“Zhamanak” reports that businessman Gagik Tsarukian inaugurated on Wednesday a seventh church built by him during a ceremony attended by President Serzh Sarkisian and other dignitaries. The paper denounces the joint public appearance of the two men as a “cynical act of national unity” aimed at showing disdain for ordinary Armenians and their socioeconomic woes.
“Aravot” scoffs at “yet another church built by yet another rich man,” saying that there were more bodyguards than ordinary believers during the church’s consecration in the town of Nor Hachin. The paper also hits out at Catholicos Garegin II’s remark at the ceremony that “spiritual food” like a Christian worship site is critical for the material well-being of the population. “Does a ‘flavored’ event like that strengthen faith? I don’t think so,” writes its editor-in-chief, Aram Abrahamian. “Because believing, loving or empathizing does not mean building a church.”
“Zhoghovurd” says the package of constitutional changes drafted by an Armenian presidential commission is full of controversial provisions that could create additional obstacles to Armenia’s democratization. One of them, according to the paper, is a clause giving the state more powers to deprive people of their life. “There is no need to explain why this is a disgraceful step back,” it says, backing opposition claims that the authorities are keen to legitimize the use of lethal force against dissent.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” is worried about the fact that there have been no high-level Iranian-Armenian intergovernmental contacts since Iran and six world powers reached a landmark agreement on Tehran’s controversial nuclear program. “Serzh Sarkisian has not phoned [his Iranian counterpart] Hassan Rouhani and the latter has not phoned Serzh Sarkisian either,” writes the paper. “Nor has Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian communicated with any member of the Iranian government. Neither the foreign minister nor the parliament speaker of Armenia has contacted his Iranian counterpart. One certainly cannot call this a great tragedy, but against the backdrop of major changes in the region the Armenian-Iranian silence is kind of depressing.”