“Zhamanak” comments on the 16th anniversary of a Russian-mediated truce that stopped the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. “When we try to take an in-depth look at the past 16 years, we see that the most noticeable thing has been a loss of time,” writes the pro-opposition paper. “When we make a purely physical comparison, it would appear that there have been substantial changes in the positive sense. The energy crisis [in Armenia] has been overcome, the economy, for all its shortcomings, has started more or less working, jobs have been created, the country’s external appearance has changed, nice buildings have been constructed and so on.” But things are less rosy on closer inspection, adds the paper. It says that Armenia was “much more self-confident and stronger” in 1994.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” carries a front-page picture of Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian and Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader Gagik Tsarukian jointly inaugurating a new agricultural production facility in the town of Artashat on Tuesday. The pro-opposition daily notes that the two men stood together and smiled just weeks after Tsarukian publicly attacked one of Sarkisian’s close associates, Trade and Economic Development Minister Nerses Yeritsian. It believes that their joint appearance was orchestrated by the parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian, who lives and holds sway in the Artashat area.
Another opposition paper, “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun,” reports on alleged disagreements between the BHK and President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). It quotes a parliament deputy from the HHK, Rafik Petrosian, as saying on Tuesday that there no such disagreements “as yet.” “But if there is some conflict, if, for example, the BHK demands the prime minister’s resignation, in that case the Republican Party will prevail in all government structures,” said Petrosian. The paper says the real conflicting parties would be not the two parties, but President Sarkisian and his predecessor Robert Kocharian. “And the main prize would be the post of president, rather than prime minister,” it concludes.
“Aravot” comments on a “great disparity” between the Armenian government’s pledges to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and its real actions. The paper editorializes that local SMEs have hardly benefited from foreign donor assistance to Armenia which was supposed to be used for their development and expansion. It says they are being increasingly squeezed out by “oligarchic monopolies.” It says the government continues to target SMEs in its crackdowns on tax evasion.