“Aravot” says heavy losses suffered by the Azerbaijani army during recent fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh strengthened President Serzh Sarkisian’s hand at the August 10 meeting with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev that was mediated by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The paper suggests that Aliyev may therefore avoid escalating tensions on the Karabakh frontline ahead of his future talks with Sarkisian. “The international community’s attitude to Aliyev and the Azerbaijani authorities in general is now tougher than ever before,” it claims. “Unprecedented repressions unleashed against Azerbaijani journalists and human rights activists are intensifying. Despite calls by international bodies and Western officials, Aliyev’s regime is not giving in.” The paper says that Aliyev is eliminating the last vestiges of dissent in his country because the Armenians have shattered his “myth” about the Azerbaijani army’s ability to reconquer Karabakh at any moment and left him more vulnerable to domestic challenges to his rule.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says September 3 will mark the first anniversary of the unexpected announcement of President Sarkisian’s decision to make Armenia part of the Russian-led Customs Union. The paper says virtually all major Armenian parties responded to that move by competing among each other to extol the virtues of membership in the bloc. “At first, the authorities tried to make people believe that Armenia can join the Customs Union and continue the process of association with the European Union. It became clear shortly afterwards that this is not possible. It then emerged that prospects for joining the Customs Union are not that bright. Then it turned out that Kazakhstan has serious reservations related to Karabakh.” Now, one year on, the Armenian government’s propaganda machine is less enthusiastic in promoting membership in the union, says the paper.
“Zhoghovurd” reports on Zharangutyun party representative Ruben Hakobian’s calls for Armenia’s four main anti-government groups to officially demand Sarkisian’s resignation. Two of them, the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), remain reluctant to do that. The paper wonders whether Zharangutyun and Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) will keep up their cooperation with the BHK and Dashnaktsutyun if the latter stick to this cautious stance.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that periodical emergencies reported at the Russian-Georgian border crossing have created an additional problem for Armenian exporters. “This is the sole road connecting Armenia to the outside world,” writes the paper. “A considerable part of not only our exports but also imports is carried out through it. The Upper Lars crossing has been shut down due to a natural disaster for a third time this year.”