“Zhamanak” comments on Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s newly disclosed and controversial decision to effectively double the salaries of Armenian government ministers and their deputies. The paper says that many Armenians would be unhappy with the decision even if it was not made secretly. “The view that the problem lies in the form, not essence, is misplaced,” it writes. “The problem is the essence and it is a serious one because it reflects the existence of deep social and psychological complexes in Armenian public circles. The former corrupt regime was harshly criticized when it came to raising the salaries of ministers, other officials or parliament deputies. The public complained that ‘they steal and still raise their salaries amid widespread poverty.’” The paper urges the government to embark on a “frank and bold” dialogue with the public.
“Aravot” believes that Pashinian was right to sharply raise the salaries, saying that the measure is needed to discourage corrupt practices among those senior officials. “The question is why it was done secretly,” editorializes the paper. “The answer [to this question] is clear. The government is scared of uproars from populists. It must not be scared of that.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes Eduard Sharmazanov, the spokesman for the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), as saying that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian would love to achieve the kind of macroeconomic indicators that were achieved by his predecessor Karen Karapetian. The pro-government paper scoffs at the remark, wondering why the HHK “fooled a prime minister who registered such brilliant results and nominated Serzh Sarkisian as prime minister in April 2018.” “What kept Sarkisian from retiring or focusing on his party so that Karapetian could continue to rule as prime minister and ensure double-digit economic growth?” it asks. “After all, the HHK owed the results of the  parliamentary elections to him as well. The answer is obvious. The HHK did not quite care about economic growth.”