Interviewed by “Hraparak,” political analyst Manvel Sargsian sees a growing popular sense in Armenia that the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations depends on what the United States and other foreign power, rather than Armenia, will do. “It appears that everyone has a gut feeling that the state of affairs depends on the Armenian authorities the least,” he says. Sargsian points to U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza’s weekend remark that he is now less optimistic about the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement.
“All actions and statements by Turkey’s leadership over the past year leave no doubt that Turkey does not and can not have a desire to normalize relations by means of peaceful negotiations with Armenia. Turkey wants to discuss and determine all changes in [Turkish-Armenian] relations together with the U.S. and Russia. Armenia is only offered to enter into the Turkish-Russian and Turkish-American relationships,” concludes the analyst.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Artur Baghdasarian, the leader of the pro-government Orinats Yerkir Party and the secretary of Armenia’s National Security Council, is actively expanding his business interests in the country. In particular, says the paper, Baghdasarian is building an expensive clinic in Yerevan and a big cognac distillery in southern Armenia. “Just how the Security Council secretary manages to do so many things and at the same time spend holidays in Dubai for several times a year with his [modest] salary … is difficult to imagine,” it comments tartly.
“Aravot” says that tax authorities have failed to make Armenians ask for receipts from cash registers in shops and restaurants with their high-profile lotteries for receipt numbers. The paper says many people have realized that chances of winning a lump sum are slim. “Relevant bodies have now initiated other ways of winning cash: during a three-month period you collect a particular number of receipts and get a particular amount of cash. If you, of course, take time and trouble to demand your receipts from sales assistants all day long. But doing that is more difficult today than it was before because sale assistants … are even more reluctant to give us our receipts.”