(Saturday, June 11)
“168 Zham” says that the Russian Foreign Ministry made but, just few hours later, retracted on Friday an announcement that the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet in Saint Petersburg by the end of this month. A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, said separately that Moscow is now “working” on the organization of the Armenian-Azerbaijani summit. In the meantime, Azerbaijani officials publicly praised Baku’s relationship with Moscow and the Russian role in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. According to the paper, the fact that the Armenian government has not commented on the possibility of the upcoming summit yet suggests that Yerevan is “not interested” in its conduct.
“Zhamanak” wonders whether Putin is now intent on playing the kind of mediating role which his predecessor Dmitry Medvedev had in 2010-2011. “Does this mean that Russia is once again trying to execute its plan, the content of which Serzh Sarkisian presented in his April 23 interview with the Bloomberg news agency?” writes the paper. It claims that that plan is beneficial for Baku and that the latter may now be expecting Moscow to impose it on the Armenian side.
“Aravot” criticizes the Armenian government’s new draft Tax Code that would raise income tax rates for workers earning more than 200,000 drams ($420) per month. The paper claims that the measure would encourage tax evasion by those workers, many of them employees of Armenian information technology (IT) firms, and their employers.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that international prices of copper, Armenia’s main export item, are continuing to fall. “The copper price is approaching a 7-year low,” says the paper. “From the Armenian government’s perspective, a substantial improvement of our macroeconomic indicators depends on a rise in the copper prices and remittances from abroad. However, those hopes are not materializing. Copper keeps getting cheaper, while the remittances continue to decrease. Against such a background, the government has decided to prop up the economy by obtaining more loans. The government is so obsessed with that that our public debt is no longer manageable. Even official documents indicate that.”