Writing in his newspaper, “Haykakan Zhamanak” editor Nikol Pashinian says former President Serzh Sarkisian realizes that a dialogue with the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) and his failure to negotiate with the HAK are both fraught with serious dangers. “The regime is obviously unwilling to engage in dialogue, mindful of its consequences for the future of the government pyramid,” writes Pashinian. “Nor is it able to explicitly renounce dialogue.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” comments on the ongoing exodus of dissident members from the Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh), one of about two dozen opposition groups making up the HAK. The pro-presidential paper claims that the HHSh is “falling apart.” “One can imagine what will happen in the run-up to the next elections,” it says. “If even the HHSh is falling apart, it’s hard to tell who many other HAK forces will continue their victorious march with [Levon] Ter-Petrosian in the pre-election period.”
“Yerkir” looks at the political culture that has taken hold in Armenia in the last two decades. The paper says that virtually all political forces that have emerged since the country won independence are “authoritarian” ones. “That manifests itself not only through the extreme egocentric character of those forces … but also through the elimination of internal pluralism or its transformation into a formality,” writes the paper linked with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun). “So naturally, those forces turn their internal practices into a governance culture when they come to power.”
“Aravot” quotes Germany’s Ambassador to Armenia Hans-Jochen Schmidt as expressing concern about recent court rulings against Armenian newspapers accused of libel. He describes the rulings as “deadly” blows to those newspapers. Schmidt says this shows that contrary to government assurances amendments to Armenian media legislation enacted last year could limit press freedom in the country.
“Hraparak” notes that many of the letters it receives from readers are anonymous. “One of our permanent letter writers, for example, constantly worries about whether or not it is technically possible to identify him, whether or not we will denounce him,” editorializes the paper. “Even after numerous assurances people don’t believe that they won’t be exposed … When did this situation arise? Because of whom? Why?”
“Kapital” says that government efforts to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are not producing results expected by the authorities. “Particularly serious problems are created by a tough tax administration, unfavorable conditions for competition, pressure from big business and weak innovation signals to small business,” says the paper.