“Aravot” says most Armenians have yet to feel the effects of a recent surge in the price of natural gas on their skin. “That seems to worry political forces,” editorializes the paper. “The Armenian National Congress (HAK) appealed to the Administrative Court, challenging the price rise. There is no doubt on what fate awaits this suit.” It says the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) has also challenged the measure. The government considers such protests manifestations of political populism.
“Hraparak” is “stunned” by the French government’s decision to grant a prestigious state medal to Narek Sargsian, Armenia’s chief architect who oversaw the highly controversial redevelopment projects in the center of Yerevan. The paper says a statement by France’s embassy in Yerevan did not give any reasons for the move. “We can only guess. Maybe [Sargsian was awarded] for messing up Yerevan’s center or substantially shrinking its green areas,” it says in an editorial.
Lragir.am reports that Armenia’s Office of the Prosecutor-General has signed a “memorandum of cooperation” with a coalition of more than a hundred non-governmental organizations. The online journal questions their independence and commitment to human rights, saying that none of them is known to have been involved in recent opposition protests in Yerevan. “We don’t remember those organizations participating actions in support of political prisoners organized outside the prosecutor’s office every Friday for more than two years and in the trials of political prisoners,” it says. “They probably found that burden too heavy for their flimsy shoulders and shifted it to young activists and the few individuals having civil consciousness.”
“Kapital” reports on the start of summer exports of apricots from Armenia. “Although the Upper Lars customs checkpoint at the Russian-Georgian border has been open since March 1, Armenian entrepreneurs have to export apricots by plane as the harvest collection is just starting now and its volumes are not sufficient for carrying out the exports by land,” says the paper. “It is expected that the apricot exports this year will be lower than last year because of an anticipated 40 percent drop in yields caused by bad weather.”
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” Hrayr Karapetian, the chairman of the Armenian parliament committee on defense and security, criticizes Azerbaijan’s newly adopted military doctrine. “There is no other state whose military doctrine upholds military ways of solving problems,” he says. “In this sense, Azerbaijan is the first and only country. Therefore, the entire international community must understand that Azerbaijan poses a threat to the region and the world as a whole.” Karapetian also claims that U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s visit to Baku was the result of “Azerbaijani blackmail.”