(Saturday, February 18)
“Zhamanak” reports on Defense Minister Vigen Sargsian’s participation in an annual conference on international security held in Munich, Germany. The paper says Sargsian is making the first trip abroad in his capacity as the top election candidate of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) close to President Serzh Sarkisian. “It is not yet known what concrete plans Serzh Sarkisian has regarding Vigen Sargsian,” it says, suggesting that the later could become the president’s success or act as a “counterweight” to Prime Minister Karen Karapetian.
“Zhoghovurd” accuses Artur Baghdasarian and his Armenian Revival (formerly Orinats Yerkir) party of misleading voters and giving them “false promises” in the unfolding parliamentary race. The paper says Baghdasarian’s latest ruse is that Armenia has untapped oil and gas reserves which will be developed if Armenian Revival comes to power. “One can only guess why Artur Baghdasarian did not speak about that when he was in government,” it says.
“Hraparak” says the HHK’s electoral list “betrays Serzh Sarkisian’s taste, worldview and principles.” “Especially by looking into the top ten candidates on the list, one can presume who the current president of Armenia is and what preferences he has,” comments the paper. “If we go through the list, we will see that he likes eloquent persons who do nothing and imitate hard work, persons who are great specialists of demagoguery and have a unique ability to emerge unscathed from any trouble. He also loves modest and obedient people utterly loyal to him.”
Interviewed by “168 Zham,” historian Areg Galstian claims that Armenia has ceded a part of its sovereignty to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) but gets nothing in return. He criticizes the Armenian authorities for this alleged fact.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says analysts are baffled by official figures showing that the total amount of loan portfolios of Armenian commercial banks rose by $1 billion last year. The paper sees no indications that this much money was injected into the Armenian economy in 2016. “It’s not quite clear what happened to that money,” it writes. “A small part of it was spent on consumption in the form of consumer loans … There is a view that a much larger sum was simply taken out of Armenia and invested in other countries.”