(Saturday, June 3)
“Hayots Ashkhar” is critical of a report by the International Crisis Group which claims that Armenia and Azerbaijan are closer to a renewed war for Nagorno-Karabakh than ever before. The paper notes that the report comes ahead of international mediators’ fresh visit to the conflict zone and “seems to be somewhat depreciating” their efforts to step up the difficult search for a compromise peace formula.
“Zhamanak” says that Armenian politics is increasingly dominated by the question of what President Serzh Sarkisian will do after completing his second and final term in office in April next year. The paper complains that it has overshadowed other important issues. “The only issue on the political agenda in Armenia is government infighting and its likely outcome,” it says. “The public has become a mere spectator in this process.”
“168 Zham” notes that official photographs of Sarkisian’s meetings held with some government ministers in recent weeks exposed books in the Armenian and foreign languages that seem to have been demonstratively placed on the presidential desk. In a written response to the paper, Sarkisian said: “The books on my desk are both gifts from various individuals and books which I read or re-read when I have time. By being surrounded by books in my office, I feel protected and insured by the power of books and knowledge. As regards my literary preferences, I am currently re-reading Niall Ferguson’s ‘Politics’ and Helmut Schoeck’s ‘Envy’ as well as works of [Armenian poet] Yeghishe Charents.”
“Hraparak” looks at structural changes within the Armenian government that are mandated by the country’s amended constitution. The paper says that as part of those changes Armenia’s police and National Security Service (NSS) may be merged into a single ministry of internal affairs. Alternatively, it says, the police may be merged with the Ministry of Emergency Situations. There are already rumors that the national police chief, Vladimir Gasparian, might be sacked as a result, according to the paper.