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Press Review


“Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes a spokeswoman for the People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK) as denying a newspaper report that the HZhK and its two opposition allies, Hanrapetutyun and National Unity, had struck a deal on the distribution of top government posts in case they come to power. “Hayots Ashkhar” claimed on Friday that National Unity’s Artashes Geghamian was to become president while HZhK leader Stepan Demirchian would content himself with the post of the parliament speaker under the deal.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” also carries an interview with Arkady Vartanian, a Moscow-based businessman, who tried, unsuccessfully, to unseat Robert Kocharian last year. Vartanian, who spent several months in jail for allegedly calling for Kocharian’s “violent” overthrow, says “it makes no sense to fight against Armenia’s current authorities with classical political methods.”

“Yerkir” provides a detailed coverage of Friday’s ceremonies in various parts of Armenia marking “the day of Dashnaktsutyun.” Some 300 new members were admitted into the nationalist party as part of the event. One of its veteran figures, Eduard Hovannisian, said in a speech in the town of Vartenis: “Nationalism espoused by Dashnaktsutyun means that the nation is above everything.” Security of the entire Armenian nation must take precedence over that of the Armenian state, he added. Hovannisian also lamented “injustice” brought to Armenia by ”capitalism” and said his party must not put up with the resulting social polarization.

“Dashnaktsutyun is taking over the government step by step,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak,” commenting on Levon Mkrtchian’s appointment as minister of science and education. The paper believes that the second cabinet portfolio is too much for a party which controls less than seven percent of seats in the parliament and still refuses to share responsibility for government policies.

“Azg” looks at reasons why economic growth does not mean higher living standards in Armenia. The main explanation for this paradoxical phenomenon suggested by the paper is the continuing huge size of the shadow economy and the existence of mafia-type business “clans.” The government takes no major steps to scale back the informal sector of the economy because of “fierce resistance and lobbying” from those clans.

“Hayots Ashkhar” editorializes that Armenia’s foreign ministry has little to celebrate on the tenth anniversary of its establishment. “The foreign ministry does not find its place and role in the entire system of government.” It continues to “waste” scarce public funds without ensuring commensurate returns on the expenditures.

(Vache Sarkisian)
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