“The regime still hopes that Levon Ter-Petrosian will start negotiations with it,” writes “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “The key question is not what those negotiations should focus on. The question is who should take part in them.” The opposition paper says Ter-Petrosian should not talk to President Serzh Sarkisian and Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian.
“Azg” notes that those who have been calling for a “dialogue” between Ter-Petrosian and Sarkisian do not say what specifically the two men should discuss and which concrete grievances they should seek to address. “It is obvious that a ludicrous situation has emerged,” says the paper. “In no other country, even a post-Soviet one, does a candidate who won 21 percent of the vote talk on behalf of all people, especially with ultimatums. One gets the impression that the votes of 350,000 people are more decisive [for Ter-Petrosian] than the 850,000 votes cast for Serzh Sarkisian and about 400,000 votes cast for the other candidates.”
“Armenia stands on the brink of social upheavals,” editorializes “Aravot.” “The prices of basic goods will substantially rise this year. Not seeing that and continuing to claim that inflation stands at, say, 2.34 percent or issuing other similar numbers would be reckless.” The paper says that by cracking down on the opposition the authorities are only increasing the risk of a popular revolt driven by socioeconomic factors.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the government can not be serious about its pledges to reduce the informal sector of the Armenian economy because its own senior officials and loyal businessmen evade taxes. The paper gives the example of a mineral water bottling company which is owned by one such “oligarch,” Mikhail Baghdasarov, and is not even on the list of Armenia’s 1,000 leading corporate taxpayers. Nor is a popular café chain owned by Serzh Sarkisian’s son-in-law listed among those companies. This, according to the paper, is also true for “many other companies that operate and expand with the high-level sponsorship of Serzh Sarkisian.”
“Hayk” dismisses Deputy Prime Minister Armen Gevorgian’s assurances that the surge in the price of natural gas, effective from May 1, will not push up the cost of public transportation in Armenia. The paper argues that most buses in the country run on liquefied gas which has already become more expensive. It says some bus drivers are already threatening to go on a strike. “Either they will raise the fares or we will stop working for peanuts,” one of them is quoted as saying.