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“Zhamanak” reports that ethnic Armenian billionaires Samvel Karapetian and Danil Khachaturov are on a U.S. government list of Russian tycoons allegedly having close ties to the Kremlin. The paper says this raises questions about consequences for Armenia of a possible U.S. decision to impose sanctions on them. “These men, especially Samvel Karapetian, are large investors in Armenia,” it says, adding that U.S. sanctions would put Karapetian’s projects in Armenia at serious risk.

“At first glance, this has little to do with Armenia,” “Haykakan Zhamanak” writes on the same subject. It too cites Karapetian’s growing involvement in the Armenian economy and energy sector in particular. The paper also points out that Karapetian is planning to obtain multimillion-dollar loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank for modernizing Armenia’s power distribution network owned by him. It says U.S. sanctions could discourage both lenders from extending those loans.

“Aravot” questions the wisdom and fairness of the U.S. move, arguing that the warning list does not specify why exactly those wealthy businesspeople are “suspicious” for Washington. “Are these 220 individuals corrupt?” the paper asks. “They may well be. But that has to be proved. Do they violate human rights, cut illegal deals or abuse their position? We believe they do but we also want to know who did what. We do realize that this is a political move, a means of pressure. But can you really put [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s entourage under pressure with that?”

“Zhoghovurd” reports that President Serzh Sarkisian called for a revision of Armenia’s official national security strategy when he met with senior Foreign Ministry officials in Yerevan on Tuesday. He said that national security challenges facing the country are connected with “our external environment” in one way or another. “Sarkisian thus hinted at the need for making certain changes in the foreign policy course, regarding that as a security component,” comments the paper. “But it is not clear what concrete changes will be made. In any case, the Russian military base will remain deployed in Armenia and Russia and Armenia will still be considered strategic partners.”

(Tigran Avetisian)

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