“Haykakan Zhamanak” believes that the sacking of a deputy chief of the Armenian army’s General Staff, Haykaz Baghmanian, is aimed at shoring up the positions of Defense Minister Vigen Sargsian. The paper notes in this regard that Sargsian is widely regarded as a potential candidate for the post of prime minister. It speculates that President Serzh Sarkisian could become defense minister and install his “most trusted cadre” as prime minister after completing his final term in April 2018.
“Hayots Ashkhar” suggests, meanwhile, that Vigen Sargsian is simply pressing ahead with defense reforms that were promised by him. Those reforms involve, among other things, a “refreshing” of the top army brass, says the pro-presidential paper.
“Zhoghovurd” comes up with a grim assessment of President Sarkisian’s decade-long rule, saying that it has been marked by an increase in poverty and emigration of more people from Armenia. The paper claims that he has failed to achieve a “single positive result” for the Armenian economy. “This is the result of Serzh Sarkisian’s ten years in power,” it says.
“Zhamanak” is concerned about the official rate of poverty in Armenia which the National Statistical Service (NSS) says fell slightly to 29.4 percent in 2016. “The most troubling thing is that the published figure did not surprise anyone, including the public strata, the opposition and the government,” comments the paper. “Armenia has grown accustomed to this poverty indicator.”
“Hraparak” comments on dramatic developments in Ukraine where former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is facing arrest and prosecution because of his efforts to topple the Ukrainian government. “From our Armenian perspective, he is either crazy or an adventurer who must be sent to prison or psychiatric clinic,” writes the paper. “But history is made thanks to such crazy persons. They are the ones who set stagnation in motion, force governments to work hard and get the masses to the streets.”