In an interview with “Hraparak,” Karen Karapetian, the former chief of President Serzh Sarkisian’s staff, criticizes new and controversial tax regulations that have been introduced by the Armenian authorities for small businesses. “It is evident that there is a problem and it must definitely be discussed and solved,” says Karapetian, who is now a parliament deputy. He believes that it is “inadmissible” to fight against large-scale tax evasion through the owners of market stalls and other small firms. “With this legal measure we are effectively provoking a conflict between big and small businesses through placing the main [tax] burden on small and medium-sized enterprises,” he says.
“If we look at the economic dynamics of the last ten years we will see that as a result of incorrect economic policies many representatives of small and medium-sized businesses have been engulfed by big entities,” continues Karapetian. “What is more, inadmissible monopolies have been formed in some sectors. Representatives of small and medium-sized businesses may now find themselves in a new meat grinder.”
“Zhamanak” says that the authorities will finally neutralize businessman and Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader Gagik Tsarukian only if he runs in and loses a presidential election. The paper claims that not only President Serzh Sarkisian but also his two predecessors, Robert Kocharian and Levon Ter-Petrosian, would now like to “get rid of Tsarukian.”
Citing the newly publicized accession treaty with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that Armenia will be able not to raise import duties for hundreds of types of goods for only several years. The pro-opposition paper considers this another proof that membership in the EU cannot earn Armenia significant economic benefits. “We have simply found ourselves in a self-imposed captivity and are asking [the captors] not to immediately beat us up,” it says.
“Aravot” reports that Armenia is 78th in the latest global press freedom rankings released by the Paris-based group Reporters Without Borders. The country occupied 74th place in last year’s survey. “It is only natural that Armenia’s indicators have worsened,” comments the paper. “There are two main reasons for that. The first one is Armenian court rulings obligating two media outlets to disclose the sources of their information despite the fact that the need for that is not substantiated in any way … The second reason for the drop in our indicators of press freedom is law-enforcers’ more frequent attacks on journalists.”