(Saturday, November 19)
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” scoffs at President Serzh Sarkisian’s calls for Armenia’s radical “transformation” and his stated commitment to democratic values. “His teammates do not understand whether the boss is serious about that or simply has no other themes to talk about,” writes the pro-opposition daily. It says that the average state official affiliated with Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) is associated with anything but democracy and human rights. And the president has always relied on such people, it says.
“Yerkir” accuses Surik Khachatrian, the controversial governor of Syunik province, of forcing his press office to “spread evidently false information.” The paper refers to a statement denying allegations that Khachatrian attacked a businesswoman in Yerevan. “That he means he used resources of … a state governance body for solving personal issues which is further proof of the fact that most people holding political or patronage posts have simply turned state structures into their private properties where they do whatever they want.”
In an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Vladimir Gasparian, the recently appointed chief of the Armenian police, dismisses speculation that senior police officers sacked by him are sympathizers of Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK). “The police are beyond politics,” he says. “Woe to the police if they suddenly engage in politics.” Gasparian also assures the opposition paper that he will combat “any phenomenon that would disrupt peace and calm in my country and cause injustice there … regardless of whether it’s my father, brother, Gagik Tsarukian or anyone else.”
Interviewed by “168 Zham,” Hrant Bagratian, a former prime minister affiliated with the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), laments a lack of official information about where the Armenian authorities invest the country’s foreign assets currently worth $1.85 billion. Bagratian says he has repeatedly requested such information from relevant state bodies but to no avail. “I’m amazed that when the National Assembly debates the state budget nobody raises this issue,” he says.
“Hayots Ashkhar” calls the European Union’s attitude towards Armenia “multi-layered.” The paper sees a contradiction between the EU’s energy cooperation with Azerbaijan and its promotion of economic integration between Armenia and Georgia. “By insisting that the Southern Energy Corridor must not feed a new war Armenia’s leader has let it be known that the EU’s [regional] energy projects have started to become a double-edged sword for our country,” writes the pro-presidential daily. “For that reason the Armenian president has pointed out that such policy could reflect negatively on issues related to the export of energy resources.”