“Zhoghovurd” reports that President Serzh Sarkisian urged French companies to invest in Armenia during an official visit to Paris on Wednesday. The paper is highly skeptical about his appeal, saying that a brief look at international reports on judicial independence and human rights in Armenia is enough to scare off French investors. It says they will also be mindful of the fact that the French telecom giant Orange sold off its Armenian subsidiary just a few years after launching the country’s third mobile phone network.
“Capital is guided not by the wishes of Serzh Sarkisian or any other head of state but concrete interests,” agrees “Zhamanak.” The pro-Western paper claims that Armenia is not attractive to French investors because it is “inhibited” by its membership in the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and “cannot have full-fledged relationships in other economic directions.” “Armenia is inhibited by its political or military-political dependence on Russia, and Russia is now practically an international pariah and threat,” it says. “In addition, the U.S. and European Union ambassadors in Armenia say that the Armenian authorities are not combating corruption in earnest.”
Denis Dvornikov, a Russian political analyst, tells “168 Zham” that Russia will go to great lengths to stop or prevent a possible resumption of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh. “Those who think that hostilities are good for Russia simply do not understand the situation Russia is in,” says Dvornikov. “Take [Ukraine’s] Donbass where the peace process is also in serious trouble; Syria where peace prospects are murky; an internal mobilization in the run-up to major elections; economic difficulties. A burning South Caucasus would be too much. It would pose a direct threat to [Russia’s] national security.”
Citing preliminary data released by the National Statistical Service (NSS), “Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian economy grew by only 0.2 percent last year. “Such a growth rate is not seen as real growth for developing countries,” comments the paper. “So by international standards, our economy did not grow at all in 2016.” It notes that Armenian government officials predicted late last year a growth rate of 0.5 percent. They expect the economy to expand by at least 3.2 percent in 2017.