“168 Zham” says that Armenia is already acting like a full member of the customs union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, pointing to President Serzh Sarkisian’s meetings held on Monday in Sochi during a summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). In particular, Sarkisian met with the autocratic President Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus. The paper says the meeting “can be deemed symbolic in the context of the Armenian authorities’ stated readiness to continue European integration.” It notes that Sarkisian also asked CSTO member states to help Armenia gain an observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization comprising China, Russia and former Soviet republics of Central Asia. It claims that the loose grouping has a “pronounced anti-European and anti-Western” orientation.”
“Zhamanak” insists that the damage caused by Sarkisian’s “disgraceful” decision to join the customs union is “not as irreparable as it seems.” “Having succeeded on the question of Ukraine, the European Union will simply prevent the drawing of an iron curtain between the post-Soviet space and Europe, which is currently sought by the Russian authorities,” writes the paper. It says that the “strategic struggle” between the EU and Russia is not over.
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” expects big and small Armenian political groups opposed to the customs union to set up “some grouping” and fight for renewed integration with the EU in the coming months. “Whether or not that will work out is difficult to tell,” it says. The pro-opposition daily is against “dividing the political field into pro-Western and pro-Russian forces.” It says Armenian factions and individual politicians should only fall into two categories: those that want a legitimate government and those that serve the current “illegitimate” regime. “Any other division would be artificial at this stage,” it says.
“Hraparak” comments on a 14-year prison sentence given to Vartan Sedrakian, a former presidential candidate accused of plotting to assassinate another ex-candidate, Paruyr Hayrikian. The paper says that prosecutors have not clearly explained why they think that Sedrakian wanted to kill Hayrikian.