“Zhamanak” attacks the Russian ambassador to Armenia, Ivan Volynkin, over his calls for a government crackdown on Western-backed NGOs active in the country. The paper claims that those calls herald the start of a Russian “campaign” against the Armenian civil society. It notes in this regard that an official from the Moscow secretariat of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) declared in Yerevan earlier this week that the Russian-led defense pact will fight against social media in its member states.
“This is a very serious challenge to the Armenian society indeed … If there is anything that poses a danger to Russian-Armenian friendship it’s the kind of statements that are made by the Russian ambassador. No friendly country will meddle in the internal affairs of a friendly state and tell it to muzzle the civil society through such a breach of ethical norms.”
“168 Zham” claims that the Armenian authorities have minimized Armenia’s sovereignty ever since President Serzh Sarkisian announced last September his decision to join the Russian-led Customs Union. The paper says this policy has reflected negatively on prospects for a pro-Armenian solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It says the Karabakh Armenian leadership has not only failed to challenge this course but has wholeheartedly supported it. The authorities in Yerevan and Stepanakert are thus “depreciating” the Armenian military victories in Karabakh, according to the paper.
Davit Babayan, the chief spokesman for the Karabakh leadership, is quoted by “Hayots Ashkhar” as welcoming U.S. mediator James Warlick’s Wednesday remark that the Karabakh Armenians must again be directly involved in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks. “Little by little we can see steps aimed at restoring the format [of negotiations] that existed until 1998,” Babayan says.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” reports that Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian told on Wednesday a senior executive from one of the two private pension funds set up in Armenia that his government is committed to completing a controversial reform of the national pension system. The paper says Abrahamian had made diametrically opposite statements in his meetings with opposition leaders strongly objecting to the reform.