“Zhamanak” plays down the political significance of the power-sharing agreement signed by President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) on Wednesday. “Judging from their memorandum, HHK-Dashnaktsutyun agreements are not complete,” writes the paper. It notes that the document is “devoid of any specifics in terms of not only problems identified by it but also their solutions.”
“168 Zham” says that the HHK hopes to use the deal for extending its grip on power while Dashnaktsutyun is anxious to secure seats in Armenia’s next parliament by again aligning itself with Sarkisian. “In other words, the agreement reached by the two parties is not so much about the current as the future distribution of power,” writes the paper. It says the deal is based on the common understanding that the HHK’s victory in the May 2017 parliamentary elections is a forgone conclusion. Neither the HHK nor Dashnaktsutyun is committed to making those elections free and fair, it says.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” blasts Dashnaktsutyun leader Armen Rustamian’s criticism of cynical media coverage of his party’s dealings with the HHK and his claims that Dashnaktsutyun decided to rejoin the government for purely altruistic reasons. “Mr. Rustamian need not worry about the mental state of the media,” says the pro-opposition paper. “If would have been a different matter if the press had taken the HHK-Dashnaktsutyun cooperation seriously and really believed that the Dashnaks are doing that for the sake of the fatherland. The mental state of the media would have been really worrisome in that case.”
“Zhoghovurd” dismisses as “baseless” Azerbaijan’s protests against Russia’s plans to sell $200 million worth of weapons to Armenia. The paper points out that Baku itself has purchased large amounts of Russian offensive weapons worth about $5 billion in the last few years. It also notes disapprovingly that Yerevan sent no protest notes to Moscow in connection with the Russian-Azerbaijani arms contracts.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports on a “silent struggle” between Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian and Finance Minister Gagik Khachatrian over tax breaks sought by the Ucom company, one of Armenia’s largest Internet and telecommunication service providers reputedly controlled by Khachatrian. “Khachatrian is seeking to clinch such privileges from the government for the company owned by his relatives, whereas Abrahamian is using the issue to keep his rival in check,” says the paper.