“Zhoghovurd” continues to look at possible implications for Armenia of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s efforts to mend ties with Russia and Ankara’s growing tensions with the West. “Any change related to Turkey is fraught with new dangers for us, Armenians,” writes the paper. “In particular, whereas in the past membership in NATO was a factor deterring Turkey in its support for Azerbaijan, Turkey’s hands are now being freed and Russia, which has started flirting with Ankara, will hardly tie them.” Moscow, it claims, sees a special role for Turkey in its Eurasian geopolitical projects.
Interviewed by “Aravot,” Ashot Yeghiazarian, an Armenian economist, pounces on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bizarre claim that Armenia’s economy grew by 10 percent last year owing to its membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Yeghiazarian insists that the EEU does not deserve credit even for the official growth rate of 3 percent reported by the Armenian government. He argues that Armenian exports to Russia shrunk last year, as did multimillion-dollar remittances from Armenian migrant workers in Russia.
Lragir.am also comments on Putin’s “blatantly false statement,” urging Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian to “expose Putin’s lie” during his upcoming trip to Russia. Failure to do so would render Abrahamian’s visit “meaningless,” claims the online publication.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian government on Thursday approved more tax breaks for Ucom, an Armenian mobile phone and Internet service provider reputedly controlled by Finance Minister Gagik Khachatrian. The government specifically agreed to delay until 2019 the collection of a value-added tax worth 70 million drams ($147,000) from Ucom. The paper condemns the move as a “disgraceful” example of favoritism. It argues that the two other Armenian mobile phone operators have not been granted such privileges.