“Zhamanak” claims that former President Robert Kocharian’s latest statements have left President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) divided. The paper points out that Kocharian’s criticism of the government has prompted strong rebuttals from mostly young HHK figures. “The [HHK] core is essentially silent,” it says. “The few reactions [coming from it] are very restrained, even if they disagree with Kocharian. Young members’ reactions are quite brazen. This means that Serzh Sarkisian has allowed them, but not the core, to be brazen.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that Armenians are increasingly reverting to firewood to heat their homes due to the increased price of natural gas. The paper says this fact is further undermining Armenian government claims that the decision to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will mean cheap gas for Armenia. It goes on to assert that the retail tariff for households is much higher in Armenia than in any of the union’s three member states. “In Armenia, the population pays for the gas three times more than in Russia,” it says, adding that the gas prices in Belarus and Kazakhstan are even lower.
“Zhoghovurd” reports on what it calls a growing emigration of Yezidis, Armenia’s largest ethnic minority. “Whereas in the past they have left Armenia because of having no jobs and living in poor socioeconomic conditions, now these problems are compounded by high utility fees,” writes the paper. It quotes a leader of the Yezidi community, Aziz Tamoyan, as saying that the community has shrunk by half. “People can’t get by,” he says.
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” comments on the government’s decision to allocate 39 million drams ($96,000) to Armenia’s Russian-managed railway network for services provided to Russian troops stationed in the country. “Such a thing can happen only in Armenia,” says the paper. “A Russian company, the South Caucasus Railway, provides services to the Russian army and Armenia pays for that. This scheme is quite common in Russian-Armenian dealings, though.”