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Press Review


“Aravot” expects nothing serious from opposition actions planned for this autumn. The paper says the opposition will only hold a few rallies and repeat its “determination” to topple the ruling regime. But this will not be followed by meaningful actions. Nonetheless, the authorities will take the protests seriously by again blocking access to Yerevan and arresting dozens of protesters, it predicts. “Parallel to that, they will try to convince the Strasbourg Politburo that they have not closed roads or arrested anyone.”

“Our government can celebrate its complete and undisputed victory over the enemy,” “Aravot” comments on Azerbaijan’s calls for the suspension of Armenia’s membership in the Council of Europe. Azerbaijani officials made those calls at the start of this week’s session of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE). The paper says the Armenian government could use that fact to try to discredit the domestic opposition by asserting that “to criticize what is criticized by the Azeris is undoubtedly a high treason.” The same is true for the Azerbaijani authorities. They too have exploited the Karabakh conflict to neutralize their political opponents.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that Moscow’s disregard of Armenian concerns over the closure of the Russian-Georgian border is a logical consequence of Yerevan’s pro-Russian foreign policy. After all, the paper says sarcastically, Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian himself stated recently that Armenia does not need open borders to develop economically. “All of this is important in that we once again have an occasion to think what purpose Armenia’s foreign policy serves after all.” Armenian foreign policy setbacks were previously justified by the unresolved Karabakh dispute. But its resolution does not seem urgent to the authorities, according to the paper.

Even the pro-Russian “Hayots Ashkhar” criticizes Russia for keeping its border with Georgia and Azerbaijan closure, saying that it is Armenia that is suffering from the blockade most. “Armenia has found itself in a position of an innocent scapegoat,” says the paper. It says the Russians should have opted for other means of pressure on Georgia that would not have hurt Armenia. “The fact of the closure of the [Russian-Georgian] Upper Lars border crossing could be used by some forces for somehow undermining the Russian-Armenian strategic partnership. However, the majority of the public is deeply aware and conscious that the blockade at Upper Lars is not the kind of issue that could cast doubt on the Russian-Armenian strategic partnership.”

(Vache Sarkisian)
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