“Hraparak” claims that the Armenian authorities are trying to intimidate students protesting against their new bill on military service because they are “weak” and not confident. “If we want to have a sound and developing society we must encourage, not suppress, attempts to revolt,” writes the paper.
“Aravot” continues to criticize those protests, saying that Armenia cannot afford large-scale draft evasion given the grave security challenges facing it. Having said that, the paper goes on, it is good when young people fight for a cause, rather than “sit at home and think only about personal issues.” “The only danger is to fall under the influence of cynics and opportunists,” it says. “That is also natural. But experienced eyes can always see whether a person really believes in and is guided by certain principles or does not believe in anything and plays games.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” dismisses President Serzh Sarkisian’s statements to the effect that Armenia’s population must rise to 4 million by 2040. The paper also disagrees with his implicit claim that Armenia’s unresolved conflicts with neighbors are the main cause of emigration and falling birth rates in the country. “This is certainly a reason but not the most serious one,” it says. “If a poor person thinks that in case of moving abroad and finding a job he can meet his elementary needs, will he emigrate or not? … Serzh Sarkisian just doesn’t want to admit that most causes of the emigration result from our domestic problems. Problems at the heart of which are his government’s activities. So in these circumstances it probably makes no sense to talk about the authorities’ ability and desire to address demographic problems.”