Armenian newspapers comment on the intensifying war of words between Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian and former President Robert Kocharian.
“Of course, what Robert Kocharian is saying of Tigran Sarkisian is true, but there are so many truths in the world which Kocharian does not mention aloud for some reason,” writes “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun.” “So it’s not that Kocharian is an inherent truth teller who becomes restless the moment he sees something bad. If he was, he would tell the full truth about the March 1 [2008 post-election killings] and the last three elections. Are Robert Kocharian’s interviews the result of concern for the country’s future? This is obviously the least plausible variant. The phrases ‘Robert Kocharian’ and ‘concern for the country’s fate’ are incompatible.”
“We are not saying that Kocharian does not love his fatherland,” continues “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun. “He certainly does … But a man concerned about his country would not have made a fortune worth the country’s annual budget during his tenure.”
“Aravot” says Kocharian’s angry statements mean that the ex-president turned a blind eye to the fact that the Armenian Central Bank was headed by a highly incompetent and dishonest person (Tigran Sarkisian) during his 1998-2008 presidency. By the same token, it says, Sarkisian did not dare to speak out against Armenia’s “construction bubble” in that period. “Only now are they discovering just how monstrous their teammates were and how titanic their efforts to correct their mistakes were. Robert Kocharian is certainly right to say that our state institutions are discredited. Let’s leave aside the question of who, when and how much contributed to that discrediting.”
“Zhamanak” describes the bitter verbal exchange as “pathetic” and “ridiculous.” “They are discussing economic policy in a country where economics essentially boils down to seizing power,” claims the paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says Tigran Sarkisian is right to claim that the Armenian economy grew disproportionately dependent on a booming construction sector in 2005-2008. Citing “unofficial estimates,” the paper says that as much as $8 billion was pumped into the sector in those years. “As a result of that, the center of Yerevan was defaced with glitzy ‘elite buildings’ that remain mostly deserted to this day. Other sectors of the economy badly lacked investments. When that construction boom ended and the world plunged into the 2008-2009 crisis our economy literally crumbled.”
Speaking to “Hayots Ashkhar,” a well-known member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), Lernik Aleksanian, finds “natural and understandable” efforts by the main opposition forces to exploit a controversial pension reform for a joint fight against government. But he is confident that they will fail to mobilize a strong popular movement for regime change.