Mkhitar Mnatsakanian tells “Aravot” that he resigned as labor and social affairs minister on Monday because of his “sense of dissatisfaction with my work and its results.” “This step was not a decision taken by a desperate official,” he says. “It’s a decision made by an experienced individual who has not yet lost his analytical abilities and has a bit of a self-critical look at he has or has not done.” Mnatsakanian says his area of responsibility has “enormous complications and specificities” and requires not only sufficient government funding but also “skilled cadres with modern thinking and perhaps radical structural reforms.”
Mnatsakanian also denies having any disagreements with Gagik Tsarukian, the leader of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) which had handpicked him for the ministerial job last November. “Gagik Tsarukian has been and remains my good friend and partner,” he says.
Speaking to “Zhamanak,” political and military analyst Ruben Mehrabian dismisses calls for Armenia’s pullout from further peace negotiations because of last week’s deadly clash in Nagorno-Karabakh. “I insists that modern-day Armenia has no capacity to withdraw from the negotiations,” he says. “In case of such a development, Armenia will find itself under huge pressure because Armenia’s positions have considerably weakened, especially since [Robert] Kocharian got Karabakh out of the negotiating process … Armenia is weaker both inside and outside the country.” Mehrabian also questions the current Karabakh government’s ability to replace Armenia in the process, saying that it lacks independence and avoids making crucial decisions.
Levon Melik-Shahnazarian, a Yerevan-based Karabakh commentator, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the Armenian side should respond to the Azerbaijani attack with a much deadlier retaliatory strike. “We should have applied that policy after [the 1988 Armenian pogroms] in Sumgait,” he says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian government will discuss on Thursday a list of large companies where the State Revenue Committee (SCR) will have permanent “representatives.” The paper says a draft list proposed by the SCR includes 24 firms, among them those owned by “oligarch” Samvel Aleksanian as well as the country’s leading tobacco and alcohol manufacturers and importers. It claims that the measure is aimed at not combating tax evasion but making it easier for the authorities to “control Armenia’s black budget.”