Writing in “Aravot,” opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian says Russian-Armenian relations remain “disproportionately one-sided” and deplores “an absolute lack of equal and mutually respectful cooperation” in them. “After all, Armenia’s hosting of Russia’s sole military base in the region is not a primitive expression of courtesy and must be based on a joint recognition of mutual interests,” says Hovannisian. “Furthermore, the Russian base is the only facility of its kind located outside the Russian Federation, with the hosting country getting no rent payments or compensation. It is Armenia that covers all of its expenses. Such a pawning of Armenian national security is unacceptable and requires an immediate rectification.”
Hovannisian also says that if Russia goes ahead with the report sale of Russian S-300 air-defense missiles to Azerbaijan, Armenia must immediately leave the Collective Treaty Security Organization and demand “market rent” for the presence of the Russian base.
“The current variant of the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations creates only humiliation or a potential for humiliation for Armenia,” editorializes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” The paper points to reports that Turkey may temporarily open the Armenian border for Turkish participants of a NATO exercise to be held in Armenia next month. It argues that the Turks did not even allow President Serzh Sarkisian to travel to Turkey by road for a soccer match between the two countries’ national teams last fall.
“In the context of the [Turkish-Armenian] football diplomacy, this became yet another humiliation for Armenia,” continues “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “The Turkish diplomacy is now pondering a new trap for Armenia. If official Yerevan agrees to the opening of the border for several days, representatives of the Turkish armed forces will cross the Arax river and enter the Republic of Armenia under Ataturk’s flag.”
Speaking to “Zhamanak,” Vartan Bostanjian, a parliament deputy from the pro-government Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), deplores the latest increase in the prices of bread and other foodstuffs in Armenia. Bostanjian believes that the price hikes are not necessarily market-based. “That is creating a social problem,” he says. “Depending on the magnitude of those price rises, social discontent will obviously grow, and you can’t tell what it will lead to. For people with limited incomes, it is very difficult to survive. The authorities must take steps and those steps are being taken.”