Lragir.am carries a commentary on the 23rd anniversary of the Declaration of Independence that was adopted by Armenia’s first freely elected parliament. “The past years have not seen the creation of the political, economic and moral foundations that would have made independent statehood irreversible,” writes the online journal. “The public and political life in Armenia has followed the path of degradation under successive governments. A criminal-oligarchic system has been formed. It has usurped all political and economic levers in the country, turned state institutions and political parties into servants of its interests. They have destroyed electoral mechanisms for the formation of the government, stripping the public of its legitimate rights and obligations.”
“For the past 22 years we have more or less succeeded in avoiding a clear choice, presenting us as a loyal ally to Russia and a carrier of the European value system to the West. But our time is now up,” writes “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun.” The paper says Armenia has to make a critical choice by November: whether or not to finalize an Association Agreement with the European Union. “And yet our main political forces have gone underground,” it complains. “They are completely silent. Even the [ruling] HHK is sending contradictory signals.” The pro-opposition daily says they are reserving judgment on the matter because “expressing a clear opinion would mean angering either Russia or the West.”
Political scientist Aleksandr Markarov tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the Association Agreement stems from Armenia’s national interests. Russia is protecting its interests in the same fashion, including through cooperation with Azerbaijan, Markarov says. “The free-trade agreement [with the EU] would enable us to make our products more competitive by bringing them into conformity with European standards,” he says.
“Hraparak” quotes Gevorg Dosturian, a civic activist, as saying that the Armenian authorities are turning a blind eye to thousands of “illegal taxis.” “There are more illegal taxis than legal ones,” he claims. “Cab drivers are complaining about that.” He says Transport Minister Gagik Beglarian acknowledged this problem and pledged to address it early this year.