(Saturday, March 18)
Andrey Areshev, a Russian political analyst, tells “168 Zham” that Russia’s and Armenia’s top leaders have reached “a high degree of mutual understanding.” He notes President Serzh Sarkisian’s, Prime Minister Karen Karapetian’s and Defense Minister Vigen Sargsian’s recent trips to Moscow. “As you know, these persons have a very serious role in the ruling Republican Party [of Armenia,]” says Areshev. “We also know that Serzh Sarkisian has made a statement to the effect that if the Republicans win the upcoming elections, then Karen Karapetian will continue to head the government. There are also other major players, notably Gagik Tsarukian, who has serious business ties to Russia. But as you know, a number of Armenian businessmen living in Russia issued a statement in January saying that they support the Armenian president’s and government’s reforms.”
“So I think that the Armenian authorities’ activities are on a positive track,” Areshev goes on. He says that this fact is appreciated in Moscow, including in the context of the upcoming parliamentary elections in Armenia.
“Serzh Sarkisian was received well in Russia,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “Very well, actually. That manifested itself through all protocol nuances of an official visit, from [Sarkisian’s] motorcade to [his reception] in the Kremlin’s gilded halls and the [Russian] gesture of the return of a painting stolen from Armenia 25 years ago.” The paper notes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remark that Russia is “sincerely interested in a stable, independent and dynamically developing Armenia.”
Putin also wished Sarkisian’s “successes” in the conduct of the upcoming Armenian elections and Armenia’s transition to a parliamentary system of government. “This statement was construed in Armenia as an expression of support for Serzh Sarkisian in the upcoming elections in line with a stereotypical belief that ahead of every election Armenia’s government -- and sometimes opposition as well -- goes to Moscow in order to be crowned there,” says “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “This is an outdated interpretation, however. Russian analysts’ recent suggestions that Russia will not interfere in Armenia’s upcoming elections are closer to reality.”
“Zhoghovurd” reacts to Prime Minister Karen Karapetian’s claims that Armenian tanks and armored vehicles malfunctioned during the April 2016 war in Nagorno-Karabakh because of the poor quality of diesel fuel supplied to them. The paper says Karapetian has found himself in an “awkward situation” because both the Armenian Defense Ministry and the Office of the Prosecutor-General have denied his claims. “It’s hard to say for certain who is right,” it says. “It’s also hard to say for certain that the prime minister is making such statements for publicity purposes or that law-enforcement bodies are covering up things.”