“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” suggests that Russia may have forced Armenia to upgrade their joint air-defense system with a warning that the protection of Armenian airspace would otherwise not be guaranteed or a threat to halt arms supplies to Yerevan. “In any case, [the Russian-Armenian agreement on air defense] means that Russia sells us weapons so that we put them at their disposal and Russia manages them in times of war,” writes the paper. “In the political sense, we have found itself in a situation where we have to sign an agreement that will bring us no practical benefits. But failure to sign it could harm us. So unfortunately, Armenia has no choice. Our country lost the ability to make such a choice when the authorities decided that loving the historical homeland is more important than strengthening the real homeland.”
Writing in anticipation of the next Armenian-Azerbaijani summit, “Zhamanak” wonders whether Russia is preparing to revive a peace plan on Nagorno-Karabakh which was nearly accepted by Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev at Kazan in 2011. “Is that plan back on agenda or has it been somewhat altered or modified, as was stated by [Russian Foreign Minister Sergey] Lavrov after the Vienna meeting [of Sarkisian and Aliyev?]” The paper highly critical of Russia speculates that Baku is waiting for Moscow to convince Yerevan to accept this settlement.
“Hraparak” says that President Sarkisian and Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian each have about a dozen advisers. Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and several Armenian regional governors likewise have several advisers receiving taxpayers’ money. The paper says that most of those advisers are wealthy individuals with extensive business interests. “This position gives them nothing apart from a status,” it says, adding that their salaries may not be a big deal for them but are a heavy burden on the state budget. The government must ax these advisory jobs if it is serious about its promises of significant cost-cutting, concludes the paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that by 2020 the Armenian government will have to spend at least $800 million on debt servicing annually. “That sum includes the repayment of $700 million in Eurobonds issued in 2013,” writes the paper.