(Saturday, December 9)
“Zhamanak” dismisses President Serzh Sarkisian’s recent remark that corruption now poses a serious threat to Armenia’s national security, saying that his government’s declared efforts to combat the problem are not commensurate with that threat. “Either Serzh Sarkisian exaggerated the scale of corruption … or it is more likely that in Armenia they do not fight against corruption as strongly as they do against national security threats,” comments the paper. “Because in Armenia corruption is not just a phenomenon, it’s an axis upon which the entire government system is built.”
“Aravot” weighs in on controversy caused by Hakob Hakobian, a senior pro-government lawmaker who has said that the latest rises in the prices of some foodstuffs will not hurt the poor because they could not afford those products anyway. The paper disagrees with calls for his resignation from the National Assembly made in recent days. “Yes, the chairman of the National Assembly committee on social issues must understand that butter or meat are not luxury goods as they are part of any modern healthy food diet and their increased cost deals a severe blow to our low-income people,” it says in editorial. “Also, a politician living in a poor country must think carefully before making judgments about poverty. But stripping [a parliament deputy] of their seat because of their views could set a bad precedent. The best way to punish the deputy is not to reelect him. In a normal society, Hakob Hakobian would never be reelected to parliament.”
Paul Goble, a U.S. political analyst, tells “168 Zham” that Turkey’s involvement in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process is “extremely undesirable” because the current Turkish leadership is unpredictable and could seek to undermine Russia’s central role in international mediation efforts. “Turkey will continue to intervene,” he is quoted as saying. “That intervention will likely succeed only in cases like the April 2016 events [in Karabakh.] Or else, such intervention will not be allowed in the negotiation process influenced by both Russia and the U.S.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments on the results of the latest opinion polls released by in recent days. According to them, Prime Minister Karen Karapetian’s approval rating has fallen from 85 percent to 57 percent and is now slightly lower than President Serzh Sarkisian’s. The paper predicts that the government-linked pollsters will report further drops in Karapetian’s popularity before Sarkisian completes his final presidential term in April. By contrast, it says, Serzh Sarkisian’s approval rating will reach 60-70 percent.