“Hraparak” says that President Serzh Sarkisian’s strong criticism of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) voiced at a summit of the Russian-led bloc in Moscow was also addressed to Russia. Sarkisian, the paper speculates, emphasized in his speech at the summit the contrast between Russia’s “wretched isolation” and unity shown by NATO member states.
“Zhoghovurd” says that Sarkisian has never criticized Armenia’s CSTO allies so harshly before, linking that with Saturday’s Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in Bern, Switzerland. The Russian, French and American diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group also took part in the summit.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” believes that the collapse of oil prices and the resulting economic problems in Azerbaijan may be increasing the likelihood of a renewed full-scale war in Nagorno-Karabakh. “Strangely enough, the Armenian authorities also seem to understand this,” writes the paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that the economic situation in Armenia is not encouraging either. Citing government data, the paper says that retail trade in the country in November was down by 14 percent year on year. “This shows that the purchasing power of the population keeps falling every month,” it claims. This despite government assurances last year that the Armenian economy will greatly benefit from Armenia’s membership in the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Armenian exports to Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have actually fallen sharply this year mainly due to significant depreciations of their national currencies.
“The parliamentary elections of 2017 will be much more bitterly contested than all other elections held in Armenia until now,” Aram Sarkisian, the leader of the opposition Hanrapetutyun (Republic) party, tells “Irates de facto.” “Creating such polarization of the society, organizing blatant irregularities in the [constitutional] referendum … instead of forming national unity in this geopolitical situation is a serious blunder,” he says, referring to the Armenian authorities. Sarkisian also says that his party will participate in the 2017 elections “maybe on its own and maybe in an alliance” of like-minded political groups.