“168 Zham” says Armenia’s intention to join the Russian-led customs union is also exposing “the degradation of our state governance system.” The paper points out that not a single Armenian official has stepped down in protest against the announcement made by President Serzh Sarkisian. This demonstrates that the Armenian state apparatus consists solely of “opportunistic” and “unprincipled” individuals who have only one supreme objective: to retain their positions, it says.
“Zhamanak” comments on EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele’s criticism of Russian pressure on former Soviet republics seeking European integration. The paper says Europe is thus “keeping the window open” for Armenia. “But the window is clearly very high and it will take huge efforts by Armenia to reach that height,” it says. “Assuming, of course, that the Armenian authorities want to overcome that height and maintain relations with Europe. For the moment it looks like they want to, even though they are trying to lower the bar and minimize the price.”
Davit Shahnazarian, an opposition politician, tells “Aravot” that the EU would be wrong to kill the Association Agreement with Armenia now. “It would mean that Brussels too has succumbed to pressure from Moscow and the Kremlin’s imperialist ambitions,” says Shahnazarian. “Accession to the customs union is a long process, a murky path full of uncertainties. And whether that (Armenian membership in the union) will be put into practice is still a big question. The EU should continue cooperating with Armenia within the framework of the EU’s association program.”
“Hraparak” says law-enforcement authorities’ decision to free a son of former Syunik Governor Suren Khachatrian arrested for a recent high-profile murder shocked the public. “Even those in the government are bewildered, angry and surprised,” claims the paper. It calls Tigran Khachatrian’s release a “pinnacle of injustice.”
Citing data from the National Statistical Service (NSS), “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” reports that consumer price inflation in Armenia reached 16 percent in the first eight months of this year. “This is not just inflation, this is a disaster,” comments the pro-opposition daily. “A more terrible disaster than the one which occurred in the first year of the [2008-2009] global economic crisis when the Armenian economy contracted by 14.2 percent … The government is not even bothering to give any explanation.”