“Zhamanak” recalls Transport Minister Gagik Beglarian’s recent assurances that the planned rises in the cost of public transportation will be “in the people’s favor.” “The people did not appreciate that patriotic initiative and protested against the 50 percent rise in bus fares,” the paper comments with sarcasm. “But who is benefiting from the 50 percent price rise? The fact is that the Russian gas price for Armenian consumers has risen by around 20 percent as a result of a subsidy. In order to find the answer to this question one only needs to look at who controls bus routes in Yerevan.” They are mainly government officials, deputies and other government-connected individuals, the paper says.
“Zhoghovurd” says a senior official from Yerevan’s municipal administration, Henrik Navasardian, insisted on Thursday that the higher gas price was not the main factor behind its decision to raise transport fares. Navasardian claimed that commercial banks are refusing to lend money to bus companies because they have ceased to be profitable. The paper believes that the authorities should have simply chosen other transport operators instead of forcing commuters to pay more for the ostensible inefficiency of the current operators. It says they did not do that because the lucrative business is controlled by government officials and their cronies.
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” comments on Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s meeting with veterans of the Nagorno-Karabakh war demanding higher pensions. Sarkisian told them that the Armenian government has no money at its disposal to meet their demands. The pro-opposition paper dismisses this explanation, saying that many government officials are very rich. “It’s not that there is no money. It’s just that money is not properly distributed within the society,” it says.