“Zhamanak” claims that Armenia still has time to steer clear of the Russian-led customs union, commenting on Thursday’s summit of ex-Soviet states held in Minsk, Belarus. Accession to the union involves a “fairly long procedure,” argues the paper. Also, it says, the customs union has is still not an established structure as evidenced by serious disagreements on economic issues among Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. “One should not get disappointed and think that everything has been lost irreversibly. One should fight against all this.”
But as “Zhoghovurd” notes with alarm, Armenia’s accession process is “continuing at a catastrophic speed.” The paper is also worried that Yerevan will be forced to impose trade barriers for Nagorno-Karabakh after joining the customs union. “It would be at least naïve to think that Azerbaijan will sit by idly and watch countries bound by strategic cooperation agreements with it, notably Russia and Kazakhstan, create a common customs zone with the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic,” it says. “Clearly, this will sooner or later lead to deadlock. But they prefer not to talks about it in Armenia and the customs union’s member states.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” comments on Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s perceived confusing statements on the Armenian membership bid. The paper suggests that Lukashenko “does not know what he wants from Armenia.” It says he has gone as far as to exploit the Karabakh conflict in the customs union context.
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” laughs off government claims that a sharp rise in the salaries of high-ranking states officials, which is currently debated by the Armenian parliament, is essential for reducing corruption in the country. “If we are not mistaken, corruption is a grave crime that requires condemnation, rather than a material encouragement,” writes the pro-opposition daily.