(Saturday, May 21)
“168 Zham” comments on Friday’s meeting in Yerevan of the prime ministers of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) member states. They were originally due meet in the Armenian capital on April 8. However, Kazakhstan forced the cancellation of that meeting in what amounted to a show of support for Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The paper complains that the Armenian government has still not used EEU gatherings to condemn Kazakhstan. “The April war [in Nagorno-Karabakh] demonstrated that in reality the EEU is a hostile structure for Armenia not just because most of its member states are Azerbaijan’s strategic partners but also because our strategic partner within that structure [Russia] saves no effort to make Azerbaijan a member of the EEU.”
“Zhamanak” dismisses the Armenian government’s intention to decommission hundreds of cars used by government officials and other public sector employees as part of a major cost-cutting effort announced by Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian earlier this month. The paper also accuses the government of “ignoring” protests staged by farmers of the village of Garni against a controversial irrigation project. “On the hand, it is understandable that an aggressor should ignore such things because when one unleashes an aggression they obviously realize that they may face resistance,” it says, writing ahead of Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian’s pledge to axe the project.
“The decommissioning of about 800 cars used by officials pales in comparison with large-scale programs that are implemented by various government agencies,” writes “Aravot.” “For example, in order to wreak havoc the Azat river [flowing near Garni] and nearby water resources our state has borrowed $30 million from the World Bank.” The paper claims that a large part of that loan will be misappropriated by Armenian officials managing the project.