“Zhoghovurd” says many in Armenia hope that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s upcoming talks with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts will at least defuse tensions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. “Expert circles worry that that could be the result of Putin forcing the deployment of Russian peacekeepers along the Line of Contact,” writes the paper. It says Putin will exploit the talks in Sochi to show the world that Russia not only invades its neighbors but also helps them make peace. The paper notes that French President Francois Hollande failed to get Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sarkisian to meet in Paris earlier this summer. Russia is thus “putting on display the extent of its influence in the South Caucasus.”
“Hraparak” says the latest armed incidents suggest that “Aliyev’s regime decided to check Armenia’s defense capability and the Armenian people’s and authorities’ ability to respond.” “It is also possible, on the other hand, the Armenian side too is testing the waters,” speculates the paper. “One should also not rule out an additional, [internal] political objective set by the Armenian authorities,” it says, adding that they may be trying to boost their approval ratings and neutralize the opposition.
“Aravot” comments on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest gaffe that has widely been construed as an insult to Armenians. The paper says Armenian reaction to Erdogan’s comments has been angry, with many in the country branding Turkey’s next president as a xenophobe and racist. “It is certainly unfortunate that a head of state not only has such views but does not make secret of them,” it says in an editorial. “We have seen on many occasions that the Turkish prime minister has an emotional and spontaneous character. Most of his fellow citizens seem to like that. He gives the impression of a tough guy. But let us be frank and answer this question: is there a politician in Armenia who would not take offense in case of being called a Turk?”
Speaking to “Zhamanak,” Lilit Gevorgyan, a senior analyst with the London-based think-tank HIS Jane’s, dismisses suggestions that Russia was behind the latest upsurge in Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire violations. “It’s just that after recent arms deals with Azerbaijan Russia has demonstrated that it will continue to stick to its current position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, not siding with any party and, what is more, not giving preference to the principle of peoples’ self-determination,” she says. “Apart from that, Russia is closely watching Western mediators’ steps and initiatives, knowing well that nothing can be solved without its involvement.”