(Saturday, May 15)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” scoffs at the Armenian authorities’ protests against the renewed work of a Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) subcommittee on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The paper says their main argument is that the current PACE president, Mevlut Cavusoglu, is a Turk. “Would Armenia’s attitude towards the subcommittee be different if Cavusoglu was, say, Japanese?” it asks. “Of course, not, because no discussion beyond the OSCE Minsk Group can be acceptable to Armenia [in principle.] This clear political position was overshadowed during Cavusoglu’s visit [to Yerevan,] and Armenia’s approach appeared in a totally different light.”
Eduard Sharmazanov, a spokesman for the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that in his efforts to revive the PACE subcommittee Cavusoglu is primarily acting like a Turkish politician and “forgetting the fact that he is the PACE president.” “Right from the beginning, he has not been in the right position and has defended Turkey’s interests,” says Sharmazanov. “And yet the PACE president has no right to be Turkey’s ambassador to the Council of Europe.” Sharmazanov claims that Cavusoglu’s stance stems from Ankara’s “long-standing dream” to become a mediator in the Karabakh negotiating process. “Armenia and our delegation to the [Strasbourg-based] Assembly will not allow that,” he adds.
“Aravot” editorializes on what it sees as close ties between Armenia’s political class and criminal underworld. The paper claims that ever since 1995, Armenia’s governments have relied on criminal groups and individuals in order to cling to power “because it was clear that doing that through elections is not possible.” “At first, that was done on a much more modest and limited scale,” it says. “But that mechanism has developed so much in the past 15 years that they now talk about it almost openly.” The paper says that in return for services provided to the country’s rulers during elections, crime figures “demand economic and political levers, enter governing parties, want to get [government] positions, and become parliament deputies, minister and so on.”
“Kapital” looks at what it sees as a growing “dollarization” of the Armenian economy. “Retail trade in the domestic market is mainly done in drams,” reports the business daily. “Wages are also paid in drams. But people prefer the dollar as a means of savings, and there is nothing you can do against this with administrative measures. Furthermore, even in medium-term business projects, the dollar is put at the heart of all economic calculations. The reason for that is a purely psychological one: people don’t trust the dram.”