RIA Novosti, Russia
Oct 1 2005

The CIS and Baltic press on Russia

ARMENIA

If Yerevan wants to be independent of Russia, it should integrate
with Europe. This opinion was expressed by Armenian experts in the
local press. "We must develop bilateral relations with Russia with a
prospect of becoming a member of the united European family rather
than a Russia-Belarus-Armenia threesome." (Aravot, September 21)

Experts believe that blunders of Russian politicians in the South
Caucasus in the context of U.S. vigorous policy will soon oust Russia
from the region altogether. "If we compare the unprecedented increase
in the U.S. current spending with Russia's astronomical revenues from
skyrocketing oil prices, we will have to dismiss at once any talk
about Russia's inability to compete. Moreover, the South Caucasus is
directly adjacent to Russia, and it should invest there much more
than any other country, if it really wants to increase its role in
this region. In the meantime, all Russia is doing there is buying
energy installations in a bid for monopoly." (Hayots Ashkar,
September 23)

Another theme of discussion is the adverse aftermath for Armenia of
Russia's potential entry into the WTO. "After joining the WTO Russia
will have to respect the rules of that organization and pursue its
common price policy. As a result, the price of Russian commodities
will approach the price level of exports both in the CIS, and inside
Russia itself. The resulting spiral in prices on energy carriers in
Armenia will sharply increase the costs of all Armenian goods, making
them absolutely uncompetitive." (Aikanan Zhamanak, September 21)