“Zhamanak” says that the Armenian ministries of local government, education and economy will be “beyond the control” of Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian because they are now headed by senior members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun). “If we add to this the fact that right from the beginning he has had no control over the ministries of foreign affairs, defense, and finance we can conclude that with the signing of the Dashnaktsutyun-HHK pact a considerable part of the government is being placed out of the prime minister’s control,” comments the paper. This is why, it says, Abrahamian did not look happy when he attended the signing of that accord and introduced the three Dashnaktsutyun ministers to their senior staff this week.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” quotes the new Education Minister Levon Mkrtchian as saying that partisan affiliations of directors of Armenia’s public schools (many of them are HHK members) are of “secondary importance” to him. “This matter may indeed be secondary for Levon Mkrtchian, but it is definitely not secondary for the HHK-affiliated principals,” writes the paper. It claims that many of them will now seek to demonstrate their loyalty to Dashnaktsutyun as well.
“Aravot” comments on the scandal sparked by the arrest and alleged ill-treatment of independent anti-government activist Vardges Gaspari. The paper dismisses the argument that Gaspari’s allegations should not be taken seriously because of his frequently eccentric behavior and statements. It believes that he was indeed assaulted by his cellmates in Yerevan’s Nubarashen prison. “The problem with Gaspari is that he wants to live, both in freedom and in jail, under the laws of Armenia and does not adapt to the existing situation,” it says. “Such behavior is particularly dangerous in a prison cell. The Gaspari case demonstrates that [government] stooges … are bigger criminal elements than imprisoned convicts.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports on the Armenian government’s decision on Thursday to stop collecting value-added tax (VAT) from cars imported from Russia and other members of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). The paper says the move came shortly after a senior official from the EEU’s executive body warned that the taxation violates the bloc’s trade rules. “One should assume that the Armenian government has faced some pressure from upper EEU echelons,” it says.