“Zhamanak” is highly critical of Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian’s track record. The paper accuses Abrahamian of wasting scarce public funds on expensive limousines and travel expenses, instead of assisting Armenian border regions. “The criminal oligarchy dear to Abrahamian’s heart has been exempted from the need to pay [a special tax] for luxury items,” it says.
“Hraparak” comments scathingly on Abrahamian’s weekend trip to the resort town of Tsaghkadzor where he took part in a pro-government youth camp together with Yerevan Mayor Taron Markarian, Education Minister Armen Ashotian and other senior officials. The paper recalls a scandal that accompanied a ceremony last December during which Markarian received a doctoral degree from a state university in Yerevan. Pro-government students directed by the university administration prevented journalists from covering that event. “Quite naturally, the Tsaghkadzor gathering brought together the kind of young people and students who are ready to fight for the interests of the ruling elite, be it a dissertation defense, an election, an attack on civic activists or something else, at an opportune moment. The authorities, for their part, fiercely defend youths these youths and justify their behavior.”
“Zhoghovurd” reports that Paruyr Hayrikian, a prominent Soviet-era dissident, said on Tuesday that he will go on hunger strike outside the presidential palace in Yerevan on September 8 to demand President Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation. “Achieving regime change through self-destruction is a great sacrifice indeed,” the paper comments tartly. “But one could believe this only if Hayrikian was indeed sincere. This is not necessarily the case because the leader of the National Self-Determination Union had a historic chance to change the course and perhaps the outcome of the February 18, 2013 presidential election. Surely a grave accident happened: he survived an assassination attempt. But at that time everyone from the Nagorno-Karabakh president to oligarchs close to Serzh Sarkisian took turns to visit Hayrikian in hospital and convinced him not to demand a postponement of the presidential election.”
An election delay could have scuttled Sarkisian’s second term in office, claims “Zhoghovurd.” “Given all this, how can we trust in Hayrikian’s sincerity?” it says.