Commenting on Robert Kocharian’s latest newspaper interview, Lragir.am says that the arrested former president is playing the Nagorno-Karabakh card to try to discredit the Armenian government. The publication notes that Karabakh has traditionally been one of the main lines of attack adopted by Armenian opposition forces. “On the other hand, Artsakh remains the former president’s last hope for political protection after even his friend [Vladimir] Putin did not live up to his hopes,” it says. “The former president expects to set up a political stronghold in Artsakh. From the standpoint of political logic, this is understandable and acceptable. The problem is, however, that for the sake of that objective the former president is seemingly not averse to prospects and emphases extremely dangerous for the public and the state.”
“Zhamanak” reports that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has pledged to be even more uncompromising towards those businesses that avoid issuing cash receipts and thus evade taxes. “According to Pashinian, failure to issue cash receipts will be viewed as something akin to theft from soldiers and be dealt with accordingly,” writes the paper. It says that former Armenian governments caused controversy with their similar efforts to stamp out tax evasion by retailers and other businesses. “These problems arose, first and foremost, from a lack of government legitimacy,” it says. “What gives Nikol Pashinian reason to adopt a tough stance is his legitimacy. This is a very important fact, even though there will obviously be disaffected entities and those who will exploit this issue.”
“Aravot” says that a statement against smoking made by pro-government parliament deputy Hrachya Hakobian has been distorted by some media and critics of the government. Hakobian said that people smoking in public places in Armenia must be turned into “pariahs.” “Our smoking compatriots took offense,” writes the paper. “Yet the meaning of the statement is explicit: a person smoking in a public place must feel a great deal of psychological discomfort and realize that their behavior is ugly, disrespectful, intolerable and extraordinary … The young man smoking in a café must realize that he thereby offends people sitting around him.” Accordingly, the paper hails the passage of a government bill banning indoor smoking in Armenia.