“Zhamanak” wonders if French President Francois Hollande’s statements made in Yerevan mean that the European Union is reconsidering its refusal to sign a watered-down version of the planned Association Agreement with Armenia. Hollande voiced support for such a deal favored by the Armenian government and said he has no problem with Armenia’s forthcoming membership in the Russian-led Eurasian Union. The paper claims this amounts of France’s recognition of a “total and strict” Russian control over Armenia’s relationship with the EU.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” accuses the Armenian government of misleading the opposition and the broader public with a bill on its controversial pension reform that was approved by the National Assembly on Tuesday. On paper, the reform will now be optional for hundreds of thousands of young workers. But in reality, the pro-opposition daily says, many employers will force their workers not apply for their exemption from the reform. “In Armenia, employees, especially well-paid ones, are quite dependent on their employers and will simply not dare to renounce the new pension system and risk losing their jobs,” it says.
“Hayots Ashkhar” quotes Armen Rustamian, a leader of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), as criticizing the latest statement issued by the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. Rustamian says that the statement made only a “declarative” reference to the Karabakh Armenians’ right to self-determination and cited no mechanisms for its realization. He complains that the mediators put a much greater emphasis on the return of the Armenian-controlled territories around Karabakh to Azerbaijan. Rustamian says the mediators should also rule out a return to the situation that existed before the outbreak of the Karabakh conflict in 1988.
“Hraparak” reports that a senior Russian lawmaker has written to leaders of the Armenian community in Russia, asking them to urge Ukraine’s ethnic Armenian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov to halt ongoing military operations against Moscow-backed armed separatists in eastern Ukraine. The paper calls the letter “foolish,” saying that the Kremlin should heed instead Avakov’s appeals and stop financing “pro-Russian mercenaries and criminals attacking government buildings and facilities in Ukraine.”