“Zhamanak” says that the leadership of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) met late on Thursday to rubber-stamp President Serzh Sarkisian’s decision to join the Russian-led customs union amid unusually tight security and protests staged by more than 100 activists. The paper fears that the authorities will soon launch a nationwide crackdown on dissent in keeping with the repressive methods of their Russian counterparts.
“Hraparak” is not sure that Russia is “trustworthy and decent” enough to fulfill its promises given to Sarkisian and to avoid selling more weapons to Azerbaijan. The paper is also worried that the Kremlin’s “traditions” of electoral fraud and imprisonment of opposition figures will take hold in Armenia.
“Zhoghovurd” accuses President Serzh Sarkisian of completely “eradicating the tradition of being accountable to the public.” The paper says that Sarkisian has become inaccessible for Armenian journalists. He did not talk to the media even after his fateful decision to make Armenia part of the Russian-led union.
“Hayots Ashkhar” disagrees with complaints that Sarkisian made the decision in haste and without any consultation with other state officials, politicians and the general public. The pro-Sarkisian daily says membership in the customs union must be assessed in terms of its geopolitical and not economic consequences for Armenia. It says that Armenia and Russia will now be jointly confronting security challenges in the broader region.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” is alarmed by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that a branch of Moscow State University and a Russian-language high school could be opened in Armenia next year. The paper says an official from the Armenian Ministry of Education confirmed such plans on Thursday.