“Zhamanak” dismisses the U.S. think-tank Stratfor’s assertion that Armenia is unlikely to see the kind of anti-government protests that are taking place in Egypt anytime soon. The pro-opposition paper wonders if Stratfor predicted the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia in the first place. Observers should therefore be very cautious in speculating about possible political developments in Armenia, it says.
Vladimir Karapetian of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) also disputes the Stratfor claim in an interview with “Aravot.” Karapetian insists that turnout at the HAK rallies in Yerevan has not been low of late. He says as many as 10,000 people attended the most recent of those rallies. “This fact alone proves that either Stratfor lacks information or its commentary is directed by someone,” adds Karapetian. He also claims to see “manifestations of panic within the government.”
“Naturally, we are following developments [in Egypt,] drawing lessons,” continues Karapetian. “I am sure that the authorities are also learning lessons from them.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that Georgia will “very soon” put up for sale a minority share in a pipeline supplying Russian natural gas to Armenia. “Georgian Energy Minister Aleksandr Khetaguri announced this yesterday,” says the paper. “He insisted at the same time a sale of a majority share is not planned.” The paper speculates that there may well be such plans later on. It notes that Azerbaijan’s state oil company has expressed a desire to gain control of the pipeline vital for Armenia.
“Efforts to bring Georgia out of the economic crisis are quite effective,” writes “Yerkir.” “There, for example, a small business with an annual turnover of up to $55,000 as well as the hi-tech sector are exempt from taxes … Not to mention the successful [Georgian] experience of fighting against corruption. And what is Armenia’s government doing? It is taking steps in the opposite direction as evidenced by periodical protests staged by various social classes. Our clever government has decided to solve the issue of filling the state budget [with revenues] at all costs without realizing that people could simply get fed up at some point.”