(Saturday, May 18)
“Aravot” says the Armenian authorities fail to understand that it is in their interests to ease socioeconomic hardship in the country. The paper says that they would risk losing what they have in case of a possible popular uprising against the government. “The simple instinct of self-preservation should have prompted them to take steps for slightly decreasing their own influence and slightly strengthening the state,” it writes in an editorial.
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” Artak Davtian, a parliament deputy from the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), accuses government critics of “terrorizing the society with the prospect of a social revolt” and “making sinister forecasts regarding political and economic shocks awaiting us.” “And who are talking about this? People who failed in the recent elections and are looking for an opportunity to again voice their unfounded ambitions,” he says. Davtian dismisses concerns that the government could abandon plans to raise public sector salaries and pensions in order to limit a sizable increase in the public of natural gas. He argues that the gas price hike did not come as a surprise. “If the government promised to raise salaries and pensions, then it took into account that factor as well,” says Davtian.
“Zhoghovurd” reports that Russia has made military service compulsory also for newly naturalized immigrants, including who have already served in the armed forces of their native countries. “Of course with this legal amendment Russia is trying to address a shortage of conscripts through foreigners,” comments the paper. “For us, however, this new law could be very significant.” It says draft dodgers in Armenia will no longer be keen to emigrate to Russia and adopt Russian citizenship.
Lyudmila Sargsian, a parliament deputy representing Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK), tells “Zhamanak” that Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) Gagik Tsarukian is careful not to openly declare himself an opposition because he is a wealthy businessman who has a lot to lose. “We know how government levers can affect a businessman, how they destroy or take away people’s assets and businesses,” she says. “Therefore, I cannot explicitly state today whether the BHK is in government or opposition.”