In an interview with “Zhamanak,” Davit Shahnazarian, a veteran opposition politician, says that the upcoming Association Agreement with the European Union will open up “huge opportunities” even for Armenia’s oligarchs. “The problem [with Armenia] is not the oligarchs but the system,” he says. “The economic situation in Armenia is catastrophic, and this is an opportunity to bring our economy out of this destructive process. But this is only the first step. Armenia needs to go a very long way in order to attain all that.”
“Hraparak” says that Yerevan’s embattled Mayor Taron Markarian deserves some empathy for bearing the brunt of public anger in Yerevan with things that are not necessarily of his making. “In a matter of several days, the huge army of Yerevan residents admiring their young mayor shrunk to a small number of people who would fit into a single bus. A bus the interests of whose owners he began to defend, forgetting that he is the mayor of the entire city, and not just his cronies,” writes the paper. It says most ordinary people blame Markarian for the aborted increase in transport fares despite realizing that that decision was made at a higher government level.
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” Artsvik Minasian, a parliament deputy from the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), dismisses suggestions that the civic movement against the bus fare hikes succeeded because opposition political groups were not involved in it. “Politics is one of the manifestations of civic activism,” argues Minasian. “One cannot be separated from the other. Besides, who said that the burden of reforms should be put only on the shoulders of political forces? It is the public that must assume the most active role. Its actions must become the driving force of reforms.”
Hermine Naghdalian, a deputy parliament speaker affiliated with the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), comments on the subject in an interview with “Aravot.” Naghdalian says she hopes that the “pure and sincere enthusiasm” of several dozen young people still holding non-stop demonstrations outside the Yerevan Mayor’s Office will not become “a tool in the hands of some forces.”