“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” says a ban on street trading in Yerevan risks precipitating a “social upheaval” in Armenia. “According to rough estimates, as a result of this reckless act by Yerevan’s new mayor, 7,000-8,000 citizens have become jobless,” writes the paper. “One must not doubt that they will be joined by several thousand entrepreneurs who imported goods from Turkey and are now in a desperate situation because transport companies have doubled shipping tariffs.”
“This is not the first attempt to regulate open-air or street trade,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” “But the newly elected Mayor Karen Karapetian seems to be in a much more resolute mood. After all, there is a law effective from 2004 which defines the types of goods can be sold in the open. And the requirements of that law are generally known … It’s just that those requirements have for years been ignored.”
“Kapital” reports that political commentator Richard Giragosian has drawn parallels between the situations in Armenia and Tunisia, whose long-serving president has been forced to flee the country amid angry popular protests. Giragosian is quoted as saying that the protests started after the self-immolation of a 26-year-old university graduate who earned a living through street trade and was arrested by police. “Yerevan’s new mayor has also decided to ban street trade,” he says, adding that both Armenia and Tunisia are plagued by corruption, high unemployment, a clan-based government system, monopoly-driven inflation and the authorities’ “excessive self-confidence.”
“Yerkir” reports that Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader Gagik Tsarukian will attend Friday’s inauguration of Belarus’s autocratic President Aleksandr Lukashenko who was controversially reelected this month in elections marred by fraud allegations. “Tsarukian is not a state official and his participation in the ceremony can not be regarded as an official [Armenian] recognition of Lukashenko’s victory in the elections,” comments the paper. “On the other hand, Belarus, like Armenia, is a member of the CIS and, more importantly, the CSTO. Therefore, Yerevan could not have shunned that ceremony.” By sending Tsarukian to Minsk, the Armenian authorities sought to please both Lukashenko and his Western detractors, concludes the paper.
Interviewed by “Hraparak,” sociologist Hranush Kharatian comments on what she sees as a growing wave of xenophobia in Russia. “The nationalist movement in Russia is gaining new momentum, which could have been expected,” she says. “It is no secret that the movement is now being encouraged by Russian state bodies.”