“Azg” continues to discuss the apparent recall of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans. The paper agrees with the dominant belief in Armenia that Evans has been told to step down because of his public recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide and the damage caused by the move to U.S.-Turkish relations.
“Iravunk” again looks at the ongoing consolidation of Armenia’s power class around the governing Republican Party (HHK) and Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian in particular. “Although many rush to rally around Serzh Sarkisian, whether openly or not, at the end of the day the defense minister can not rely on any of them,” comments the paper. “They all understand objectively that time works against Serzh Sarkisian because he is increasingly regarded in Russia as a ‘traitor,’ while the West is not inclined to trust him, especially considering growing intolerance around the world towards criminalized regimes. So all those who are now rallying around Serzh Sarkisian, be it oligarchs, bureaucrats or puppet oppositionists that secretly visit his office, consider him a figure on his way out.”
“They are guided by a fairly pragmatic thinking,” claims “Iravunk.” “To make the most of Serzh Sarkisian’s resources and tutelage at this point and ditch him at an opportune moment.”
Human rights activist Vartan Harutiunian tells “Aravot” that “criminal elements” in Armenia have become more active of late. “I was shocked by the fact of an innocent passerby, a young woman, being killed in the Malatia shooting [last June,]” he says. “I thought that would make our authorities, law-enforcers, the public sober up. But a second incident of this kind occurred a few days ago.” The public barely reacted to it as well, he complains.
“Iravunk” reports that one of President Robert Kocharian’s bodyguards, who is currently spending his vacation in the resort town of Tsaghkadzor, is openly carrying a gun despite being off duty. “Even when entertaining himself he demonstratively attaches his gun to a visible place [on his body] and keeps having fun. What are the legal grounds on which this young man flaunts his official weapon?” The paper says many other Armenian bodyguards behave in the same way and their main mission is not to protect their masters but to create an atmosphere of fear in the country.
The Lragir.am online news service says the renewed appreciation of the Armenian dram testifies to a “panic” reigning within Armenia’s leadership. “It is now clear even to a kindergarten child that … lots of dollars are being bought with few drams,” it says. “Buying dollars may seem disadvantageous at the moment because the dollar is losing its value. But that is disadvantageous for those people who see their future in Armenia. Namely, those citizens that have no overseas bank accounts or companies registered in offshore zones. The same kindergarten child knows that it is Armenia’s ruling elite and big businessmen that have such accounts and companies. They therefore prefer the dollar to the dram. And so by drastically pushing down the dollar, they are able to accumulate millions of dollars on the cheap, at the expense of citizens receiving remittances and tourists.”