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Press Review


"Aravot" lays the blame for the loss of its entire Thursday edition on individuals close to Prime Minister Andranik Markarian. "Naturally, the prime minister will state that he has nothing to do with the confiscation of the entire print run. This may not be a lie. Such stupidities are usually done at the lower level [of government]." But in any case, the paper says, the authorities are responsible for what happened.

"Haykakan Zhamanak" writes that there was nothing strange or unusual in the corruption report which "Aravot" hoped to run. Such stories abound in other Armenian publications. The paper says Markarian's cronies allegedly reacted to the article in that way because state prosecutors were ready to launch criminal proceedings based on the newspaper allegations and "draw the prime minister's entourage into a lengthy process of inspections." "Our sources close to the government are confident that information contained in that article was leaked from the presidential administration. This fits into the logic of the confrontation between the presidential administration and the government that followed the local elections."

"Azg" is very concerned about "this new form of censorship," while "Yerkir" says Markarian's entourage thinks it can get away with "stealing words under our gaze." "Yerkir," which also accuses Markarian of trying to rationalize the recent grenade attack on journalist Mark Grigorian, sees an "intensifying tendency to speak to journalists from the position of force."

"Iravunk" analyzes what it calls an "obvious crisis in the government camp." The paper notes that the Ramkavar Azatakan party, which strongly supports President Kocharian and controls the "Azg" daily, is now taking every opportunity to attack Markarian and his Republican Party (HHK). Kocharian's chief of staff, Artashes Tumanian, and the Dashnaktsutyun party are also "clearly" at odds with the Republicans. The paper predicts that "hatred between various government factions is likely to surpass that between the government and opposition."

"Orran" says that the draft budget for next year approved by the government on Thursday has a clear "pre-election" character. The paper says government plans to raise public sector wages are "not justified by macroeconomics" and are designed to woo voters.

"Hayots Ashkhar" says Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian's revelation that there are now peace proposals acceptable to both the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides was "not accidental." The paper does not believe in the existence of such proposals. Oskanian's comments, it says, were a ploy directed at Azerbaijan.

(Vache Sarkisian)
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