“Aravot” comments on an opinion poll showing that the vast majority of Armenians will not take to the streets to protest against the upcoming surge in the price of gas and possibly other utility services. “The authorities will probably be happy with this finding,” writes the paper. The opposition, it says, will insist, however, that the people are determined to fight against the government.
“Although the government is doing everything to provoke a social revolt, it is not provoked,” adds “Aravot.” “In France, for instance, people would take to the streets in such cases and they would be organized not by opposition forces … but labor unions acting as defenders of working people. Of course, we are not France, our culture is different. Armenians revolt not by taking to the streets. They revolt by buying airplane tickets and leaving their homeland for good.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reacts to Dashnaktsutyun deputy Artsvik Minasian’s claim that the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) is not in a position to unseat President Serzh Sarkisian because it holds no seats in parliament. Minasian said the only constitutional way of doing that is to launch impeachment proceedings in the National Assembly. The paper counters that Armenia’s constitution envisages other legitimate forms of protest against the government such as strikes and demonstrations.
“Hayots Ashkhar” dismisses as a “hoax” a recent Russian newspaper article that detailed the alleged fortunes of former President Robert Kocharian and other Armenian officials. The paper says the article is based on false information provided by the HAK and disseminated for money. That way, it says, the opposition alliances seeks to give more credence to its anti-government allegations. “Of course, we are far from thinking that our officials are needy people,” it adds. “On the contrary, as a rule, they are quite affluent. There are both good and bad things about it.”
“Kapital” carries an interview with Mark Lewis, head of an International Monetary Fund delegation visiting Armenia. Lewis downplays the sharp increase in Armenia’s external debt observed over the past year. He argues that Armenia’s debt/GDP ratio is still well below that of other countries, including those with developed economies. He also says that Armenia’s debt portfolio is dominated by long-term and low-interest loans that were provided by multilateral lending institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank.