“Hraparak” says that the Armenian authorities were not interested in postponing the February 18 election because of the shooting attack on opposition candidate Paruyr Hayrikian. The paper argues that a delay would entail “additional finances and days of campaigning and a possibility of new trouble.” “By contrast, it would be beneficial for the opposition,” it says. “An extra 15 days could substantially change the situation … There could be a snowball effect.” Therefore, in deciding not to appeal to the Constitutional Court Hayrikian “followed the authorities’ scenario,” concludes the paper, accusing the Soviet-era dissident of “easily surrendering” to the regime.
Galust Sahakian, a deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), tells “Zhamanak” that the shooting might have been the work of political forces that did not field any presidential candidates. “Every person can suggest many things in their mind but has no right to unjustly accuse another team,” cautions Sahakian. He also chides Hayrikian for pointing the finger at Russia.
“Zhoghovurd” carries an interview with Smbat Karakhanian, a controversial Moscow-based Armenian activist with reputed ties to the Kremlin. Karakhanian claims that the Armenian government itself showed an interest in joining the Russian-led Customs Union before dragging its feet on the matter. “At meetings with Russia’s president, prime minister and other officials they all [Armenian officials] promise to do that … But they won’t give a definitive answer anywhere,” complains Karakhanian. “They are dragging out things. That is why they are trusted neither here nor there [in the West.]”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” tries to demonstrate what it says is a glaring contrast between government promises and reality. The paper points to a recent sharp rise in taxes levied from self-employed dentists and real estate agents. It says the measure will not translate into more tax revenues and will leave more people unemployed instead. “And clearly those people will have to emigrate from Armenia,” claims the pro-opposition daily. “Serzh Sarkisian delivers grandiose speeches about the need to stop emigration, while Tigran Sarkisian is openly encouraging emigration with concrete steps,” it says.