“Zhamanak” rebukes Armenia’s four main opposition parties for jointly seeking only the government’s resignation and not fighting against membership of the Russian-led Customs Union. The paper argues that with Russia’s presence in and influence on Armenia growing rapidly, it does not really matter who will be in power in Yerevan. “In these circumstances, even if the government is changed, resulting policy changes can only be cosmetic,” it says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” lists basic goods that are expected to become more expensive after Armenia joins the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The pro-opposition paper says the only plausible reason why President Serzh Sarkisian opted for membership of the union is that his “chances of staying in power have increased a little.” Armenia, it claims, will be a Customs Union “hostage,” rather than a member. “This means that we will be subconsciously looking for the right moment to break free from that captivity,” it says. “This should worry Russia in the first instance because Armenia is becoming another time bomb placed under Russia.”
“Hraparak” labels the Customs Union as a “bad variant of the Soviet Union” and contends that “nothing good awaits” Armenia in the Russian-led bloc. The paper says not only will the Armenian economy not draw any tangible benefits but it will actually suffer from that membership. “The looming price hikes will kill our shaky economy,” it claims. “But our biggest losses will be in the area of human rights and freedoms. The terrifying and worrisome examples of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are before our eyes.”
Vahram Baghdasarian, a parliament deputy from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), defends the government’s controversial pension reform in an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar.” “It’s a good [pension] system,” he says. “I have spoken with many people abroad. They are very happy with this system. We must also not forget that this system works best in those countries where there is dynamic economic development and faith in the future. That is something which we lack.”
“Aravot” criticizes the last-minute cancellation of the Yerevan premiere of Danish director Lars Von Trier’s controversial film, “Nymphomaniac.” “Why should some people, whether clerics or seculars, decide in my place which films adults like me can watch?” writes the paper’s editor, Aram Abrahamian. He believes that the Cinema Star movie theater should have only banned persons under the age of 18 from its screenings. Abrahamian says the cancellation will only encourage minors to search for the film on the Internet.