(Saturday, December 14)
“Zhamanak” comments on President Serzh Sarkisian’s latest public statement defending a controversial reform of Armenia’s pension system implemented by his government and opposed by many workers. “Serzh Sarkisian has succeeded in keeping the majority of [disaffected] people at home, while placing new economic burdens on them” writes the paper. But it says Sarkisian would be wrong to think that he can carry on like this as Armenians’ patience with his policies is not unlimited.
“Zhoghovurd” claims that Sarkisian attacked his predecessor Robert Kocharian when he complained on Friday about unnamed “officials who could have solved this [pension] problem years ago.” “So despite having inherited double-digit growth from Robert Kocharian and left the country on the verge of misery, Sarkisian rebukes his predecessor for failing to solve all problems,” comments the paper. “Of course, the situation was not quite rosy under Kocharian either. But the official poverty rate in the country was 26 percent, compared with the current rate of 32.5 percent.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” quotes Galust Sahakian, a leader of Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), as saying that the HHK will leave power after the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is resolved and the country becomes prosperous. That, he has said, will take 50 years. The pro-opposition paper wonders if Armenia will still exist as an independent state by that time.
“Even government officials do not deny that after Armenia joins the [Russian] Customs Union it will have higher inflation that will primarily affect basic foodstuffs,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “No state body has calculated the extent of price hikes. But there are some expert estimates that the cost of imported basic foodstuffs will go up by at least 7-8 percent. The prices of other products could rise by 11-12 percent.”
“Russia is pressuring its neighbors to stay loyal to it, reckoning that relationships within the framework of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership program are a show of unfaithfulness,” writes “Aravot.” “That is a wrong perception of reality.”