“Haykakan Zhamanak” says Armenian journalists showed a lot of interest in a doctoral dissertation defended by Yerevan Mayor Taron Markarian on Thursday because they have strong doubts about his “scientific skills.” The paper says that if Markarian wants to dispel those doubts she should invite journalists and write a very short essay and answer several questions about economics in their presence.
“Hraparak” also mocks the doctoral degree that was bestowed on Markarian by the Armenian State Economics University. The paper says the university rector, Koryun Atoyan, personally supervised Markarian’s purported post-graduate research and ordered his thuggish students to prevent the media from covering the ceremony.
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” says mockingly that the authorities were right to hold the ceremony behind the closed doors because there must have been spies sent by “the world’s leading scientific centers” among the journalists bullied and insulted by pro-government students. Those centers are keen to steal ground-breaking discoveries made by the Yerevan mayor, says the pro-opposition daily.
Markarian, meanwhile, tells “Hraparak” that the only purpose of his controversial dissertation was to “put my eight-year experience down to paper.” “I have substantial experience [in local government] and just wanted to write about it,” says the mayor.
In a separate editorial, “Hraparak” scoffs at the ruling Republican Party (HHK) spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov claims that 2013 was a successful year for Armenia. The paper says that the Armenian government’s failure to meet a 7 percent economic growth target set by President Serzh Sarkisian is enough of a reason for drawing other conclusions. It argues that Armenia also “finally lost control over its energy sector” in 2013.
“Aravot” quotes Artsvik Minasian, a deputy from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, as saying that the government’s secret gas subsidies worth an estimated $300 million cannot count as a state debt to Russia’s Gazprom monopoly. “This is a sum that has been misappropriated by several factions but has to be repaid by the people of Armenia,” says Minasian.