“Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes a senior Russian official, Sergey Shukhno, as saying that Western economic sanctions imposed on Russia because of the crisis in Ukraine will not affect the ongoing formation of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). “The Western sanctions apply only to Russia, rather than the process of the creation of the EEU,” says the official working at the EEU’s executive body, the Eurasian Economic Commission. “[Other] Eurasian Union member states have nothing to do with them. So I suppose that the sanctions will not affect the EEU in any way.” Shukhno insists that their anticipated damage to the Russian economy will also have no negative implications for the new ex-Soviet bloc.
“Even if very strong damage is caused to Russia’s economy, will the sanctions really serve their purpose?” “Aravot” asks in an editorial. “Why would a deterioration of the economic situation force [Vladimir] Putin to stop arming rebels waging a war in eastern Ukraine and sending Russian military instructors there? The authors of the economic sanctions must realize that their task is hopeless. Throughout its history Russia harbored imperial illusions even when it was in a more miserable condition, and it will not give up them now.” The sanctions could work only in the medium or long term, the paper says.
“It is thus becoming evident that Russia is headed to international isolation,” writes “Zhoghovurd.” “This will have extremely negative consequences for Armenia, a large part of whose economy is under Russian control. The sanctions imposed on Russia will seriously affect the Armenian economy in several directions.” In particular, the paper predicts a serious drop in remittance inflows from Armenian migrant workers in Russia. Many of those workers could also lose their jobs and return to their homeland. “These are extremely serious economic challenges. The Armenian authorities’ have no resources to cope with them,” concludes the paper.
“Zhamanak” claims that the economic situation in Armenia will hardly improve quickly even if the authorities put in place equal conditions for all businesses. “Nobody can successfully compete with extremely rich oligarchs even if the latter are banned from having monopolies,” says the paper. “Therefore, some solution must be found to the problem of extreme centralization of capital in Armenia if we want to have a truly competitive environment in the country and free the economy from the grip of a few people.”