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“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” criticizes Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remark that Turkey could play a “positive role” in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. The remark is construed by the paper as a sign that Russia’s and Turkey’s positions on the conflict’s resolution have again become very similar. “Russia is very well aware of Turkey’s attitude to the resolution of the Karabakh problem,” it says.

“Zhoghovurd” comments on the Armenian government’s plans to criminalize false reports of electoral fraud as part of its amendments to the Electoral Code agreed with the parliamentary opposition. The paper voices serious concern at this measure, saying that most Armenians “will now not dare to report even blatant vote irregularities for fear of finding themselves in a position of scapegoats.” “After all, it’s no secret to anyone that in our reality our citizens often prefer to ignore crimes witnessed by them because they have no guarantees that they will not be hassled or bullied by law-enforcement bodies in case of reporting them,” it says, adding that the Armenian authorities are also keen to “muzzle” election monitors and media.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that Armenia’s government will have to spend more and more budgetary funds on debt servicing in the coming years. The paper expects “drastic” reductions in government spending on social programs, education and healthcare because of that. “Is this a default or not?” it asks. “According to the classical definition [of this term,] this is not a default as the country continues to repay its foreign and internal debts. But at what cost? We may not be risking a classical default but a situation close to an economic disaster is very likely. And that situation could be even worse than a default.”

(Anush Mkrtchian)

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