(Saturday, August 20)
“Hraparak” suggests that after years of imitating a fight against corruption the Armenian government has “finally understood that the lack of real anti-corruption efforts hits the prestige of the country and makes them look ludicrous.” “Perhaps international organizations have also made it clear that they will no longer be deceived by the promises of the Armenian government to reduce corruption. And potential investors have surely explained that until corruption is reduced and a competitive environment for business is created in the country, no one will invest in Armenia or create jobs here. On the other hand, there is probably also discontent among some of the elites who have no access to public funds to misappropriate them,” the paper writes.
“Aravot” runs on its front page a photograph of expensive cars with state license plates parked outside the government building: “This luxury is particularly striking against the background of citizens conducting protests in front of the government offices on the days of the government sessions… The instruction of the prime minister for the expenses on official vehicles to be reduced has fallen on deaf ears. Officials are not ready to give up their expensive, luxury cars maintained at the expense of taxpayers. Only disused, malfunctioning and unattractive cars have been reduced from the car fleet.”
Lragir.am draws its readers’ attention to the statement by Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Minister Levon Mnatsakanian that the concept of “security zone” no longer exists. According to the online paper, the Karabakh official made that statement at a meeting with senior army officers. “After the April war, the Armenian side has carried out tremendous work on reinforcing and technically reequipping its positions at the line of contact, which currently allows it to carry out intelligence activities even behind the enemy lines... Azerbaijan is doing the same work on its part... In fact, Karabakh and Azerbaijan “at their own expense” have installed at the boundary the “mechanisms of investigation” that the United States suggested should be put in place. Perhaps it was a kind of “compromise” between the leading powers and the conflicting sides when the parties to the conflict themselves keep the peace, without burdening the mediating nations with political and financial “expenses” and differences,” it writes.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes Russian expert Vladimir Yevseyev, who heads the Commonwealth of Independent States division at the Caucasus Institute, as noting the timing of the news about plans of Armenia and Russia to sign an agreement on the establishment of a joint group of military forces coinciding with the start of Russian arms deliveries as part of a $200 million loan agreed last year. Yevseyev, however, downplays concerns that Russia could somehow prevent Armenia from organizing the defense of Nagorno-Karabakh. “I simply cannot understand such opinions. Russia cannot even force Armenia to hand over to Azerbaijan some territories currently under Karabakh’s control. Not to mention forcing Stepanakert. It is the parties to the conflict that must negotiate and agree. It means that such fears are misplaced,” the expert says.