(Saturday, November 9)
“Zhamanak” is unimpressed by President Serzh Sarkisian’s calls for improved local governance in Armenia which he made at a meeting with the leadership of the Ministry for Local Government on Friday. The paper says such statements will be meaningless as long as the Armenian regions are directly or indirectly controlled by “feudal oligarchs” like Hovik Abrahamian, Gagik Tsarukian or Suren Khachatrian. It claims that they will force Sarkisian into resignation if he moves to radically change this system.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” notes that the World Bank plans to allocate over $870 million in fresh loans and grants to Armenia in the next few years despite Yerevan’s decision to join the Russian-led Customs Union. The paper speculates that the West is undaunted by the Armenian “betrayal” and wants to retain some leverage against the Sarkisian government. “And it is hard to think of a more powerful lever than financial dependence,” it says.
“Aravot” mocks a doubling of transport fares demanded by the owners of private firms operating minibus routes in Yerevan. The paper says the situation would be just as absurd if Armenian customs or traffic police officers took to the streets to demand higher “bribe rates.” “It will be worth considering higher fares only if the route operators make the kind of investments that would spare drivers the need to collect fees … and if all commuters are able to sit while riding, as is required by law,” it says.
“168 Zham” says that some opposition deputies may well vote for Ishkhan Zakarian’s reappointment as head of the Armenian parliament’s Audit Chamber. The paper says the events of recent months demonstrated that they are not averse to pleasing “officials with strong levers” for personal needs. “So it is possible that after the parliament vote on Ishkhan Zakarian’s candidacy the oppositionists will again start looking for traitors among each other,” it claims.