“Hayots Ashkhar” says the new Armenian government’s five-year policy program has a “clear social emphasis” because it aims to create 100,000 new jobs, significantly reduce poverty and double the national minimum wage. “One third of the country’s population lives below the poverty line and many of those people are extremely poor,” comments the pro-government paper. “Namely, they eat badly, lack decent housing and, most importantly, live with a sense of complete despair and impossibility to change anything in their life.”
In an interview with “Aravot,” Karapet Rubinian, a veteran opposition politician, questions the opposition credentials of Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK). He says that a number of deputy ministers, provincial governors as well as parliament committee chairpersons are BHK members. “The BHK is neither in government nor in opposition,” he says.
Speaking to “Yerkir,” Naira Zohrabian, secretary of the BHK’s parliamentary faction, comments on the fact that the new minister of sports and youth affairs, Hrachya Rostomian, has only suspended his membership of the BHK. “You should not look for sensations here,” Zohrabian says. “Everything is very clear.” She says it is natural that the ministerial post was given to someone who is on good terms with Tsarukian, who also heads Armenia’s National Olympic Committee. “Obviously they had to pick a person who has a normal relationship with the Olympic Committee chairman for the sake of the common cause: the development of Armenian sports,” she says. “Recent successes there have been achieved especially thanks to Gagik Tsarukian.”
“Zhamanak” carries another editorial on the severe beating of three military doctors at a restaurant belonging to another powerful businessman, Ruben Hayrapetian. The paper criticizes President Serzh Sarkisian for not reacting to “that flagrant incident” in any way. “It is now becoming even more evident that there are extremely serious, deep and value-based problems in the country that are methodically driving the state and the society into self-destruction,” it says, adding that “everything can now be expected from representatives of the Armenian oligarchic authority.” “The atmosphere of impunity has made those representatives supremely audacious and brazen because they know that they are stronger than the law and above morality and can do whatever they want,” concludes “Zhamanak.”
“Zhoghovurd” quotes Gurgen Yeghiazarian, a prominent member of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), as heaping praise on Vartan Oskanian, a former foreign minister and a parliament deputy from the BHK. “With his behavior in the last six months, Vartan Oskanian has proved every day that unlike [members of] the clan-based oligarchic system he is a true citizen of Armenia,” Yeghiazarian says. “A person who really thinks about his homeland.”