Armenian newspapers report and comment on Wednesday’s meeting in Moscow of the Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Serzh Sarkisian of Armenia.
“Putin mentioned the cash transfers sent to Armenia from Russia, saying that they total about $1 billion a year, which is equivalent to a considerable part of Armenia’s Gross Domestic Product,” says “Zhamanak.” “In essence, Russia is reminding Armenia of tens of thousands of [Armenian] migrants that have effectively become Russia’s hostages in relations with Armenia.” The paper sees a connection between that reminder and Russia’s perceived efforts to bring Armenia into the ex-Soviet Eurasian Union advanced by Putin. It claims that Putin thus warned that Armenians working in Russia could have “problems” if Yerevan refuses to join the union.
“Zhoghovurd” comments on Sarkisian’s remark that Russian companies “feel comfortable” in Armenia. “In fact, Russian capital in Armenia feels not comfortable but omnipotent,” says the paper. “It gets the green light everywhere in Armenia and the behavior of Russian companies, which is sometimes impudent, … is quietly encouraged by structures that operate at the expense of taxes paid by Armenia’s citizens and are supposed to protect the interests of those citizens.”
“Hraparak” also wonders what Putin meant to say with his remarks about the vital remittances from Russia to Armenia and his praise of the Armenian authorities for their assistance to Russian firms. The paper is also not clear about a “mutual understanding” on the new price of Russian gas that was announced by Sarkisian in the Kremlin. It further points that the Putin-Sarkisian meeting coincided with the fourth anniversary of the 2008 Russian-Georgian war.
Writing in “Aravot,” Anahit Bakhshian, a former opposition parliamentarian and school principal, says that public schools in Armenia are not prepared to accept Syrian Armenian students fleeing their country. Bakhshian points to fact that Armenians in Armenia and the Diaspora speak different dialects and have differing “educational environments.” “We cannot simply say, ‘This is what we have and you must adapt to it in any way you want,’” she writes. “This is another occasion to note just how non-inclusive our society is.”