“Hraparak” runs a commentary this week’s series of speeches by President Serzh Sarkisian devoted to the 20th anniversary of Armenia’s independence. “It is very difficult to speak about the same subject for several times, to ensure that those speeches are intelligent and carry a message, emotion and a summary of the 20th anniversary,” says the paper. “But what we have heard in the last few days could not satisfy even the most forgiving spectator and pro-government Armenians. It was clear that those speeches were written by different people. Among them are romantics and demagogues, big optimists and populists, people who either have been absent from Armenia in recent years or don’t love Armenia.”
“Becoming a parliament deputy is not fashionable anymore in Armenia,” writes “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun.” “But that certainly doesn’t mean that the authorities will renounce [parliamentary] mandate auctions or will announce discounts.” The opposition daily claims that the authorities may force some wealthy individuals to pay for seats in the National Assembly. “The rich are saying one by one that they have no desire to be in the next parliament. The reason for that is Serzh Sarkisian’s remark that there must be no businessman-deputies in the next parliament. In effect, our oligarchs did not understand Sarkisian correctly. What he said was this: ‘You give money so we send other people to the parliament in your place.’”
“Aravot” comments on government plans to simplify procedures for receiving Armenian citizenship. In particular, applicants would no longer have to be fluent in the Armenian language and know key provisions of Armenia’s constitution. Artur Osikian, deputy chief of the Armenian police is quoted as arguing that “there are Armenian patriots who don’t speak Armenian.” The paper dismisses this argument, saying that every Armenian must be “patriotic enough to respect their country’s language and basic law.” “If they don’t have that respect, they should not aspire to the high status of citizen of our state,” it says. “The government is easily pushing through such decisions probably because our society is mostly indifferent to these issues.”
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” businessman Mikhail Bagdasarov laughs off speculation that Armavia, Armenia’s national airline owned by him, may have been the Armenian entity which, according to international media reports, allegedly transported weapons to Libya’s Colonel Muammar Qaddafi via Moldova. Bagdasarov argues that there are 32 airlines registered in Armenia and that unlike some of them, Armavia does not have cargo planes. “Armavia operates solely in the market for passenger transportation,” he says.