“Aravot” points at the dangers of cynicism in post-Soviet Armenia, which it says is rooted in the disparity that exists between ‘real life and official presentation’. The paper singles out two most recent manifestations of this ‘cynicism’ on the examples of the arrest of an affluent businessman on a murder threat claim and the holding of a by-election to the Armenian parliament.
The editor writes: “It turns out that [well-known businessman] Saribek Sukiasian forced someone to sign some document threatening to kill him otherwise. Knowing Saribek for 15 years, I cannot imagine such a thing. The second case of cynicism is more ironic – all know how the by-election to parliament on January 10 was handled. The neighborhood’s tough guys with the help of police did everything for the government-backed candidate Ara Simonian to be elected and now the Prosecutor-General’s office has revealed the first case of violation and it turns out that the election was rigged in favor of [jailed opposition candidate] Nikol Pashinian.”
The “Hraparak” sees apathy among people towards issues of vital concerns to the nation and the state. Its editor writes after watching the recent the national selection for Eurovision: “We start to look like a banana state where the values and ideas are so distorted that crucial developments and vital concerns for our nations and state do not preoccupy people as much as our participation in a song contest does.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” carries an interview with deputy parliament speaker Samvel Nikoyan who speaks about the latest motion at the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly regarding Armenia. The senior Armenian lawmaker effectively accuses the member of the Swedish delegation who initiated the draft resolution concerning the involvement of Armenia’s military in the suppression of opposition protests in 2008 of “carrying out lobbying activities”.
“Delegates there could be lobbyists for another country. And I’m asking you – has the army in the Republic of Armenia been used against the people? He does not understand what he wrote. He wrote what he had been told to write,” said Nikoyan.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” interviews British ambassador to Armenia Charles Lonsdale on the nature of President Serzh Sarkisian’s recent visit to the United Kingdom, which was described by the Armenian president’s office as ‘working’.
“The invitation was indeed a private one and it was for attending a charity event. But we are glad that he held working meetings with the British royals and the foreign secretary. We are also glad that Mr. President also had an opportunity to take part in other events, in particular to have a speech at Chatham House, to attend the opening of an Arshile Gorky exhibition, meet with members of the local Armenian community,” said Lonsdale.
“Azg” laments the state of internet in Armenia, which it says does not match the government declarations about information technologies being a priority sector of the country’s economy. The paper cites the latest data of Internet World Stats showing that only 6.4 percent of Armenia’s 3 million-strong population uses the internet. In neighboring Georgia and Azerbaijan, it writes, 22 percent and 18 percent of 4 million and 8 million strong populations respectively avail themselves of the worldwide web. The paper also points at the data suggesting a huge disproportion in the dynamics of internet spread in the region in the past decade or so, showing Azerbaijan and Georgia as favorably comparing to Armenia.