(Saturday, January 24)
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that with its threats of sanctions the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) is seeking to keep Armenia’s government and opposition “under its constant control.” “The excessive strengthening or weakening of either party is inadmissible for that endeavor,” says the pro-government daily.
“Hraparak” says that despite the apparent optimism of Armenian officials and their readiness to amend some articles of the Criminal Code, the PACE will suspend Armenia’s vote on Tuesday. “Not much time is left before the PACE session,” says the paper. “Everything will be clear in a few days’ time.”
“Azg” comments on Republican Party (HHK) leaders’ remarks that the Armenian authorities should not be expected to make many concessions to the opposition because no government has “the right to lose.” “Why do the authorities consider their every so-called defeat to be unforgivable?” asks the paper. “It has not been uncommon for the authorities to back away from their initial decisions [in the past,] and their standing has only benefited from that.” It says the use of the word “defeat” by HHK leaders means that the authorities regard the opposition as “enemies that can either be defeated or can defeat you.” “The fact is that the authorities must not make a choice between two defeats: to release opposition activists from prison or to get PACE sanctions,” adds “Azg.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says the authorities view the possible return of scores of Armenian migrant workers from Russia and other countries as a “danger.” “The same authorities have for years claimed to fight against out-migration,” says the opposition paper. “They have urged Armenians from around the world to come to Armenia, make investments, help rebuild the country and so on. Now it turns out that the return of Armenians is dangerous. That means that the authorities have been courting not the Diaspora Armenians but their money.”
“Kapital” says that Russian Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin made a bombshell revelation when he stated last week that Armenia is seeking a “stabilization credit” from Russia to cope with the effects of the global financial crisis. The business daily says such assistance is usually sought from institutions like the International Monetary Fund. It speculates that the authorities in Yerevan have turned to Moscow because they need extra cash to maintain the value of the Armenian dram and because of an apparent delay in the release of more World Bank loans. “And finally, the risks involved in the execution of the 2009 state budget are very high,” says the paper. “The government will hardly manage to keep the budget deficit within the [projected] 40 billion-dram limit.”