(Saturday, May 14)
“Hayots Ashkhar” quotes pollster Aharon Adibekian as saying that only up to 15 percent of Armenians support “radical changes” in their country. “And that is not a large number for staging a coup,” he says. “A country which gets $1-1.5 billion in [cash] transfers every year, the majority of whose population is able to meet its minimal socioeconomic demands is not a very convenient target of a velvet revolution.”
“Golos Armenii,” meanwhile, accuses the Armenian authorities of “trying to disguise the real picture of poverty in Armenia.” “And it is this approach that shows our government’s attitude to the struggle against poverty,” writes the paper.
“Azg” reports that Yerevan’s busiest currency exchange offices were refusing to sell U.S. dollars on Thursday, lending further credence to the theory that the Armenian dram’s substantial appreciation over the past year was artificial. The paper says the authorities are telling the people not to panic and assuring them things will stabilize soon. But the situation on the ground is totally different, it says.
“Aravot” notes that senior government officials are still rarely prosecuted in Armenia on corruption charges. “A mid-ranking customs official is much better off than a university professors despite earning the same salary, but he never gets caught,” says the paper. “Why aren’t judges, police officers, ministers or community prefects arrested in our country on corruption charges?” The reason for that is obvious to the paper: “As a rule, they cooperate with the highest echelons [of power] in a close and mutually beneficial way. Nobody will therefore try to expose their illegalities. Therefore, it’s better to talk about university corruption. That’s safer.”
“Aravot” also reports on renewed friction among the nine parties making up the opposition Artarutyun (Justice) alliance. The biggest of them, the HZhK, feels that its alliance allies no longer recognize the supremacy of its leader Stepan Demirchian. But a senior member of another Artarutyun party, Hanrapetutyun, tells the paper that its leader Aram Sarkisian is more able to “consolidate the society and make a bid to form a qualitatively new government by means of a democratic revolution.” “The process related to the previous elections is over and we have now entered a new phase,” says Suren Sureniants.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian “refuses to meet” his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov because Baku insists that a return of occupied Azerbaijani territories must be a starting point of any Karabakh settlement. The paper says the issue will top the agenda of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents’ weekend meeting in Warsaw.