(Saturday, January 11)
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” questions the credibility of government data showing that more Armenians returned to the country than left it by air in 2013. The paper attributes the alleged data manipulation to Armenia’s upcoming accession to the Russian-led Customs Union. It claims that the Armenian authorities are restoring Soviet and Russian “traditions” of fraudulent statistics.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that Armenians are only now beginning to feel the effects of more expensive gas and electricity. “As if this was not known, public transport will also become 50 percent more expensive soon,” writes the paper. Citing the chairman of an Armenian business association, it says that the prices of dairy products will also go up by as much as 30-40 percent soon.
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” Armen Martirosian, the deputy chairman of the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, downplays a series of resignations that took place within the party’s parliamentary faction in late 2013. “I don’t know what factors affected those personal decisions. “My colleagues say that they resulted from purely personal considerations and we must respect their decision.” Martirosian insists that “nothing extraordinary” has happened in Zharangutyun. “There are no problems in Zharangutyun,” he says.
“Zhamanak” quotes U.S. analyst Sabine Freizer as saying that Armenia will continue serving as a Russian “outpost” in the region. She says that Russia’s decreased influence in Azerbaijan is “worrisome” in terms of regional security. Russia’s growing military cooperation with Armenia means that Moscow is increasingly becoming a party to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, she says.