“Azg” says the latest CIS summit in Minsk was a damp squib as far as the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process is concerned. The issue deserved more attention from the ex-Soviet leaders that gathered in the Belarus capital. The only important thing the paper finds worth mentioning is remarks by Nikolay Gribkov, the Russian co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group. Gribkov effectively called for bringing leaders of Karabakh’s ethnic Azeri minority into play.
“Hayots Ashkhar” finds this statement particularly alarming, saying that it facilitates Azerbaijani attempts to “counterbalance the demand for the NKR’s independence or re-unification with Armenia.” The paper urges the authorities in Yerevan and Stepanakert to continue to oppose any role for the Karabakh Azerbaijanis in the peace process.
Dashnaktsutyun leader Vahan Hovannisian believes that the apparent cooling in the Russian-Armenian relationship has to do with profound political changes in Russia. There has been no change in the attitude of Armenian leaders towards Russia, Hovannisian tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” Russian foreign policy was chaotic and incoherent throughout the 1990s, with different government structures often pursuing different goals. Now, according to Hovannisian, President Vladimir Putin is creating a “centralized state.” “Today no minister, army general or governor can address certain issues with Armenia” without Putin’s go-ahead. Also losing influence is the Russian parliament where the Armenian political elite always had strong connections. “Today we are facing a much more difficult and delicate task,” Hovannisian says. Robert Kocharian realizes that, spending most of his time on foreign policy matters. “I can understand that, but still find it wrong.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK) should at last ascertain its place in the political arena when it convenes its repeatedly delayed congress on Saturday. The HZhK must tell the public where it stands on major issues facing the country.
“Hayots Ashkhar” directs the spotlight at the HZhK’s latest political initiative: the creation of a parliamentary commission on the “October 27 case.” “The HZhK knows all too well that the commission will not identify anybody who provided the terrorists with illicit legal counseling.” It hoped to engineer a parliamentary inquiry that would present the authorities in the negative light. The trouble is that the commission is not dominated by the HZhK and its allies in the National Assembly. This is the main reason why leaders of the center-left party are now so furious. It is already evident that they will not be able to stage a “political show.”
“Yerkir” comments that the rising number of ad hoc parliamentary commissions results from the National Assembly’s desire to have a greater say in running the country. Deputies are no longer willing to perform largely ceremonial functions, and are right in seeking greater powers. “This parade of commissions is a sign of poor governance of the country.” The need for a “systemic change,” primarily entailing major curbs on the presidential powers, is becoming even more urgent, the paper concludes.