“Zhoghovurd” condemns pro-government male members of Yerevan’s municipal council for assaulting their female colleagues from the opposition Yerkir Tsirani party during Tuesday’s session of the legislature. The paper says Mayor Taron Markarian criticized not this violence but his loyalists’ failure to act more quickly against the three Yerkir Tsirani councilors that tried to “present” him with sewage collected from a damaged sewer pipe in the capital. “The behavior of HHK-affiliated female members of the council was the most disgusting,” it says. “In their interviews, they justified the beatings of their female colleagues.”
“Aravot” says, by contrast, that both sides are to blame for the embarrassing incident. The paper says the Yerkir Tsirani councilors were well aware what kind of a reaction their actions would provoke from thuggish HHK members. “These Republican members of the council don’t know and will not know any other way of making a point and proving their arguments except throwing punches,” editorializes the paper. In that sense, it says tartly, Zaruhi Postanjian and the two other members of Yerkir Tsirani made a correct political “calculation.”
“Had there been no violence we would have been able to soberly discuss what Yerkir Tsirani councilor Marina Khachatrian did,” writes “Hraparak.” “We might have criticized or mocked that action and reminded the opposition that the [Yerevan] Council of Elders is not a circus and that they can’t solve issues by spraying it with foul smell. Nothing kept councilors from raising the problem and achieving its solution. After all, the problem of cleaning up sewage in Nubarashen [district] is not about ousting the Republicans from power.” The paper suggests that Yerkir Tsirani deliberately provoked the incident to gain “the status of victims.” At the same time it strongly disapproves of the HHK councilors’ violent reaction.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” looks into a more than 7 percent rise in the amount of various taxes collected by the Armenian authorities last year. “This is certainly not a bad indicator, especially given that this increase in tax revenue was not accompanied by a harassment of businesses. At least there have been no reports of such systematic abuses. However, when we examine tax collection from separate taxpayers the picture is not that rosy.” While acknowledging a “certain” shrinkage of the informal sector of the Armenian economy, the paper sees no “qualitative” economic growth in Armenia.