(Saturday, March 29)
“Hraparak” lacks trust in the objectivity of Constitutional Court hearings on an opposition appeal against a controversial pension reform implemented by the Armenian government. The paper claims that the court’s chairman, Gagik Harutiunian, and other judges will not be guided by the Armenian constitution when they hand down a ruling on the appeal.
“Hayots Ashkhar” defends the Armenian government’s decision to vote against a UN General Assembly resolution that condemned as illegal Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and absorption into Russia. The pro-government paper dismisses critics’ arguments that Yerevan should have abstained in order to avoid upsetting the West. “The analysts that have added Armenia to their list of ‘rogue states’ are bypassing the list of countries that voted for [the pro-Ukrainian resolution,]” it says. “It comprises many states that are also perceived negatively and are dictatorships known for crimes against humanity.”
“168 Zham” quotes Lilit Gevorgyan, a London-based analyst, as attributing the Armenian vote to Russian pressure on Yerevan and the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “Armenia is regarded as a Russian satellite, and the fact that Armenia does not quite have an independent foreign policy and is simply following Russian policy on this issue is not a revelation for European and U.S. policy-makers,” she says.
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” scoffs at President Serzh Sarkisian’s Friday remarks aimed at justifying a big difference between the retail and wholesale prices of Russian natural gas delivered to Armenia. Sarkisian said the much higher retail price is essential for keeping the national gas distribution network in a good condition.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” is shocked by some Armenian reactions to fighting in Kassab, an Armenian-populated town in Syria. “There are calls for setting up militias and sending them to Kassab,” writes the paper. “What would those militias do in Kassab? Naturally, fight. Against whom? Naturally, against the Turks, al-Qaeda and other groups of this kind. All this is understandable until the basic question is asked: for the sake of what should Armenian squads fight in Kassab?” In that case, the paper says, Armenia would be drawn into “a war which is not Armenia’s,” antagonize much of the Muslim world and become “a potential target of terrorism.”