“Zhoghovurd” quotes Russia’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Georgi Kalamanov as saying that it is still not known whether Armenia will have to set up a customs checkpoint on its border with Karabakh after becoming a member of the Russian-led customs union. “It means that there is no agreement yet on the most important issue for Armenia,” comments the paper. It says the Karabakh authorities should be concerned about this fact despite receiving implicit assurances that Russia will not force Armenia to tax goods coming from Karabakh. Moscow never honors gentleman’s agreements, it says.
Interviewed by “Aravot,” Gaidz Minasian, a French-Armenian political analyst, notes that former President Robert Kocharian and Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian have still not publicly reacted to Yerevan’s decision to join the customs union. Minasian suggests that Russian President Vladimir Putin might be trying to weaken President Serzh Sarkisian even after securing the membership pledge. In that regard, he does not rule out the possibility of Kocharian’s appointment as Armenian prime minister.
“Hayots Ashkhar” claims that “Europe understands our choice” in favor of the Russian-led bloc. The paper says Sarkisian made clear in his address to the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) that Armenia remains interested in deepening relations with the European Union. It says the Armenian government is now keen to sign some agreement with the EU that would allow it to “combine the interests” of Russia and the EU. “The onus is now on our partners to enable Armenia to remain a sincere friend of Europe,” adds the pro-Sarkisian daily.
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” describes as “sensational” Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s statement that Russia’s Gazprom monopoly and Armenia’s Gazprom-controlled gas distribution network have still not formalized a recent surge in the Russian gas price in the form of a new tariff agreement. The paper also criticizes the Russians for not rescheduling a $500 million debt owed by Armenia in view of its decision to join the customs union.