Armenian press review (September 18-23)

Armenian press review (September 18-23)

The celebration of the 24th anniversary of Armenia's independence is in the focus of the Armenian mass media. The newspapers are discussing the value of the idea of ​​independence.

Thus, the Zhamanak newspaper writes: "Yesterday, on September 21st, the whole nation celebrated the 24th anniversary of independence, spoke of the value of independence, listening to the toasts and the pathos, in the first place, from people who, in fact, are related to the independence only through the plundering of public resources and the appropriation of public power under the guise of independent statehood.

Parallel to the festive mood, of course,  the problems of Armenia's independence were also discussed, as well as the challenges, the real state and quality of the state, the curtail moments to every extent, of the fall, which currently leads to a disaster, compared with the initial rise, about why and how it happened that the congregation, with fair values, moods, victory in the difficult war for the sake of these values ​​and of the future, aiming to build statehood, got what can currently be compared only to a strong desire with those dreams and wishes, objectives and values ​​of a quarter-century ago," the article reads.

The newspaper ‘Hraparak’ said on this occasion: "Everyone perceives the country's independence in their own way. For one, it is an occasion to eat harissa, for another it is an opportunity to go on a march to the office of the Republican Party, for a third it is hope of getting a reward, for a fourth it is an opportunity to talk with the President of Armenia. But many believe that independence is an absolute value, essential and unfading, even if there are many challenges that our society is facing, the instances of beating veterans up on Independence Day, the complaints of people left homeless or those who do not receive a salary, the public confrontation divided into several fronts, ‘yes’ and ‘no’ on the issue of the Constitution. The country's independence is above all,’’ the newspaper writes.

The topic of future constitutional reforms in Armenia has been on the front pages of the Armenian media too. Thus, the editorial of the newspaper ‘Aravot’ reads "In justifying why you need to say 'no' to the draft of the new Constitution, former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, referring to the famous statesman-politician, expresses the opinion that Serzh Sargsyan is afraid of the new Robert Kocharyan. Translated from diplomatic language to normal speech, this means that the current president is afraid of the second president. It is natural for an opinion leader, who worked with the Foreign Minister of the Presidency of the latter.

The same front, ‘No’, which, apparently, unofficially includes Mr Oskanian, from time to time notes that the authorities are trying to intimidate society by Kocharyan's return. But, on the other hand, one part of the front hints that it wants to change the Constitution in order to close the road to the ‘throne’ for the second president. Thus, implicitly, this is the motivation which is attributed to the authorities, but, so to speak, with a minus sign, that is, 'you want to change the constitution to remain in power, and we want the Constitution not to change, so we can come to power'. Perhaps both are right," the newspaper editor sums up.

'Chorrord Ishkhanutyun' says: "In fact, Serzh Sargsyan put a choice of ‘either-or’ on all political fields. There is no doubt that the leaders of many parties would give anything to Sargsyan not to be invited to the meeting, but were not able to reject the invitation and with deep pain in their hearts went to take part in their own political funeral. Again, not for the reason they did something bad, but because this is the public perception.

Does this mean that those who did not go to the meeting with Serzh Sargsyan  are some exceptional heroes who by their step rendered a great service to the country? Of course not. It just means that these forces do not depend on Serzh Sargsyan and decide by themselves where to go, whom to meet and what issues to discuss. That is, from this point of view, Serzh Sargsyan did a serious favor for society, he showed the political forces, on which he has and on which he has no influence. At the same time, it became clear what political forces have some expectations from Serzh Sargsyan, and what forces do not associate with him any hope, " the author writes.

The campaign against the constitutional reforms in Armenia is being led on several fronts, which were originally known. However, recently the propagandists against the reform of a different order have emerged, who are assuring that the issue of the negative outcome of the process in Armenia has been settled in Moscow, the newspaper ‘Zhamanak’ reports

"According to these advocates, they have learned from very serious sources that Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to initiate the failure of the referendum on the constitutional reform during his recent visit to Moscow,"  the newspaper notes.

There is a scandal brewing in the Prosperous Armenia party (PAP), caused by a radical change in the position on the draft constitutional reform, the newspaper Chorrord Ishkhanutyun informs.

"The fact is that Prosperous Armenia previously opposed the constitutional reform, assessing them as an attempt by the authorities to ensure their own continuation. Now a decision has been made to vote for its submission for a national referendum and join the campaign in support of the package. But not all the members of the parliamentary PAP faction agree with this decision and are going to vote ‘for’.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the party, Vahan Babayan, said: "The question of deputies who have a different opinion, and those will show a different position, in case of disobedience of the decision of the superior authority of the Party, will be subject to review." Recall that, according to circulating information, members of the faction of Prosperous Armenia, Hayk Khachatryan, Elinar Vardanyan, Stepan Margaryan and Vahe Hovhannisyan, are against the constitutional reforms," the newspaper notes.

