“Zhamanak” condemns the Armenian government’s unexpected decision to join the customs union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. “After all this, it is hard to imagine any international body taking Armenia seriously and viewing it as a partner in political or other processes,” comments the paper. “Only Serzh Sarkisian and Edward Nalbandian could seriously claim that Armenia has a serious reputation and standing in the world. So in this sense it is not quite right to speak of a loss of reputation and prestige.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” says the development will significantly weaken Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian and supposedly reform-minded and young members of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). “Serzh Sarkisian will again be relying only on the police and the criminal-oligarchic system,” claims the pro-opposition daily. “So the oligarchs’ positions will again drastically strengthen and the fight against civic movements will toughen further. Therefore, a heated autumn can be deemed to have started.”
Armen Martirosian, a leader of the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, tells “Aravot” that EU and other Western officials have for years ignored Armenian opposition warnings that Armenia’s democratization and European integration will be possible only under a democratically elected government. “Even their turning a blind eye to many things hasn’t given them much,” he says. “The Europeans themselves should now draw conclusions.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” disagrees with emotional and negative reactions to Sarkisian’s announcement. The pro-Sarkisian daily believes that the Association Agreement with the European Union would not necessarily earn Armenia more economic benefits than membership in the Russian-led customs union.
“Did Serzh Sarkisian check with Europe regarding this step when he went to Croatia on a private visit last week?” asks “Zhoghovurd.” “Was this a surprise for the EU?” The paper says that Sarkisian has purportedly sought European integration until now with the sole aim of holding on to power with EU support. “He is now doing the same in the game with Russia,” it says.
“This statement by Serzh Sarkisian will definitely create problems in the European direction,” writes “Azg.” “And quite serious ones.” The paper believes that the EU will not forgive Sarkisian’s U-turn.