(Saturday, January 16)
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” comments on the continuing arrests of people as part of a criminal investigation into what Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) calls high-profile assassinations that were planned by a large group of nationalist activists. The paper says the NSS’s reluctance to shed more light on the case is only raising more questions about the official theory. It also accuses the NSS of having a “selective” approach to threats to Armenia’s national security. “For example, falsification of elections and formation of a government as a result of that is a grave crime directed at national security. But have you ever heard that the NSS has solved such a crime?” it asks.
“Zhamanak” says this mysterious criminal case is having a growing influence on political developments in the country. The paper says that the lack of information about the arrests only aggravates the threat of politically motivated violence.
“Aravot” is unconvinced by official Armenian explanations for pro-Azerbaijani resolutions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that are expected to be passed by the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) later this month. The paper says that even if the authors of those resolutions were bribed or influenced otherwise by Azerbaijan, members of the Armenian delegation at the PACE did not necessarily do everything to scuttle them. “Azerbaijan is our enemy and it will therefore save no effort to harm us on all fronts,” it says in an editorial. “What steps is our Foreign Ministry taking in response to that?” The paper believes that Baku would not have been in a position to push through such resolutions had Armenia been a more democratic state.
“Hraparak” reports that Zaven Mirijanian, the only election official arrested in connection with the December 6 constitutional referendum in Armenia, has been released from jail after receiving a suspended 2-year sentence for attempting to bribe an opposition colleague. “With that case, the prosecutors were trying to create an illusion that they are fighting against electoral crimes for the sake of a legitimate referendum,” says the paper. In the end, it says, the authorities avoided imprisoning even a single person in order to prove their commitment to combat electoral fraud.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that the renewed depreciation of the Russian ruble will have a negative impact on the economic situation in Armenia. The paper argues that Russia is the main source of remittances from Armenian migrant workers. It notes that unlike the ruble, the Armenian dram has not weakened against the U.S. dollar in recent weeks. “Many economists think that the dram’s stable exchange rate is artificial,” it says.