“Hayk” condemns the 7-year prison sentence given to opposition leader and newspaper editor Nikol Pashinian. “Nikol Pashinian is an extremely dangerous criminal because he loves Armenia and wants to see constitutional order restored in our country,” writes the opposition paper. It recalls that the same judge, Mnatsakan Martirosian, gave a two-year suspended jail term to a bodyguard of former President Robert Kocharian who beat to death a man in a Yerevan café in 2002.
Writing in 7or.am, analyst Ruben Hakobian sees a direct connection between government corruption and vote rigging in Armenia. “It has to be acknowledged that at least in this sphere, our authorities have managed to register exceptional successes,” says Hakobian. “Corruption scored yet another crushing victory in the National Assembly by-election of January 10. This election once again showed the real characteristic of our society.” Hakobian sees the extremely low voter turnout as an expression of popular protest against the culture of electoral fraud.
Gegham Baghdasarian, an independent Nagorno-Karabakh parliamentarian, tells “Zhamanak” that Karabakh is unlikely to regain its direct involvement in the Minsk Group process at this point. “Maybe that’s good,” muses Baghdasarian. “Let that option remain a theoretical possibility.” He says he is not sure that the authorities in Stepanakert are prepared for being a full-fledged party to the Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” points out that January has traditionally been a “tough month” for Armenia’s economy and tax authorities. The paper explains that the latter have to meet their revenue targets despite a seasonal decline in economic activity. “They are left with only one stable source of revenue,” it says. “Utility payments.”
“Kapital” reports on an Ankara University opinion poll showing that only 6 percent of Turks are in favor of an unconditional normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations. Only 35 percent of those polled said the Turkish parliament should ratify the agreements with Armenia. The poll also found that the United States tops the list of Turkey’s perceived enemies, followed by Armenia, Israel, Greece and France.