(Saturday, September 4)
“Kapital” quotes a deputy chairman of Russia’s Gazprom monopoly, Andrei Kruglov, as telling a Russian news agency that the price of its natural gas for Armenia will likely rise further in 2011. He hinted that the price should gradually reach Gazprom’s “European level” of $308 per thousand cubic meters. The business daily says in that case Armenian consumers would pay 70 percent more than they do now.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” acknowledges that Armenia’s latest defense agreement with Russian made a full-scale Azerbaijani attack on Nagorno-Karabakh less likely. “This means that before starting hostilities in the Armenian direction Azerbaijan must ask Russia and get its consent,” speculates the paper. “That means the number factor preventing a military attack on Armenia today is not the superiority of the Armenian armed forces over Azerbaijan but new functions given to the Russian military base in Armenia.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” claims that foreign powers and Russia in particular would not oppose another Armenian-Azerbaijani war provided that it does not destabilize the entire region. The paper says the Russian-Armenian pact as well as the planned sale of Russian S-300 missiles to Azerbaijan are meant to serve this purpose. It says Moscow has safeguarded Armenia’s internationally recognized territory against a “possible aggression” and made Azerbaijan immune to “disastrous strikes.”
“Hraparak” accuses the Armenian authorities of tricking the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) to avoid complying with PACE resolutions demanding an end to their 2008 crackdown on the Armenian opposition. The paper says fresh amendments to Armenia’s Electoral Code drafted by the authorities are part of this effort. They have already been submitted to the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission for assessment. The paper insists that Armenia’s next presidential and parliamentary elections will be no less fraudulent than the previous ones.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says Levon Ter-Petrosian and his Armenian National Congress (HAK) should thank the Yerevan municipality for banning its September 17 rally in the city’s Liberty Square. “With that decision, the municipality made the radical [opposition] elite think about what they will do after September 17,” explains the paper. It claims that the HAK does not know what to do next. “After the rally, the HAK will again find itself in uncertainty and will not know what to do because it is impossible to continue the struggle with divided ranks,” claims the pro-government daily.