“168 Zham” speculates that during his official visit to Moscow President Serzh Sarkisian will likely obtain assurances that the Kremlin and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will not back his predecessor Robert Kocharian’s possible bid to return to power. The paper says this will help to clarify Sarkisian relationship with both Kocharian and the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) of Gagik Tsarukian.
“Hraparak” wonders what Armenians felt when they saw TV images of Sarkisian’s talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other engagements in Moscow. “Pride? Interest? Self-confidence? A sense of statehood? I don’t know,” writes a columnist for the paper. “I personally had a feeling of anxiety and discomfort and thought, ‘Again those Russians. What are they plotting now?’”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” says a Russian-initiated free trade agreement signed by Armenia and seven other former Soviet republics last week is a prelude to the establishment of a “Eurasian Union” favored by Putin. “There was no discussion, no debate,” complains the paper. “Nobody was told why on earth Armenia needs a free trade zone with authoritarian states with which we don’t even have a common border. We do realize that our rulers go out of their way to please Russia’s leadership. Of course, they are only acting to cling to power. For that reason the society must not be informed.”
“I don’t think that the [ruling] coalition will now collapse,” Aram Karapetian, the leader of the opposition Nor Zhamanakner (New Times) party, tells “Yerkir.” “I find it hard to imagine that. I have pointed out before that Dashnaktsutyun’s exit from the coalition [in 2009] was explicable: there was an ideological problem. In the ideological sense, it is not clear what disagreements the Republicans and the BHK have. I think their disagreements are purely administrative ones, which is not our problem.”
“Zhamanak” asks Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian to comment on a highly critical assessment of the state of affairs in Armenia which was made by Charles Aznavour, the French-Armenian singer who also serves Yerevan’s ambassador to Switzerland, in a recent magazine interview. “Charles Aznavour is so great that whatever he says must not be commented on. Even by a deputy foreign minister,” says Kocharian.