen the arrest of a number of top officials.

Unlike the leaders of earlier popular movements in ex-Soviet Georgia and Ukraine, Pashinyan has tried to maintain good ties with Moscow.

Yuri Khachaturov, the Armenian secretary general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization -- a military alliance led by Moscow -- has also been charged in the case that saw the arrest of Kocharyan.

© 2018 AFP

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