“Aravot” says Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Armenia which begins on Thursday will be largely “declarative.” “These are absolutely legitimate presumptions which were reinforced during our meeting in the Kremlin with the Russian president’s foreign affairs adviser, Sergei Prikhodko,” writes a correspondent for the paper.
“When I wondered if he is worried that Moscow’s influence on Yerevan and will ease and Armenia will drift away from Russia in case of the reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border, Prikhodko spent about five minutes trying to clarify, with our help, where Armenia would go. We had to explain that in the geopolitical sense Armenia would remain in the same place but would move away from Russian influence.” Prikhodko replied in the end that every nation is free to decide its foreign policy priorities and that Russia has “excellent relationships” with NATO.
But as political analyst Aleksandr Iskandarian tells “Azg,” Russia is not interested in an open border between Armenia and Turkey. “The experience of the Iran-Russia pipeline shows that Russia is hampering, dragging out things and trying to make sure that the pipeline is also beneficial for itself,” Iskandarian says. He also believes that Moscow wants to keep the status quo in the Karabakh conflict. “While the West is trying to change the situation, Russia is trying to freeze it. The existing situation in the Karabakh conflict is good for Russia.”
“Azg” notes for its part that Russia’s relations with Azerbaijan have markedly improved under Putin. The paper also criticizes the Armenian government’s decision in 2002 to hand over five state-run enterprises to Russia in payment of its debt. It says Russia already has such enterprises on its territory and they are “crumbling.” “The rationale for that deal can only be political,” agrees Iskandarian.
The leader of the Liberal Progressive Party, a pro-Western opposition group, tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that regime change in Armenia’s can run parallel to the resolution of the Karabakh conflict. “Robert Kocharian is no longer to work on the Karabakh issue,” Hovannes Hovannisian claims. “These authorities came to power seven years ago with a pledge to resolve the Karabakh problem. If they can’t do that, then there is only one way out: they must go.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” defends Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian’s plans to organize a huge circle dance around Armenia’s Mount Aragats, calling them “not only a nice but also necessary initiative.” “It is really worth holding such a comprehensive action which … has a clear ideological emphasis. And if some people don’t like it, then let them stay plunged into their arm-chairs and stick to their thoughts and malice.”