Lragir.am accuses Armenia’s leaders of trying to revive and distort “anti-liberal ideas” that were espoused by Garegin Nzhdeh, an early 20th century Armenian nationalist leader. “The Republican Party and anti-democratic forces consolidated around it adopted a policy of creating oligopolies in economics and a strategy of dispersing state authority among oligarchic clans in state building,” claims the online publication. “In Armenia, democratic politics has centered on the holding of free, fair and transparent elections,” it says. “Formally, we all have equal electoral rights. Therefore, one could presume that a democratic public order should have long been formed by means of an electoral mechanism. That is not being done because policy has long ceased to be shaped as a result of elections. It has drifted to another, economic sphere long ago.”
“The West is guided by realpolitik and does not call Serzh Sarkisian’s legitimacy into question because he is quite a desirable candidate for outside forces,” political analyst Armen Badalian tells “Zhamanak.” “First of all, he is not legitimate. Secondly, there are political prisoners in the country. He is also a weak president because he does not control the entire government pyramid.” He says the West does not want the Armenian National Congress (HAK) to come to power because it could toughen Armenia’s policies on Turkey and Azerbaijan. It would be much harder for the West to impose any policy on HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian, argues Badalian. “Besides, elections would mean an unstable situation lasting for eight or nine months,” he adds.
“Taregir” reports that the Yerevan municipality has clarified its controversial decision to start levying a fixed annual tax of 5,000 drams ($13) from owners of dogs and other pets. The municipality says it has simply started enforcing a law that was adopted in 1997. The paper ridicules the explanation. It also says that the municipal authorities expect to collect only 1 million drams in such duties a year.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the HAK is pressing ahead with its plans to challenge the recent spike in natural gas prices in Armenia in court. An HAK official is quoted as saying that a corresponding lawsuit is already ready and will be filed in the beginning of April.