“168 Zham” reports that opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian has invited representatives of many political parties and non-governmental organizations to join his anti-government rally in Yerevan on Friday in the hope of boosting attendance at it. “Some of the parties have turned down his invitation while those that have decided to accept it could disrupt the rally with their presence and speeches,” comments the paper. It explains that the rally is meant to protest against what Hovannisian sees as a threat to Armenia’s independence emanating from membership in the Russian-led customs union. Some of the parties invited to the protest actually support that membership.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes Ara Abrahamian, a pro-Kremlin leader of the Armenian community in Russia, as saying that President Vladimir Putin’s absence from Tuesday’s inauguration of a newly built Armenian cathedral in Moscow was disrespectful towards the Armenians. “I’m angry too,” says Abrahamian. “Of course, the president may have been busy and not in Moscow. But the opening of the church had been planned beforehand. If he had been informed a bit earlier, the president might have showed up. I don’t know. But I do agree with you in that the president should have come and showed respect for us, the Armenians of Russia,” he adds.
“Aravot” says that nobody in Yerevan seems to be happy with the consecration of what is one of the biggest Armenian churches in the world. “Many were happy that Putin, [Prime Minister Dmitry] Medvedev and [Moscow Mayor Sergey] Sobyanin did not attend the ceremony,” editorializes the paper. “That was construed as a sign of an imminent regime change in Armenia.”
Razmik Zohrabian, a deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), assures “Hayots Ashkhar” that joining the customs union is “not dangerous” for the country. Zohrabian argues that Armenia has long had a close relationship, including a military alliance, with Russia. “Having military cooperation does not mean losing sovereignty,” he says. “There are states that ensure their security and economic developing on their own. But even they are not totally independent.”