(Saturday, January 27)
“Zhamanak” looks at possible reasons why a new plan to modernize Armenia’s armed forces, which is due to be approved by President Serzh Sarkisian, will span a seven-year period. “Generally speaking, seven years is probably the length of time envisioned by Serzh Sarkisian for the continuation of his rule,” writes the paper.
“If there are elections in Armenia during which no vote bribes are handed out, the ruling party does not abuse its administrative resources, opposition forces are not pressurized, that will surely be a successful test of maturity for our country,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “Or if the scale of corruption in Armenia substantially falls, the pace emigration significantly decreases, the poverty rate falls noticeably, government officials stop engaging in business activities, economic competition rises sharply, courts administer even a bit of justice, impunity is eliminated and the quality of education improves. These are probably the other tests. Our independent state, which is nearly 30 years old, is still failing to pass those maturity tests for one simple reason: these are not regarded as important subjects by the Armenian authorities.”
“Hraparak” wonders if Armenians will take to the streets this spring to voice their grievances to the authorities. “Are people different and are their leaders solving totally different issues now?” asks the paper.
“Zhoghovurd” claims that the Armenian government is “jubilant” about official statistics showing that economic growth in Armenia sharply accelerated last year. “The government is also buoyed by foreign trader indicators,” says the paper. “The rise [in foreign trade in 2017] came in at 26.9 percent. Exports rose by 25.2 percent and imports by 27.8 percent.” But, it says, Armenian exports are still dwarfed by imports.