(Saturday, September 15)
“Zhamanak Yerevan” carries excerpts from Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian televised interview with the editor of “Azg” which was broadcast on Friday. “The amount of taxes we collect is small,” said Sarkisian. “We must first raise it to the level of medium-income countries. This will be one of my most important tasks. Party affiliations, friendships and relations will have no role here.”
“But who has created this atmosphere of impunity in the country?” comments “Zhamanak Yerevan.” “Armenia is a small country. Given the network of agents created by the Robert Kocharian-Serzh Sarkisian during all these years, there is no way they don’t know who evades taxes. What has kept them from fighting against … those not paying taxes? Aren’t’ the prime minister’s duties enough to do that?”
“In effect, yet another sector of the Armenian economy, telecommunications, has fallen under Russian control,” writes “168 Zham,” commenting on the sale of Armenia’s largest mobile phone operator, VivaCell, to Russia’s MTS. “As is known, the ArmenTel company already belongs to another Russian firm, Vimpelcom. To recap, the Russians also own Armenia’s energy facilities, the nuclear plant, the newly built Iran-Armenia pipeline, many industrial enterprises, a number of large Armenian banks and other strategic facilities.” The only thing they don’t yet own, it says, is the Armenian government.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that former President Levon Ter-Petrosian visited the southern town of Artashat on Friday as part of his ongoing series of meetings across the country aimed at gauging popular support for his participation in the 2008 presidential election. The paper sympathetic to Ter-Petrosian says he met with politically active local residents, including those who were in opposition to his administration. “They urged Ter-Petrosian to run for president by all means and expressed readiness to make every effort to ensure his victory,” it says.
“Aravot” reports that the Armenia organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) began a congress in Nagorno-Karabakh on Friday that will lead to the nomination of its presidential candidate. The paper says among the guest speakers at the opening session of the gathering was opposition leader Vazgen Manukian. Manukian is quoted as telling delegates that their party risks becoming disproportionately “pragmatic” and even “cynical.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says those members of the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) who claim that only Serzh Sarkisian is apt to succeed Robert Kocharian deal a huge blow to the HHK’s credibility. “A question arises. Is that a party or a collection of mediocrities?” says the paper.