“Hayots Ashkhar” says the U.S. State Department’s latest criticism of the human rights situation in Armenia was “anticipated” because Washington uses its annual global reports to put pressure on “countries where the USA has vital political interests.” The pro-presidential paper goes on to accuse the Americans of “provoking inter-ethnic feud between Armenians and Yezidis” by reporting instances of alleged discrimination against the latter.
According to “Aravot,” the Armenian government’s “sins” pinpointed in the State Department’s report are “unfortunately petty and primitive.” “They really dispersed an opposition rally with water cannons, beat up journalists a year ago and are not treating homosexuals with due respect. So what?” the paper asks cynically. “All of this is such a minor thing by our domestic standards. Addressing it is simply inappropriate.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” worries that the behavior of Armenia’s governing coalition is now even more unpredictable than that of the opposition. “The opposition has been smart enough to immediately change its offensive tactic, waiting to see how events within the coalition unfold,” writes the paper. No wonder, it says, that many political forces in Armenia are now in a “pre-election mood.” “The coalition itself is to blame for this situation. By bringing its internal issues to the surface, it has created a long row of uncertainties, discontent and unhealthy expectations in the political field with its disorganized work.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says parliamentarians from parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian’s Orinats Yerkir Party subjected the government on Tuesday to a severe criticism that made their opposition colleagues feel “ashamed” of their “weak speeches.” The paper says that they avoided naming anyone because they were pre-warned by Republican lawmakers against launching “improper” personal attacks on Prime Minister Andranik Markarian and other top members of his party. “It is expected that the Republican Party’s riposte will be heard today. The genre of the riposte is being ascertained.”
“Economic growth in Armenia is not accompanied by a shrinkage of the informal sector [of the economy], which puts the country’s security and defense at risk,” writes “Azg.” The paper claims that “there has simply been no positive change in the last four years” and that “we are far from achieving indicators mentioned by President Kocharian.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” sees mounting political tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh in the run-up to this summer’s parliamentary elections. The paper says local pressure groups uniting veterans of the war with Azerbaijan will merge into a single organization soon and back opponents of Karabakh President Arkady Ghukasian. Stepanakert’s Mayor Eduard Aghabekian is seen as their “potential leader.”