Writing on the 22nd anniversary of the catastrophic 1988 earthquake in Armenia, “Zhamanak” says the country has not only failed to fully recovered from the calamity but has also experienced a collapse of “human morality.” “The disaster zone, which has become a monument to human tragedies, is a subject of various government speculations,” says the pro-opposition daily. “To this day, thousands of people live in temporary shacks in miserable conditions, have no idea when they will live in humane conditions. And yet in the last few years, the authorities have repeatedly stated that the notion ‘disaster zone’ does not exist anymore.”
But as “Hayots Ashkhar” says in an extensive article on the subject, there have been “substantial changes” in the earthquake-hit regions. The pro-presidential paper contends that the reconstruction work carried out there over the past decade has “somewhat straightened the country’s back” and “transformed people’s approaches and perceptions.” “Those who curse darkness do not quite like those who light candles,” it says. “The other people find the way out with the help of the candle’s light, rather than the sound of the curse.”
“Azg” says the young people who were born in the area after December 1988 are trying to “liberate themselves from the ‘earthquake generation’ tag” and “seeking to live normal human lives.” “The seniors too must rid themselves of the earthquake imprint,” writes the paper.
In the first edition of its new, daily version, “Yerkir” discusses the OSCE summit in Astana. “By and large, Armenia got no substantive result at Astana,” the paper writes, scoffing at government officials’ arguments that the principle of self-determination was mentioned along with that of territorial integrity in a statement adopted at the summit. It says this only proves that the international community previously placed territorial integrity above self-determination with regard to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict because of the Armenian government’s “negligence and wrong course.” “Yerevan has only managed to rectify that mistake with very vague formulations,” concludes the paper.
Abel Aganbegian, a prominent Russian-Armenian economist, tells “168 Zham” that Armenia’s industrial output has grown by no more than 5 percent per annum in the past decade because of the “monopolization” of the Armenian economy. “Monopolies don’t need manufacturing,” he says. “In Armenia, the monopolization mainly involves imports because that’s where the large sums can be made.” Aganbegian also criticizes the exchange rate policy of the Armenian Central Bank before the global financial crisis, saying that it was “extremely harmful” for the Armenian economy. The Armenian dram was “clearly overvalued.”