“Hayots Ashkhar” shares the view that the unprecedented appreciation of the Armenian dram is “artificial.” “The artificial nature of the decline in the [U.S. dollar’s] exchange rate and its being a means for making huge profits become obvious even to non-specialists when even the euro depreciates against the dram in Armenia,” writes the paper. It goes on to attack the Armenian Central Bank’s stance, saying that for most Armenians currency stability is just as important as low inflation. “Significantly, the prices are raised anyway.”
“Azg” carries quotes from some economists to make the same point. The paper says the Central Bank is “simply not controlling the situation.”
“The reduction of the dollar’s value is affecting the population in the first instance,” agrees “168 Zham.” “No matter how much the Central Bank chairman insists that a large part of the population earns revenues in the national currency, the fact is that the revenues of another, equally large part of the population come in the form of dollars sent from abroad. The dollar’s daily depreciation benefits importers. And as is widely known, almost all big businessmen in Armenia, engage in imports.”
A senior member of Stepan Demirchian’s People’s Party (HZhK) tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that the HZhK has not been offered to join a new pro-Western opposition alliance which could be founded soon. “Stepan Demirchian is not aware of negotiations over the creation of some new alliance and is absolutely against the idea of dissolving the Artarutyun alliance and creating other formats [of opposition cooperation],” says Grigor Harutiunian.
But for “Hayots Ashkhar,” the split of pro-Western parties from Artarutyun is a forgone conclusion. The paper is confident that the new opposition bloc will fail to set off an anti-government revolt similar to the ones that toppled ruling regimes in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine.
“Rest assured that Kocharian will be ousted by the HHSh,” the chairman of the former ruling party, Ararat Zurabian, tells “168 Zham.” Zurabian also says no political party in Armenia has “the moral right to evaluate the HHSh.” He expects a “fertile ground” for his moribund party to step up its political activities in the near future.
“Aravot” agrees with those who say that Armenia should “stay away from Russia as much as possible” because of Moscow’s policy toward ex-Soviet republics is driven by an “imperial syndrome left over from the Soviet Union.” “With that mentality, Russia is prepared to doom the Abkhaz to hunger and cold, close the [Abkhaz-Russian] border on the grounds that they refused to accept the presidential candidate handpicked by the Kremlin. Russia is ready, without hesitation, to partition Ukraine by turning one part of the population against the other.” The paper adds that this is not to say that the West shows greater respect for the sovereignty of struggling nations. “It’s just that Russia loses while the West gains. And the more Russia loses, the worse is the plight of those countries that have not yet lost their loyalty to Russia.”