“168 Zham” says ruling regimes in several ex-Soviet states that are not considered democratic have embarked on “anti-revolution propaganda” to ward off possible challenges from their political opponents buoyed by the revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. The paper sees important similarities between Armenia’s and Russia’s “authoritarian regimes with dubious legitimacy.” In both countries, it says, the authorities have created pro-government youth organizations resembling the Soviet-era Komsomol. “They have the same mission: to spoil the youth and … keep them away from revolution and politics.”
“The picture is the same in the propaganda field also,” continues “168 Zham.” “The closure of A1+ left only ‘free and responsible’ media in Armenia that are only free to discredit the opposition and are accountable not to TV viewers but a very certain official from the presidential administration. The situation is the same in Russia. Almost all electronic media are controlled by [President] Putin’s staff or the ruling oligarchs.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” welcomes what it sees as a renewed consolidation of Armenia’s leading opposition forces, hoping that they will finally succeed in toppling the current regime. The paper editorializes that in order to achieve that, the opposition leaders should put an end to their bickering and personal rivalries. “If the opposition renounces the status of an appendage to Russian special services, it will probably get another chance of carrying out regime change,” it says. “It must be admitted, though, that opposition activities in the last two or three years have increased the number of pessimists. And the pessimists are de facto supporters of the current leadership of Armenia.”
“Aravot” claims in an editorial that police, prosecutors and other law-enforcement officials are already “actively participating” in Armenia’s unfolding local election campaign. “In one case, they set free a criminal so that he brings votes to a pro-government candidate. In another, they are threatening a businessman with punishment if he refuses to make a contribution to the vote bribe fund of a pro-government candidate.” The criminal underworld has become the “driving force” of electoral processes in Armenia, alleges the paper. “A community prefect is thus becoming the ‘godfather’ of criminal elements and serves more high-level ‘godfathers.’ And when it comes to presidential elections the entire underworld rallies behind the regime’s candidate.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” challenges the credibility of the latest list of Armenia’s 300 largest corporate taxpayers published by the State Taxation Service. The paper suggests that the authorities are simply trying to mislead the International Monetary Fund, instead of exposing the country’s top tax evaders.