(Saturday, February 13)
The contrast between President Serzh Sarkisian’s declared vision of a future Armenia and the reality could not have been sharper, “168 Zham” says in an analysis of his latest extensive speech delivered on Friday. “If Serzh Sarkisian really wants Armenia to be what he laid out in his speech, he needs to take radical, extremely radical steps,” writes the paper. “That presupposes an equally radical change of the government system and the ruling political and economic elite.” But, as it points out, Sarkisian made clear in his speech that he “will not hurry” or take any “revolutionary” measures. This is construed by the paper as a clear indication that Sarkisian will continue to heavily rely on thuggish and corrupt government officials and loyalists.
“Zhamanak” says the speech was aimed at showing the public and the state apparatus that Sarkisian is not a lame duck president. The president, it says, implied that he will not leave power after completing his second presidential term in 2018. Government factions will therefore be careful not “take any steps against him” now, according the paper.
“Zhoghovurd” comments on the surprise appointment of the 34-year-old Georgi Kutoyan as chief of Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS). “This appointment is noteworthy not because it was unexpected but because of its impact on the political stage,” writes the paper. In particular, it says, the appointed ended speculation about the imminent sacking of Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” questions the legality of Kutoyan’s appointment. The paper argues that he never served in the Armenian armed forces and is therefore not allowed to hold a high-ranking security position.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that as recently as on February 3 Kutoyan was appointed as deputy prosecutor-general. “This is certainly weird,” says the paper. “But the thing is that under the existing legislation only an individual with the minimum rank of colonel and a high-level position in the law-enforcement system can become NSS director.” Kutoyan automatically received such a rank when he was name deputy prosecutor-general. This is why he was briefly given that job, explains the paper.