“Armenia’s authorities should either radically reconsider their policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement process or admit their ineptness and resign because they are failing to fully ensure citizens’ security,” “Zhamanak” writes, commenting on continuing casualties suffered by Armenian soldiers and civilians in the conflict zone.
“Aravot” says the Armenian authorities have been exploiting the notion of law and order to restrict freedom of assembly and, in particular, ban opposition rallies in Yerevan’s Liberty Square. “Usually, people having dictatorial tendencies understand law and order in a peculiar way, as a license to suppress any dissent,” editorializes the paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reacts to Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s complaints that some state procurements are carried out at disproportionately high prices despite being the result of supposedly competitive tenders. “This is absolutely true and even schoolchildren in Armenia know about that,” comments the paper. “Schoolchildren also know that by buying expensive goods [for the state] with [foreign] loans, our officials misappropriate large, very large sums. And that is a well-established mechanism. But unlike the schoolchildren, the prime minister thinks that the purchase of expensive goods with credit resources is not aimed at embezzlement and is simply the consequence of some officials’ unprofessional and negligent approach.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” also points out that Armenia has borrowed about $1.5 billion from various foreign sources in the last three years alone. “You will now understand how the gilded villas that belong to various officials earning 300,000-600,000 drams a month have been constructed in the most prestigious parts of the city,” it says.
“Yerkir” reports that the pro-government majority in the Armenian parliament on Thursday blocked an opposition bill that would raise the national minimum wage from 32,500 drams to 62,600 drams ($167). That is the monthly cost of the basic consumer basket in the country calculated by the National Statistical Service. The paper criticizes the government for opposing the measure on the grounds that the state budge can not finance such a wage increase. It says the government could have a lot more funds at its disposal had it seriously fought against tax evasion and the informal sector of the economy.