“Zhamanak” says that the signing of association agreements between the European Union and Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine marked the beginning of a “new historical period” for the three former Soviet republics. “What exactly that period will bring about is difficult to say,” writes the paper. “But one thing is almost certain. Unfortunately, things will not run smoothly not only for these countries but also their [EU] Eastern Partnership neighbors. But their course would not have been easier and smoother without the association agreements. The association agreements will protect them in the legal and economic-political senses.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reminds readers that President Serzh Sarkisian spurned such a deal with the EU and opted for joining the Russian-led Customs Union last year. The paper cites concerns that Sarkisian’s foreign policy choice will jeopardize Armenia’s relationship with Georgia. It sees a “new economic division line” emerging between the two neighboring states.
Sarkisian claimed during this month’s visit to Tbilisi that Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU and Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union will actually create new investment opportunities for businesspeople in the two countries. “In theory, Georgian entrepreneurs could make use of Armenia’s free-trade regime with Russia and invest in Armenia to manufacture goods [for the Russian market,]” writes the “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “But Armenia has a free-trade regime with Russia even now [that it’s not yet a member of the Customs Union.] But there are no signs of Georgian businessmen queuing up to invest in Armenia.”
“168 Zham” claims that Shant Harutiunian, a nationalist activist standing trial for last November’s violent demonstration in Yerevan, primarily south to end Russian hegemony in Armenia, rather than topple President Serzh Sarkisian. The paper criticizes Armenian opposition parties and civic movements for not supporting him and his cause now.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” dismisses renewed speculation about former President Robert Kocharian’s possible cooperation with the four main opposition parties challenging President Serzh Sarkisian. “In effect, this is a meaningless debate,” writes the pro-opposition paper. “Robert Kocharian is simply a former president and nothing more. He does not have and never had his own party.”