(Saturday, June 1)
“Zhamanak” is worried that the Armenian government may be secretly and slowly trying to make Armenia part of the Russian-led customs and Eurasian unions despite its stated commitment to an Association Agreement with the European Union. “This work style is not alien to the Armenian authorities, which is what we have seen in the case of gas,” comments the paper. “For a long time they covered up the issue and declared that there will be no [gas] price rise. But it then suddenly emerged that [the gas] has become more expensive. So one should not be surprised if it emerges tomorrow that Armenia is not just a member of the customs and Eurasian unions but one of its founding members.”
“Aravot” comments on the Armenian government’s controversial plans to revamp Yerevan’s main Republic Square. The paper fears that this project will involve “meaningless expenditures” that will change its unique architectural design. “We have already senselessly torn down and distorted many structures,” it says in an editorial.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports on official statistics that shows foreign direct investment in the Armenian economy decreasing by 35 percent in the first quarter of this year. “This does not match in any way claims by our high-ranking officials that the investment environment in Armenia is improving,” writes the paper. “That environment just cannot improve amid a continuing decrease in investments in any country. Note that last year foreign investment dropped by 8 percent, according to official data.” The paper claims that even that data is not accurate, meaning that the decline in foreign investment was even more drastic.