(Saturday, March 19)
Interviewed by “168 Zham,” Norat Ter-Grigoriants, a retired general who headed the Armenian army’s General Staff from 1992-1995 and now lives in Russia, says that Armenia must object more strongly to Russian arms deliveries to Azerbaijan. “A strategic ally provides offensive weapons and ammunition to its ally’s enemy,” says Ter-Grigoriants. He suggests that the authorities in Yerevan may be too “shy” to adequately voice their concerns to the Russians.
“Zhamanak” reports on the upcoming mayoral election in the central town of Hrazdan which has triggered friction between the opposition Civil Contract an Armenian National Congress (HAK) parties. Nikol Pashinian and other Civil Contract leaders have criticized the HAK for its reluctance to cede its election commission seats in Hrazdan to Sasun Mikaelian, the mayoral candidate nominated by Pashinian’s party. The paper says that the row between the two opposition groups might be a taste of things to come in next year’s parliamentary elections.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” quotes Vahram Baghdasarian, the parliamentary leader of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), as praising a number of controversial HHK deputies who regularly cause scandals with their statements and actions. Baghdasarian describes them as “practical men” complementing “theoreticians” in the National Assembly. The pro-opposition paper ridicules these remarks.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that under a new draft Tax Code currently discussed by the Armenian government all manufacturers and retailers will have to stamp special tax labels on virtually all goods sold in Armenia. This is supposed to prevent tax evasion among them. The paper believes that such a requirement would eliminate only a “negligible part of the shadow economy” in the country. “The bulk of tax evasion in our economy occurs in a totally different place, and it is not going to be covered by the stamps,” it says. In particular, the paper points to “huge” tax evasion in the mining and construction industries.