A former high-ranking functionary of many years of the pro-Western opposition party ‘Heritage’, Stepan Safarian, is now positioning himself as an expert, he predicted new splits in the party in an interview with the Zhamanak newspaper.

"In 2012, unfortunately, the party went the way of the formation of a very fragile unit. However, the alliance of ‘Heritage’ and the ‘Free Democrats’ was no longer existent before the start of the first autumn session of the new parliament. The process deepened, continued and has not finished yet. We see it in the example of Ruben Hakobyan, and due to the presence of different points of view on the draft of the constitutional reforms."

The Heritage party also created the preconditions for such a development. If the party's program includes a provision to support the country's transition to a parliamentary form of government, but it refuses it because of its position in connection with the political games in the so-called ‘Quartet’, it is difficult to blame Tevan Poghosian for participating in the discussions on the draft constitutional reforms," Safarian said.

The sale of Electric Networks of Armenia (ENA) is in the focus of the Armenian mass media.

The Zhamanak newspaper writes: "It is clear that the sale of ENA not only provides answers to existing and important economic and political issues, but also, in fact, raises a lot of new questions. Anyway, under cover of an offshore company next, so to speak, ‘mysterious’ and anonymous transactions happened in the Armenian economy, even in such an extremely important field as the electrical network. And if the crisis caused in the networks is being solved by means of this mechanism, that is, so to speak, not transparent, it puts into question whether the structure will be transparently managed as an object of strategic importance with the new owner. Meanwhile, the axis of the political and economic crisis is precisely in the issue of management."

The Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper turns to the same issue, publishing an article entitled ‘Another Adventure’. The newspaper wrote: ‘’It is principle and meaningful that the largest company in Armenia, ‘Electric Networks of Armenia’, has become a subject of such a dirty and dark deal. Perhaps it is clear that this is a classic adventurist scheme. No self-respecting company that operates according to the rules of transparent business and for which its reputation and good name is important, would ever turn to such dark schemes. The question arises naturally: why is the future owner of the ESA not going by the modern, civilized, transparent rules, why he does not he say, ‘yes, I want to buy ENA, I have such and such a program, I will make such and such investments, improve efficiency, I earn such and such profit."

The answer is simple: neither the past nor present nor future owners of the ENA are interested in a legal business. Back in 2000 several well-known companies from France and Switzerland specializing in the distribution of electricity showed their interest in the ENA. However, the Armenian authorities made such shameful adventures that eventually the offshore company Midland Resources privatized the ENA. Since then, any reliable Western company managing on modern business rules is not even looking in the direction of the ENA," the paper concludes.

We already know who will be the new owner of ‘Electric Networks of Armenia’,  the same newspaper Haykakan Zhamanak writes, developing the topic.

"Until a few months ago, it was known that the ENA will be bought by the founder of the group of companies ‘Tashir’, Samvel Karapetyan, residing in Moscow. Yesterday we received information that Samvel Karapetyan will not buy the company alone, although he will become the owner of the main lobe. According to our reliable sources, the shareholders of ‘Electric Networks of Armenia’ will be the former director of ‘ArmRosGazprom’, Karen Karapetyan, Gagik Tsarukyan and former MP Harutyun Pambukyan. According to the same source, the deal for the sale of the ENA will be completed by February of the coming year," the newspaper writes.

The country has shown a significant and noticeable decline in the economy, the  Chorrord Ishkhanutyun newspaper writes.

"The decline in the Armenian economy began to be felt. The National Statistical Service of Armenia published the socio-economic indicators for January-August this year, according to which the economic activity index is 3.9%, while a month ago the authorities gained 4.2% growth. That means, that this indicator decreased by 0.3% in only one month. By the way, the domestic trade turnover decreased by 5.4% during this period, and external turnover by 19.5%," the publication notes.

"Last week, the government completed the so-called text discussion of next year's budget," the newspaper Hraparak informs. "According to our information, the discussion regarding the allocation of funds in the sphere of culture and science was a controversial process. So the scientific spheres proposed to the government to provide more funds to the scientific field, complaining about the small grants in previous years.

However, it made the government’s chief of staff David Harutyunyan nervous, and he did not weigh all the pros and cons, he just said: "What have you done that you need more money?’ the newspaper writes.

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