“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that the Armenian government is more serious about strengthening the rule of law and streamlining its expenditures this time around because of the real threat of a war in Nagorno-Karabakh. The paper suggests that the government is keen to free up more budgetary funds for the armed forces. President Serzh Sarkisian and his government, it says, realize that serious military setbacks in Karabakh would jeopardize their hold on power. “In the last 25 years, there have been two regime changes in Armenia and Karabakh was instrumental in both cases,” concludes the pro-opposition daily.
“Zhamanak” also reacts to Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian’s pledge to liberalize lucrative imports of commodities and consumer goods to Armenia. Abrahamian has claimed at the same time that there are no legal economic monopolies operating in Armenia. “Hovik Abrahamian is engaged in primitive manipulation because nobody has claimed that the government has granted [oligarch] Samvel Aleksanian a monopoly on some goods,” comments the paper. “He has a de facto monopoly and is therefore exempt from de jure responsibility. Not only Samvel Aleksanian but also other monopolists.”
“Yesterday the governor of the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA), Artur Javadian, declared in the National Assembly that the proportion of bad loans [in Armenian commercial bank lending] has decreased in the past year,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” The paper challenges this claim saying that that proportion reportedly stood at around 14 percent of as April 1, down from about 9 percent in July last year. “That the CBA governor’s claims do not match facts is not that terrible,” it says. “What is terrible is that a huge number of debtors are unable to repay their debts. That means their businesses are effectively dead despite the government boasting that our economy grew by 3 percent [in 2015.]”