(Saturday, November 29)
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that a meaningful fight against corruption is important for mitigating consequences of the global economic crisis for Armenia. The paper believes that government corruption in the country stems from various loopholes in laws and government directives that “allow officials to manage all kinds of [public] assets at their own discretion.” “If those loopholes are closed the corruption system will not crumble but will become more vulnerable,” it says.
“Pakagits” says that despite government assurances that the Armenian economy has so far been unaffected by the crisis there are growing indications to the contrary. The paper points to continuing reports of layoffs of workers at export-oriented factories across the country. It says a cement plant located in the central town of Hrazdan is the latest Armenian company that has announced a suspension of its operations. Mikhail Baghdasarov, the company’s owner reportedly close to President Serzh Sarkisian, criticized the Armenian government’s economic policy in unusually strong terms last week.
“Azg,” meanwhile, quotes Baghdasarov as telling the Armenpress news agency that his comments were distorted and taken out of context by journalists. “My main message was that for all the problems caused by the financial crisis, new opportunities could emerge for us and we must utilize them,” he says.
“Aravot” sees a much greater variety of opinions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Armenia than in Azerbaijan. “What Ilham Aliev thinks of [the conflict] is well known: Karabakh must be placed under full Azerbaijani control, and if the Armenians object to that, that will be achieved by military means,” editorializes the paper. “Is there any force, group or political leader [in Azerbaijan] who thinks otherwise? If Karabakh again becomes a part of Azerbaijan not a single Armenian will be left there in a matter of months … On this issue there are no disagreements in Armenia. For us, both hard-liners and soft-liners, that is an axiom.”
“In the event of a resumption of the war [in Karabakh] we will have to consolidate the society because at the root of our victory in the last war was public consolidation,” Vartan Khachatrian, an opposition parliamentarian, tells “Zhamanak Yerevan.” “Today we must pay greater attention to public moods and raise the public consciousness to a level that will make people ready to again take up arms and go to the battlefield. But whether the society is now prepared for that is hard to tell.”