Hanrapetutyun party leader Aram Sarkisian tells “Aravot” that just because there have been no anti-government rallies in Yerevan of late does not mean that the Armenian opposition is “not active.” He says opposition activities also “require ideological and tactical approaches.” “This situation can be described as a period of re-evaluation of values. It is now time for correct and calculated steps. I think that will not last long because the real situation is very explosive.”
Commenting on the latest Russian-Armenian energy deal, Sarkisian says Armenia’s leadership is ready to do anything to cling to power. “In both political and economic senses, this deal is the latest in a series of failed deals that began with [the 1998 sale of] ArmenTel and will not end as long as there is still a vacant lot or an unclaimed house in Armenia,” he says.
“Hayots Ashkhar” echoes Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s arguments in favor of the deal. The paper says it was “justified” because the Russians have agreed to pay a lump sum for and invest at least $150 million in an incomplete power plant. “All grandiose statements [against the deal] affect reality as much as a radio hanging from a beauty salon wall affects a person’s fate,” it says.
The chairman of the parliament committee on finance and economy, Gagik Minasian, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the Hrazdan plant’s sale to Gazprom will enable Armenia to “breathe freely for more than two years.” “Especially those sectors [of the economy] that consume a lot of energy can use this period of time for finding new markets for their products,” he says.
“Azg” notes that the bulk of comments the deal with Gazprom made in Armenia are politically motivated and highly polarized. “There are no, or almost no, impartial evaluations [of the deal] that do not pursue any political goals,” says the paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” attacks Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian for pouring scorn on critics of the Armenian government’s decision to cede more energy assets to Russia. The paper says that if one is to believe Sarkisian, Yerevan has managed to fool “the sucker Russians” into signing an agreement highly unfavorable to Moscow.
“Azg” reports that the president of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), Rene van der Linden, has issued a statement effectively warning Azerbaijan against restarting hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh. “In that case, we would have to discuss that country’s continued membership in the Council of Europe,” he is quoted as saying. The paper considers the reported statements the toughest international reaction yet to Azerbaijan’s continuing war threats.
In an editorial, “Aravot” paints the portrait of a typical wealthy member of Armenia’s parliament. The paper says the Armenian “oligarch deputy” is “a) extremely impudent; b) ignorant; c) has only one and a half convolutions of the brain; d) is pegged to one of the high-level officials.”