“Iravunk” comments that the outcome of Sunday’s Russian parliamentary elections, won by President Vladimir Putin’s loyalists, heralds major changes in Moscow’s internal and foreign policies. The paper says that with the new State Duma to be dominated by hard-line nationalists nostalgic about the Soviet past, the Kremlin will become even more jealous about growing U.S. presence in former Russian satellites, and the South Caucasus in particular. It also predicts a change in Russian policy on Armenia that will find it more difficult to carry on with its “complementary” foreign policy. “Moscow will hardly spend resources on keeping a regime that is unable to solve elementary issues in the country and ensure the minimum rule of law,” “Iravunk” claims.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that Putin’s regime “has done everything to limit the level of Armenia’s sovereignty and to completely subordinate to itself the country which became independent after the collapse of the USSR.” “Last elections made it evident that Armenia’s leader is again directly appointed by Moscow,” the paper writes. “Such a quality and direction of Russian-Armenian relations can not please even those who would like to see Armenia freed from Robert Kocharian as soon as possible. And that Russian policy will clearly intensify after the parliamentary elections.”
“Aravot” similarly believes that Russia will get “a tough authoritarian regime” and pursue a more “unfavorable” policy towards Armenia. “Any country with imperialist ambitions would like to be allied with a state that would duly carry out its will by, among other things, opposing neighbors,” the paper editorializes. But it adds that the nationalist euphoria in Moscow may backfire and eventually set off separatist movements in various parts of Russia. Armenia should therefore reduce its dependence on Russia to avoid spillover effects of “yet another [Russian] collapse.” “We have already lost Western Armenia because of betrayal by Czarist Russia, while the Bolshevik empire appended Nakhichevan and Karabakh to Azerbaijan,” “Aravot” reminds readers of the events of 1915-1920.
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” Dashnaktsutyun leader Vahan Hovannisian says the Armenian side should not rule out Azerbaijani attempts to win back Karabakh by force. He points to growing criticism of the OSCE Minsk Group by Ilham Aliev and other Azerbaijani officials. “The thing is that the [group’s] co-chairs are gradually becoming more and more fair, which is seen as a pro-Armenian stance by the Azerbaijanis,” Hovannisian says.
“Aravot” describes as “fruitless” the co-chairs’ latest visit to the region, sticking to its long-standing assertion that President Kocharian does not want a solution to the Karabakh conflict as long as he is in power.