“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” says that despite government assurances to the contrary, Armenia will lose part of its sovereignty as a result of joining the Russian-led customs union. The paper says public reaction in Armenia to President Serzh Sarkisian’s September 3 announcement has been surprisingly muted.
“Zhamanak” says Sarkisian is accused by critics of having made the decision secretly, without consulting with the public and even the parliament. “In any civilized state, such an accusation would be enough to raise the issue of the president’s impeachment and hold a relevant political force accountable,” writes the paper. “But in Armenia it does not presuppose such political or legal consequences because Armenia’s authorities have never been accountable to the public.”
“Zhoghovurd” says pro-government economists are now trying to “save Serzh Sarkisian’s face” with questionable claims that membership in the customs union will bring Armenia significant economic benefits. The paper argues that the terms of Armenian accession to the union have yet to be clarified. It says that at this point one can only speak of concrete Russian economic sanctions which Yerevan has avoided.
“It is not yet clear what the consequences will be for our economy,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “The customs union comprising Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan has functioned for two and a half years. Nobody has clearly explained what concrete advantages it has given these three countries.” The paper says one likely consequences of joining the union and adopting its import duties is that the prices of cars in Armenia will go up substantially.
“Aravot” says it is not surprised that opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian avoided any criticism of Russia in his comments on Sarkisian’s September 3 announcement. What is more, Ter-Petrosian urged supporters not to attack the Kremlin in connection with that development. “The main message of his speech was as follows: the Armenian National Congress (HAK) could have made Armenia a member of the customs union in a more dignified manner than Serzh Sarkisian has,” the paper says.