(Saturday, February 8)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” carriers a commentary on the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in the Russian city of Sochi. “Watching that ceremony alone makes you believe that Russia is great with its history, culture, arts, and that is what could help it occupy a unique and influential place in the world,” writes the paper. “Unfortunately, Russia is now trying to do that with its tanks, rockets, KGB and gas prices. A Russia of Pushkin, Tchaikovsky, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy is much more powerful and attractive than a Russia of Lenin, Brezhnev and Putin.”
“Zhamanak” discusses the European Union’s new package of proposals for ex-Soviet republics, including Armenia. “The need for that package arose after only Georgia and Moldova initialed Association Agreements at the [EU’s] Vilnius summit held in December,” says the paper. “Details of the EU’s new package are not yet known but it is obvious that this document will be part of a second attempt, so to speak. “There are a number of questions asnwers to which are important for the success of the [EU] attempt. First of all, what do the EU heavyweights agree on? One of the apparent reasons for the failure of the association process is that the leading EU countries … looked at Russia’s actions also through the prism of their individual interests.” That is why, the paper says, agreement among them is so vital.
“Zhamanak” also wonders if the EU will now differentiate between Georgia and Moldova and other ex-Soviet states. “Logic suggests that this should be the case,” it says. “After all, Moldova and Georgia are now in one regime while Armenia in a different one. This question is very important for Armenia, and not only in terms of what new things the EU will offer Armenia. Broadly speaking, it is hard to think of what could be offered to a country which is now busy with a roadmap to surrendering its sovereignty.”
Artashes Geghamian, a pro-government deputy, assures “Hayots Ashkhar” that Armenia continues to “cooperate” with the EU despite its impending accession to the Russian-led Customs Union. “We are saying that even today we stand ready to sign the Association Agreement [with the EU,] without provisions on a deep and comprehensive free trade area,” claims Geghamian. “I think we can become a link between Europe and Russia.”