“Hayots Ashkhar” sees certain changes in Armenian foreign policy in the light of Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s recent visit to the United States. On the one hand, the paper says, Armenia is willing to hand some of its key industries over to Russia. On the other, “Armenia is, in essence, for the first time trying to complement the ongoing successful Russian-Armenian partnership in the defense sphere with Armenian-American cooperation.” The paper says Yerevan is keen to modernize military capabilities that “feel the need for U.S. assistance,” adding that this will not put its military ties with Moscow at risk.
A leader of the governing Republican Party (HHK), Tigran Torosian, comments on allegations that the HHK is forcibly recruiting civil servants to ensure a strong showing in next year’s elections. “In general, one should not rule out the existence of such cases,” he tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “But I consider that to be an absolutely unacceptable method.” Torosian puts the number of HHK members at “seven to eleven thousand.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says some leaders of the opposition People’s Party (HZhK) claim that the authorities are striving to make many HZhK members defect to another opposition party, National Unity. “Those attempts were doomed from the outset,” says one of them, Aramayis Barseghian. He claims that National Unity leader Artashes Geghamian is “carrying out Robert Kocharian’s and Serzh Sarkisian’s orders.” Geghamian is a Trojan horse installed in the opposition camp by the ruling regime, according to Barseghian.
“Azg” accuses managers of Armenian joint-stock companies of duping their minority shareholders. The latter are regularly told that their companies operate at a loss. This is particularly true for employees of former state enterprises which had exchanged their privatization vouchers for company shares in the 1990s. Their current managers, who are usually big shareholders and used to run those enterprises before they were privatized, underreport their revenues to avoid paying corporate taxes and stock dividends. This is one of the main reasons for the existence of a huge shadow economy in Armenia, according to the paper.