(Saturday, February 4)
“Zhamanak” denounces the arrest of journalist Hayk Gevorgian as “the latest gauntlet thrown at the Armenian media community.” “Instead of trying to make the media bankrupt [with libel suits] this time around, they are forcing the police to expose their bankruptcy by arresting Hayk on charges that are so unfounded and ludicrous that if they were assigned to kindergarten children they would undoubtedly refuse to make themselves the subjects of ridicule with such nonsensical steps,” writes the paper. It says the case has also “unmasked” the true face of Vladimir Gasparian, the recently appointed chief of the Armenian police.
“Yerkir” says Armenians are being persistently told that the government is doing even the impossible for them and that they should appreciate these favors. In that context, the paper attacks government claims that Armenia emerged fro the 2009 recession with “minimal losses.”
Tigran Urikhanian, a senior member of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that BHK deputy Vartan Bostanjian expressed only his personal opinion when he said recently that the party will support President Serzh Sarkisian in the 2013 presidential election. Urikhanian says the BHK will voice its position on the issue only after the official nomination of presidential candidates.
Speaking to “168 Zham,” former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian again criticizes the February 2011 declaration in which Armenia’s three governing parties pledged not to seek to change their “correlation of forces” in the 2012 parliamentary elections. Oskanian considers that clause “undemocratic.” “In effect, with that memorandum they decide what choice the people should make,” says Oskanian. “But it’s the people who should decide whom to vote for.” He says that representatives Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenian (HHK) have therefore no moral right to accuse the BHK and its leader, Gagik Tsarukian, of not honoring that document.
“Aravot” quotes former Prime Minister Hrant Bagratian as dismissing Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s latest pledges to fight poverty by improving people’s access to higher education. Bagratian says the examples of other former Soviet republics such as Latvia and Ukraine disprove Sarkisian’s claims that poverty rates are much lower among families headed by men with university degrees. “Compared with Ukraine, the proportion of people who graduated from university is three times lower in Japan. But the poverty rate in Japan is only 4 percent,” he says. Bagratian claims that the only way to overcome poverty is to raise taxes for the rich.