“Aravot” laments a lack of reaction from Armenian parties to possible negative consequences for Armenia of new U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia. “The Russians will not leave us alone and that is clear,” writes the paper. “They will greatly step up pressure within their country and seek to reinforce what they consider a buffer zone which they have built around Russia under [President Vladimir] Putin and which comprises Armenia. One should not exclude that Moscow will demand that Yerevan rein in the [pro-Western] media and civil society and escalate the situation long the [Karabakh] line of contact or activate pseudo-radical groups in Armenia.”
“These tensions in U.S.-Russian relations have caused serious concern in Armenia as well,” writes “Zhoghovurd.” “It is evident that this could have a direct negative impact on our country and its economy in particular. After all, Armenia and Russia are in the same economic area and the Armenian economy is deeply connected with the Russian economy.” The paper claims that the Armenian government has done little to ease this economic dependence and diversify Armenia’s commercial partners. “On the contrary, Armenia’s economy has grown more dependent on Russia during Serzh Sarkisian’s tenure,” it says.
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” Gagik Makarian, the chairman of an Armenian business association, dismisses some opposition leaders’ calls for Armenia’s exit from the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Makarian says that Armenia has benefited to a certain extent from its membership in the trade bloc. “There are goods that are now imported [from Russia] without customs duties and cumbersome procedures and at low prices,” he says. “But we are not quite affected by EEU regulations and mostly feel the impact of Russian laws. Russia tells us directly or indirectly that its national laws take precedence over EEU ones and thus creates artificial obstacles. We don’t operate on an equal footing. We seem to be looked down on.”