Philip Duncombe, a representative of an international anti-graft watchdog, tells “168 Zham” that he sees growing public awareness in Armenia of official corruption and its negative effects on the country. He suggests that the conspicuous wealth of some officials is only contributing to that trend.
Lragir.am reports on renewed street protests staged by hundreds of employees of the Nairit chemical company demanding their back wages and condemning mass layoffs ordered by the company’s management. “The problem has long transformed from being purely economic and political into criminal,” writes the online journal. “It is now becoming a humanitarian issue.” It says that as much as $15 million is needed for eliminating the wage arrears. “This may be a lot of money for the state budget but for Armenia’s millionaire or billionaire rulers … $15 million is a pittance. Especially compared with that those rulers have misappropriated in Armenia for the past two decades.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” reports that on the 26th anniversary of Armenia’s catastrophic 1988 earthquake President Serzh Sarkisian visited the resort town of Tsaghkadzor, instead of touring the regions devastated by the calamity and laying wreathes at memorials to its victims. “Naturally, he could not have given answers to hundreds of families who are still homeless and huddle in shacks,” comments the paper.
Aram Safarian, a political analyst and former parliamentarian, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that Armenia could and should draw major economic dividends from its impending accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). He says that could help the Armenian government create a “new atmosphere of public enthusiasm.” “We have a unique historical chance to take advantage of a 175 million-strong market,” adds the pro-Russian pundit. “Azerbaijan is well aware of that. That is why it has tried hard to hamper our membership … I can say for certain that by the end of 2015 we will feel the substantial and tangible benefits of joining the EEU.”
(Lusine Musayelian and Hovannes Shoghikian)