(Saturday, September 7)
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” claims that Armenia will have to open a customs checkpoint on the border with Nagorno-Karabakh and impose import duties on goods coming from the territory after joining the Russian-led customs union. “What is more, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus will have the right to control that checkpoint,” says the paper. “Not to mention the Armenian-Iranian and the Armenian-Georgian borders. In effect, they will become Russian-Iranian and Russian-Georgian borders.”
“What will we get in return?” continues “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun.” “Did Russia secretly promise to ensure Karabakh’s security? Maybe it did. But in that case, what keeps Serzh Sarkisian from stating that the Karabakh settlement was also discussed during [Russian-Armenian] negotiations? In short, the main problem is that Armenia ceded a considerable part of its sovereignty but they won’t say what for.”
“Zhoghovurd” says that if one is to believe Artur Baghdasarian, the secretary of the National Security Council, the Armenian authorities needed four years to understand what economic integration with the European Union is all about. “Thank God, they managed to realize that the EU is bad two months before initialing the Association Agreement,” the paper comments tartly. “And when it came to the customs union the brains of our officials worked faster. The Russians probably did a better job of explaining things.”
“168 Zham” expects few tangible economic benefits for Armenia as a result of joining the union. First of all, argues the paper, the volume of Armenia’s trade with EU member states exceeds that with Russia. Besides, it says, the cost of essential goods imported from Russia is unlikely to fall given “the monopolized state” of the Armenian economy. Furthermore, the cost of goods imported from the EU and other parts of the world will actually grow because Armenia will have to adopt Russia’s higher customs duties.
“Aravot” says that “one or another government structure” are behind the latest spate of violent attacks on Armenian civil society activists. “The proof of that is the impunity of the attackers,” editorializes the paper.