“Haykakan Zhamanak” calls Armenia’s ongoing accession talks with the Russian-led Customs Union a “murky process,” saying that not a single Armenian official has convincingly explained so far what exactly the domestic economy will gain from it. “If there were any such benefits they would undoubtedly be presented to the public,” writes the paper. “From this standpoint, the secrecy of Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union has no alternative for the authorities. If they objectively analyze things and tell the public what consequences Armenia’s membership in the union will have, they will trigger serious popular resistance.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” reacts to a recent international report claiming that more than $6 billion was illegally siphoned out of Armenia from 2002-2011. The pro-opposition paper finds these claims credible, saying that in per-capita terms the outflow of capital from Armenia was more serious than from neighboring Azerbaijan and Georgia. “Naturally, capital was taken abroad by senior officials and their relatives,” it says. The removed sum could have made a huge difference had it been spent in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, according to “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” condemns opposition criticism of several Armenian actors and intellectuals who held a ceremonial canopy over President Serzh Sarkisian and Catholicos Garegin II after the Christmas Mass in Echmiadzin on January 6. The pro-presidential paper believes that the main target of this “evil” criticism is Sarkisian and Garegin. “On the one hand, it is understandable that some individuals and circles want to use every opportunity to … hit the authorities and the head of state in particular,” it says. “Some of them become ecstatic only after making tart or mocking comments about our church and the Catholicos. But on the other hand, Christmas is not an ordinary occasion [for doing that.]”
“Zhamanak” reports that a former assistant to President Sarkisian, Siranush Sahakian, was appointed on Thursday as chairwoman of the anti-corruption Commission for the Ethics of High-Ranking Officials. The paper says the appointment is largely irrelevant because the commission has already proved to be totally ineffectual. It says the only purpose of the body is help the authorities imitate a fight against corruption.