“Zhamanak” is bewildered by Azerbaijan’s calls for the replacement of James Warlick, the U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group. The paper points out that in recent weeks Warlick has gone out of his way to stress the need to maintain peace in the Karabakh conflict zone after the outbreak of the crisis in Ukraine. “All this testifies to a change of mood in Baku,” it says. “This is certainly not a cause for panic or alarm. But these changes must be meticulously analyzed by the Armenian side, in terms of the behavior of not only Baku but also the mediators.” The paper says Yerevan should defend Warlick against the Azerbaijani attacks.
“Aravot” reports on calls for Armenia’s quick entry into the Russian-led Customs Union that were voiced during a May Day rally held by the Armenian Communist Party (HKK) in Yerevan. The paper quotes Davit Shahnazarian, a pro-Western politician and pundit, as alleging that the real organizers of the rally were Russian security services. Shahnazarian says that the event was directed against “Armenian statehood,” drawing parallels with ongoing pro-Russian protests in eastern Ukraine. “In both Ukraine and Armenia, these actions are coordinated from the same center in Moscow,” he claims.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that Hovik Abrahamian’s appointment as prime minister and the makeup of his cabinet bode ill for badly needed economic reforms in Armenia. The pro-opposition paper labels Abrahamian as a “feudal” chieftain and condemns his decision to merge the Finance Ministry with the State Revenue Committee. It says that the new Finance Minister Gagik Khachatrian is also a “typical oligarch.” “These facts are enough to guess what the economic situation in our country will be like as a result of the more active work of these two individuals,” it says.
Khosrov Harutiunian, a pro-government parliament deputy, tells “Hayots Ashkhar,” however, that Abrahamian’s appointment does not mean a victory of “oligarchs” over “reformers.” “I don’t take such comments seriously,” he says. “Especially given the fact that such views are expressed by people who had made similar evaluations of Tigran Sarkisian’s government, linking it with the financial-banking oligarchy.”