“Hraparak” reports on controversy sparked by Russian State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin’s calls for Armenia’s to give Russian the status of a second official language in return for Moscow continuing to recognize Armenian driver licenses. The paper quotes Viktor Katvalian, director of the Language Institute of Armenian National Academy of Sciences, as criticizing the suggestion. He says that an ethnically homogenous country like Armenia does not need a second official language. It is enough to continue teaching the Russian language in Armenian schools, says Katvalian. He goes on to denounce Volodin’s proposal as an “inroad on our sovereignty, our language and our statehood.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports, meanwhile, that the executive body of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), has told Moscow to amend the new Russian law stipulating that driver licenses issued by EEU member states where Russian is not an official language are no longer valid in Russia. Kyrgyzstan’s Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Pankratov, who also holds a senior position in the Eurasian Economic Commission, reportedly said that the law runs counter to the EEU’s labor regulations mandatory for Russia and other member states.
According to Lragir.am, Vazgen Manukian, chairman of Armenia’s presidential Public Council, has added his voice to the criticism of Volodin’s statement. “English has spread and become an international language,” Manukian is quoted as saying. “In India, for example, it’s a second official language. But nobody has imposed that. Life has led to that. It is very ridiculous when one country tries to impose its language on another with artificial methods, using driver licenses as an excuse. But although that [statement] was made by a high-ranking official, it’s hard to consider it Russia’s official view.”
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” Vazgen Safarian of Armenia’s Union of Domestic Manufacturers, comments on a sharp rise Armenia’s imports from Turkey recorded by the National Statistical Service in the first five months of this year. “Officially, we have no trade with Turkey but imports from Turkey are quite large: more than $200 million,” says Safarian. “Why? Because Turkish goods, especially agricultural products, are cheap.” He calls on the Armenian government to impose additional customs duties on “those imported goods that are also manufactured in Armenia.”