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Press Review


“Zhamanak” writes that Armenia’s former president, Levon Ter-Petrossian, has an “historic opportunity” to see his famous 1997 article on “war or peace” become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The issue is regaining urgency lately. It is again “time for painstaking calculations” in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, the paper concludes without elaborating.

“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that the authorities have offered the radical opposition a “moratorium” on political activity and mutual attacks. They have done so not because they feel that power is slipping from their hands but rather to ward off fresh security threats facing Armenia and Karabakh. Those threats are serious enough and stem from the recent geopolitical changes in the world, according to the paper. National Democratic Union leader Vazgen Manukian agrees that political tensions “won’t benefit our country regardless of any military hostilities or their likelihood.”

Meanwhile, “Haykakan Zhamanak” claims long-running speculation that Artashes Geghamian is just a Trojan horse who will ruin the opposition seems to be proving truthful. It quotes Geghamian as saying that he will no longer participate in opposition rallies. He says National Unity and its allies, the HZhK and Hanrapetutyun, should “abandon that form of struggle.” “The energy demonstrated by the people must now be used for creative purposes and not for organizing new rallies,” Geghamian explains. “Today large rallies play into Kocharian’s hands because any provocation [by the regime] is possible there.” The paper is convinced that the authorities have made him an offer he could not rejected, possibly the post of prime minister.

“Yerkir” criticizes Andranik Markarian’s government continuing to rely on external borrowing for filling budget gaps. The government should crack down on the huge shadow economy instead of seeking more loans from the World Bank and other donors. The government has failed to make good on its repeated promises to fight widespread tax evasion.

“Aravot” casts doubt on the credibility of official economic statistics, notably the 10 percent economic growth in the first nine months of the year announced by the government. The paper argues that robust growth is normally accompanied by a corresponding rise in tax revenues. But what happened in Armenia was just the opposite. “Either the ten percent is a hoax, which is bad, or the informal sector of the economy is getting bigger, which is too bad.” The pro-opposition daily also claims that Robert Kocharian may well inflate employment figures this year to show that the promised 40,000 new jobs have been created this year.

(Vache Sarkisian)
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