(Saturday, May 2)
“Kapital” says that Russia is delaying the provision of a $500 million loan promised to Armenia, leaving Armenian officials to wonder whether it will be disbursed at all. The business daily notes that unlike Kyrgyzstan, which will get $2 billion from Russia after closing a U.S. military base on its soil, the Armenian government is not ready to make political concessions to Moscow.
“168 Zham” carries an article by former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian about the latest developments in Turkish-Armenian relations. Oskanian criticizes the April 22 “roadmap” agreement announced by Ankara and Yerevan and reiterates his calls for the Armenian side to set a deadline for the lifting of the Turkish blockade. Oskanian believes that Yerevan should also make clear that it will not necessarily open the Turkish-Armenian border if Ankara lifts the blockade. He also demands that the government fully publicize the “roadmap” as soon as possible.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that President Serzh Sarkisian’s foreign policy is facing widespread criticism at home. The opposition paper notes that even his predecessor Robert Kocharian “never found himself in such a situation” throughout his ten-year rule. “Why? Because Robert Kocharian’s predecessor was Levon Ter-Petrosian. Kocharian seized power in a situation where Armenia had not only won a war but had the most dynamic economy and most combat-ready army. Serzh Sarkisian, on the other hand, has nothing to boast. His predecessor was Robert Kocharian.”
Lragir.am hopes that campaigning for the May 31 mayoral elections in Yerevan will end what it calls an “utter stagnation” in the Armenian political arena. “The authorities will undoubtedly conduct their campaign the way they always do,” says the online journal. “[That will include] petty abuses directed against the opposition that will intensify parallel to a rise in the regime’s concerns; use of administrative resources; vote bribes; and bullying on election day. It is probably difficult to predict what kind of a campaign the Armenian National Congress will conduct.”
“Zhamanak” wonders if the authorities will eventually loosen their grip on political activities in the country. “If the authorities do not genuinely want that, if their talk of change is only aimed at placating the international community, then it is crystal clear that one can not talk about a significant change in the situation in the country,” says the paper.