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“Zhamanak” discusses growing indications that Armenia’s ambassador to Britain, Armen Sarkissian, will become the next president of the republic. The paper dismisses as an oversimplification a widely held belief that Serzh Sarkisian wants his successor to be a weak and “easy-to-manage” figure. “It is hard to imagine that Armen Sarkissian needs to end his activities abroad to work as a figurehead president in Armenia,” it says. “Sarkissian’s appointment is a further indication that what is happening in Armenia is a transformation of the existing pyramid-shaped internal political system into a more multi-layered and complex system.”

“Aravot” hopes that the choice of Armen Sarkissian heralds the start of major changes within the ruling elite. The paper says that that elite mostly consists of thuggish individuals at present.

“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” claims that Serzh Sarkisian wanted to make Armenia “part of the Russian Empire” when he decided in 2013 to seek its entry into the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). To that end, it says, he decided to “eliminate the institution of the president” and “create a de facto one-party system” where all major decisions are made by his coterie. “Serzh Sarkisian has successfully accomplished that by changing the constitution,” writes the pro-opposition daily.

“Zhoghovurd” reports that Armenia’s public debt continued to rise in 2017, reaching $6.77 billion in December. “Note that a large part of this debt -- $6.17 billion -- is the government’s debt,” the paper says. “Karen Karapetian’s government is no different from the previous ones. In order to solve current day-to-day issues his government too takes new loans, leaving it to Armenia’s citizens to repay them.”

(Tigran Avetisian)

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