(Saturday, March 21)
“Zhoghovurd” comments on President Serzh Sarkisian’s criticism of Russian arms deliveries to Azerbaijan. “Why hasn’t he dared to object to the Russians before?” asks the paper. “The Russian side did what it wanted to with Serzh Sarkisian, and yet he did not dare to voice the slightest complaint.” The paper speculates that Sarkisian is now openly critical of Moscow because he has just neutralized the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) and Armenian National Congress (HAK) and no longer fears Russian support for his main political opponents. “Time will tell how the Russian side will react to his current behavior,” it adds.
“These public actions are just primitive public relations ploys,” “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” writes on the same subject. “They are stage-managed for Europe in order to clinch support for [Sarkisian’s] constitutional reforms.”
“The authorities want to bring money from Europe and avoid annoying Russia until they see the outcome of the West-Russia standoff,” “Zhamanak” claims for his part. The paper at the same time sees a lack of clarity in Yerevan’s latest overtures to the European Union.
“Hraparak” complains that in his attack on the BHK launched last month President Serzh Sarkisian implicitly alleged tax evasion by Gagik Tsarukian but said nothing about other tycoons who have also enjoyed privileged treatment by the government. “Who is to blame for the fact that rumors [about Tsarukian’s] tax evasion were ignored by law-enforcement authorities? And why?”
Aram Sarkisian, the leader of the opposition Hanrapetutyun (Republic), tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that opposition forces are wrong to discuss the constitutional reform with Sarkisian because “the electoral system does not function in Armenia and nobody trusts it.” “The constitution is the country’s number one document and we believe that it is wrong to amend it in the absence of such trust,” he says.
“168 Zham” rings alarm bells over official statistics showing a sharp drop in Armenia’s exports and imports in January and February 2015. “Such indicators were last registered during the 2009 recession,” explains the paper. It sees growing signs of another recession in the country. It says this might explain why the Armenian government issued more Eurobonds worth $500 million.