(Saturday, February 1)
“Serzh Sarkisian stated in Prague that membership in the Customs Union stems from Armenia’s interests but did not bother to explain why,” writes “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun.” “It is now evident that in the economic sense joining the Customs Union will not give Armenia any benefits. On the contrary, it will hit the country hard.” The paper says Armenia will also not gain anything in the area of defense and security. It argues that Armenia is already a member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and that “in one way or another Russia has some obligations to Armenia on the issue of defense against foreign aggression.”
“168 Zham” says the last three months have demonstrated that Shant Harutiunian, a nationalist activist arrested after leading a violent anti-government protest in Yerevan in November, was right to warn of and protest against Russia’s “colonization” of Armenia. The paper says that Armenia’s mainstream opposition groups lack the courage to try to halt that process. It calls Harutiunian an Armenian equivalent of tens of thousands of Ukrainians demonstrating against their pro-Russian government. “By and large, the people gathering in the Maidan [square in Kiev] are fighting for what Shant Harutiunian is fighting for: the independence and freedom of their country,” it claims.
“Zhamanak” wonders why the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) of businessman Gagik Tsarukian still does not officially admit being in opposition to President Serzh Sarkisian despite vocal criticism of the government voiced by its senior members. “Everything is very clear,” the paper writes in an editorial. “The BHK is clearly playing a cat-and-mouse game with the society. Both the BHK and [ruling] HHK are happy with the existing situation. That explains why whenever BHK and HHK members fight against each Tsarukian does not come up with appropriate political statements.”