“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the appreciation of the Armenian national currency, the dram, observed in recent days calls into question the Central Bank’s assurances that its hard currency interventions in the local market are only aimed at preventing exchange rate fluctuations. The paper says the Central Bank steps in only when the dram weakens against the U.S. dollar and other major currencies. Furthermore, it accuses the bank of doing everything to “depreciate” the value of dollar savings which Armenians have begun to spend on New Year’s and Christmas celebrations.
“Zhamanak” challenges the notion that for the Armenian side Nagorno-Karabakh’s future status is the most important issue in the peace talks with Azerbaijan. The paper says in an editorial that “the issue of liberated territories” around Karabakh is even more important. “If they fall beyond Armenian control, then an atmosphere of temporariness will hang over any status of Karabakh and suppress the Armenians,” it claims. “For the Armenian side, the liberated territories are the basis of both physical security and moral upswing.”
Zhirayr Sefilian, a nationalist opposition politician, questions the opposition credentials of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) in an interview with “Aravot.” “How can there be an opposition force with its own TV station in our country?” argues Sefilian. “I will believe that Dashnaktsutyun has become a real opposition force only on the day when we hear that Yerkir-Media [television] is closed down.” The Karabakh war veteran also argues that the Dashnaktsutyun-controlled channel did not cover protests staged by his Miatsum movement against the Turkish-Armenian agreements and the Armenian government’s readiness to make territorial concessions to Azerbaijan.
Speaking to “Hayots Ashkhar,” Galust Sahakian, the parliamentary leader of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), criticizes HHK lawmakers who signed a petition urging President Serzh Sarkisian to free opposition politician Sasun Mikaelian. He says they have also been “condemned” by the HHK’s governing Council. “In essence, what happened was the result of a deliberate political provocation,” adds Sahakian.
“Hraparak” comments on the prosecution of two officials from the State Labor Inspectorate accused of extorting petty bribes from two restaurants in Vanadzor. The National Security Service (NSS) spent about seven months investigating what the paper sarcastically calls “the crime of the century.” “They will try this two wretched inspectors and then present that as a big achievement of the fight against corruption in our country. Nobody will ask why the two Vanadzor residents took the money and jeopardized their lives in the first place.”