“Haykakan Zhamanak” looks at obstacles to Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), saying that they are apparently connected with Azerbaijan. “Russia is trying to draw that country into the EEU, and Azerbaijan clearly says it will be interested in that only in one case: if Russia solves the Karabakh problem in its favor or at least ensures that the liberated territories [around Karabakh] are given back to Azerbaijan,” writes the paper. “Serzh Sarkisian took this fact into consideration when he sought to become a founding member of the EEU or join that structure ahead of Azerbaijan. This would have allowed Armenia to veto Azerbaijan’s possible membership if it was linked to the Karabakh issue. It is because of this fact that Russia is dragging out Armenia’s membership in the EEU.” In the meantime, adds the paper, there is growing suspicion in Armenia that “Russia is using Karabakh to haggle with Azerbaijan.”
“168 Zham” expresses similar concerns. The paper fears a “dangerous and dirty scenario that will be imposed on the Armenian society at one point: accession to the EEU at the behest of Russia and with a practically unconditional readiness to satisfy Azerbaijan’s conditions, and the possibility of withdrawal from the liberated territories as a [Russian] advance payment for Azerbaijani membership in the EEU.” It links these developments to the latest upsurge in ceasefire violations around Karabakh and on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
“Zhamanak” comments on Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov’s announcement that Armenia’s accession treaty with the EEU is likely to be signed in October. “Until October Russian-Azerbaijani games will continue,” speculates the paper. “Kazakhstan will try to play its own game. Armenia has been given until October to not hamper these games.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” dismisses the government’s plans to compensate some 105,000 impoverished Armenian families for the increased price of electricity. “It is certainly good that these socially vulnerable families will get some compensation,” comments the paper. “But that compensation will go from the Armenian state budget straight into the pockets of the Russian company [that owns the national power utility.]” The paper also argues that the number of poor people in the country is larger.