(Saturday, August 21)
Commenting on the latest Russian-Armenian agreements, “Zhamanak” disagrees with those who think Moscow has launched a new drive to bolster its influence in the region. “Did Russia really have a problem of influence in Armenia?” argues the paper. “Hardly so. Armenia’s entire energy sector, a considerable part of its economy, markets and even jobs and labor migration are in Russia’s hands. Armenia’s security system is tied to Russia. Armenia’s political class, from the government to the opposition, accepts Russia’s patrolling of regional and even Armenia’s internal political developments. Any country would probably dream about having at least half of such leverage against another country.” Thus, concludes the paper, Russia is “simply taking what already belonged to it in the first place.”
“Aravot” believes that Armenian commentators making “extreme anti-Russian statements” in connection with President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Armenia focus on “secondary issues.” “And it is not clear what they want,” the paper says in an editorial. It notes that Medvedev faced no street protests in Yerevan from Armenians concerned about the nature of the Russian-Armenian relationship.
“Hayots Ashkhar” is angry with “those who tried to create an illusion of anti-Russian sentiment” ahead of Medvedev’s trip. The paper is worried that these efforts by opposition “radicals” could make Russia’s ruling elite “change or at least review its approaches and attitude towards Armenia.” “And that would be beneficial only for our enemies, whom our radicals have always been willing to help and support,” it says. “What is more, they have always acted in defense of Azerbaijani-Turkish interests. The anti-Russian hysteria was planned for that purpose.”
“Azg” wonders whether Russia will abide by its obligation to defend Armenia if that runs counter to its interests, which are also mentioned in the amended Russian-Armenian defense pact. “Even if the Russian Federation is to provide the Republic of Armenia with modern and compatible weaponry,” writes the paper. “In sum, the anticipated and landmark meeting [of the Russian and Armenian presidents] took place, the agreement was signed and questioned remained,” it says.
“Hraparak” complains that Medvedev’s visit and the ensuing summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) caused residents of central Yerevan a lot of inconvenience. The paper says that tight security measures taken by Armenian authorities were unnecessary.