(Saturday, December 20)
“Zhamanak” reacts to the ratification by Belarus’s and Kazakhstan’s parliaments of Armenia’s accession treaty with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) that was signed in October. The Russian parliament did the same earlier this month. “Thus Armenia is entering a new geopolitical period which can be described as contradictory,” writes the paper. “On the one hand, Armenia is finding itself in the Eurasian swamp, the whole glamour and misery of which periodically manifest itself in Moscow-Astana-Mink wrangling and the sorry state of Russia’s economy. On the other hand, Armenia’s status is becoming more certain in the sense that Armenia is not hanging in the air anymore. It has fallen to the ground.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” accuses Samvel Aleksanian and other government-linked tycoons of having earned millions of dollars in extra revenue as a result of recent days’ sharp fluctuations of the Armenian dram’s exchange rate. The paper says that Aleksanian laughed at people protesting against price rises as he came out of the government building in Yerevan on Friday. It believes that Armenians can respond to this “plunder” by boycotting Aleksanian’s supermarkets. “This panic has showed who and how has cheated consumers for many years,” it says. “And they all must be punished for that cheating with a loss of their market share.”
“168 Zham” says that currency speculators are now counting their substantial losses incurred as a result of the dram’s rally on Thursday and Friday. “The hard currency which they purchased at high rates is depreciating day by day,” explains the paper. “These people are now in the greatest state of panic. They do not know whether to turn their dollars into drams or keep them for the time being … There is one good thing about all this. Maybe some people will understand that by getting involved in [currency] speculations and tricks they risk losing a lot.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” does not expect the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Zharangutyun parties to take any “major steps” before the end of this year. The pro-government paper says that they have failed to draw political dividends even from the currency crisis, which seems to be coming to an end. This means, it concludes, that the 2014 political season in Armenia is over.