“A certain escalation of violence has been observed in Armenia lately,” editorializes “Zhamanak.” “Prominent businessman Saribek Sukiasian was arrested on controversial and ludicrous grounds and then set free. Police used force against participants of a peaceful march staged by the [Armenian National] Congress. Then entrepreneurs trading in the Yerevan jewelry market were taken to the police. And lastly, photojournalist Gagik Shamshian was beaten up outside the Prosecutor-General’s Office.” The paper says these incidents may not have been interrelated but they “give a clear description of today’s Armenia.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun,” another pro-opposition daily, reports on the latest talk of Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s resignation. “There is even speculation that Tigran Sarkisian has tried to fight against the monopolies and oligarchs and that this is why they want to sack him,” says the paper. “On the other hand, in any [other] country that has registered a 14.4 percent economic contraction the prime minister would have been swiftly dismissed. But in Armenia, to begin with, they don’t pay attention to such minor things. Secondly, one of Armenia’s specificities is that the prime minister doesn’t have much to do with management of the economy.”
News.am reports that former President Robert Kocharian has denied though a spokesman rumors that he is poised to be appointed prime minister. Victor Soghomonian, head of Kocharian’s office, says the he is now doing “what former presidents usually do.” “I can single out a concrete area of activity,” says Soghomonian. “But he engages in various types of activities.”
Robert Nazarian, chairman of the Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC), assures “Aravot” that the anticipated rise in the retail price of natural gas is unlikely to push up the cost of electricity generated in Armenian thermal power plants.
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that not only gas but also drinking water will become more expensive soon. The paper says Yerevan’s water distribution network has submitted a corresponding application to the PSRC. It also says that the network managed by the French utility giant Veolia has so far failed reduce a huge loss of water caused by leaky pipes.