“Aravot” addresses the mysterious rise in food prices ahead of the New Year and Armenian Christmas. The Armenian government, the paper says, will attribute it to the market laws of supply and demand and will deny any responsibility for the extra expenditures that the population is making for the holidays. Yet in virtually any other part of the world the same market mechanisms push the prices down at this time of the year. “Therefore, suspicions that someone is fixing price in a monopolist fashion are not unfounded,” the paper says.
The negative impact of business monopolies on the Armenian economy is also deplored by former Prime Minister Armen Darpinian. In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” Darpinian states bluntly that only those entrepreneurs that enjoy “state sponsorship” can occupy dominant positions in the Armenian market. “Unfortunately, the state does not have sufficient power to seriously impact the existing situation,” he says. “There are monopolies in our market, which is absolutely ruinous for the economy.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” comments that the three parties making up Armenia’s governing coalition are reluctant to formulate any joint policies, concentrating instead on the division of lucrative government jobs. The paper believes that this political posture renders their presence in government meaningless as the coalition increasingly resembles a consultative body advising the executive. “This situation puts the necessity of the coalition government’s existence in doubt. The people do not see the political coalition’s face, goals, sequence of steps and results obtained from them. And as in the past, everything is being attributed and addressed to one person: the incumbent president.”
“I hope that our people will not stay dormant,” opposition leader Vazgen Manukian tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “We are always against upheavals and expect peaceful developments. But this standstill does not promise us a good future.”
The director of the closed A1+ television station, Mesrop Movsesian, tells “Aravot” that he has no hopes of winning a fresh tender for a broadcasting frequency to be held next week. Movsesian says A1+ will be kept off the air as long as Robert Kocharian remains in power. “But all presidents are temporary, and I am not in a hurry,” he says.