“Zhoghovurd” reports on the passage by the Armenian parliament of a controversial government bill that will introduce a new tax for compensating the families of soldiers killed or gravely wounded in action. The paper says that Defense Minister Vigen Sargsian did not bother to hold public discussions on the bill before submitting it to the National Assembly. It says that Sargsian organized such a discussion with media and civil society representatives only after meeting with stronger-than-expected resistance from the opposition minority in the National Assembly.
“Zhamanak,” meanwhile, continues to express concern over Armenia’s and Russia’s plans to sign a new agreement on their joint military force. “Why does Russia need [such an agreement] now?” writes the paper. “That it was initiated by Russia is clear from the reaction of the Armenian side, which is awaiting proposals from Russia … If Russia wants to defend Armenia it has many other possibilities and legal obligations to do that.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” quotes President Serzh Sarkisian as telling a state-run Russian news agency that the onus is on Turkey to normalize its relations with Armenia. “In that sense nothing depends on us,” he said. Sarkisian also argued that “any wedding or marriage requires mutual consent.” The paper criticizes the president for comparing Turkish-Armenian relations to a family dispute. “Armenia’s status in those relations, as defined by Serzh Sarkisian, is very worrisome,” it says.
“Hraparak” complains that Sarkisian divulges details of the Karabakh peace process in interviews with foreign media outlets, rather than Armenian news organizations. The paper says that his interview with the Russia Today news agency was no exception.