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Press Review


In an editorial, “Aravot” predicts that President Robert Kocharian will not become prime minister after completing his second and final term in office next spring. “If Serzh Sarkisian becomes president -- and there seems nothing at present standing in his way -- it is likely that a real transfer of power will take place within the framework of the same system,” writes the paper. “And the new president, who, unlike Kocharian, will be representing a party, will take over the country’s leadership in full. It will be very logical if the president and the parliament majority want to see a representative of their own, ruling party in the post of prime minister.”

“What will Kocharian do?” asks “Aravot.” “Of course, as he said, he will not retire. Fortunately, nor will he be declared an enemy of the nation, which is what the current official propaganda has been doing with respect to the first president of Armenia. The most likely place where the second president may find himself is a big Russian-Armenian state business.”

“Aravot” also reports that former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, who has rarely made public appearances since his resignation, has held meetings in the towns of Gyumri, Vanadzor and Aparan of late. “It’s summer and we are just meeting with our friends,” a senior member of the former ruling HHSh, Andranik Hovakimian, is quoted as explaining. “This has nothing to do with running or not running for president. And those meetings are attended not only by the HHSh but all those people who were active in those towns during the [1988] movement.”

“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that the official average wage in Armenia reached an equivalent of $210 a month in June, up by about 10 percent from the December 2006. The paper says employees of banks and other financial firms are the highest paid in Armenia, earning more than three times the national average. They are followed by employees of local mining companies who make over $400 a month. “Wages are also relatively high in the construction sector ($280), the restaurant and hotel business ($270), and the sphere of transport and communications ($245).” By contrast, says the paper, public sector workers are still paid well below the average.

According “Hayk,” economic growth in Armenia is a breeding ground for pickpockets, who all but stopped operating in the country in the 1990s. The paper quotes one pickpocket, identified as Ashot, as saying that the most common object of theft these days is not wallets, but mobile phones. He says they are easy to both steal and sell. Yerevan residents are at particularly high risk of falling victim to such crimes in the two busiest metro stations. “A single experienced pickpocket can steal three or four mobile phones a day. Though there are days when nothing works out.” Most of the stolen handsets are smuggled into neighboring Georgia, the paper says.

(Armen Dulian)
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