“Zhamanak” begins its first 2014 edition with a commentary on the recent war of words between Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian and former President Robert Kocharian. The paper speculates that by mentioning the late Prime Minister Andranik Markarian in his verbal attack on the current premier Kocharian sought to win over many members of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). It says the ex-president effectively told them that Tigran Sarkisian poses a threat to the HHK, rather than his own political plans.
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” quotes former Prime Minister Hrant Bagratian as condemning the government for allowing 11 consecutive non-working days because of the New Year’s and Christmas holidays. The paper says that in fact many Armenians have worked hard during this period. “Shops have been open, cab drivers have worked, public transport has functioned and so on,” it explains. “Only state bodies have not worked. In one way or another, they don’t quite work all year round.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” slams the Armenian authorities for not allowing friends and relatives to visit Shant Harutiunian and 13 other anti-government activists arrested during the November 5 clashes with riot police in Yerevan. The pro-opposition paper considers the ban illegal and outrageous, saying that it is the result of Harutiunian’s allegations that the chief of the Armenian police, Vladimir Gasparian, personally beat him up in custody.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that President Serzh Sarkisian’s key task now is to ensure that his government takes all the measures needed for expediting Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in the coming months. This requires, among other things, the passage of dozens of laws and legal amendments by the National Assembly. The pro-government paper also anticipates fresh domestic political battles in Yerevan in 2014.