Had November 15 not been Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski’s birthday his visit to Armenia could have gone unnoticed by local newspapers. The government-run “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” wishes Kwasniewski a “tenure without upheavals.” “Aravot” voices its congratulations with an English-language headline.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” is in a less congratulatory mood, saying that this is “yet another meaningless visit” to Armenia by a foreign leader. The paper questions Robert Kocharian’s statement that Kwasniewski’s trip is an important event in Armenia’s political life.
“Yerkir” focuses its attention on the controversial leader of the opposition National Unity party, Artashes Geghamian. An extensive commentary portrays him as a dishonest and sly politician always ready to betray his allies. It says after the latest bout of opposition activism Geghamian now feels that it is time to change sides once again. Hence, his efforts to woo the authorities amid fresh rumors about the eventual dismissal of the current cabinet. “Geghamian is again proving that he is the most unstable figure in the Armenian political arena and deserves the reputation of a political conman.” He is distrusted by both the authorities and the opposition.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the state commission responsible for the celebrations of 1700 years of Christianity in Armenia is starting to pack up as the year draws to a close. All but one telephones at its Yerevan office have already been disconnected. The paper continues to claim that a massive influx of tourists into Armenia, promised by commission chairman Khosrov Harutiunian, has failed to materialize. The authorities have still not released any figures as to the number of foreign visitors this year.
“Hayots Ashkhar” speculates that the rapprochement between Russia and the United States, reinforced by the ongoing Putin-Bush summit, has negative implications for two of Armenia’s neighbors: Georgia and Azerbaijan. “It appears that Armenia has found itself in an ideal position. It has no serious problems with Moscow and at the same time is emphasizing its commitment to the Paris principles of the resolution of the Karabakh conflict.” But the paper warns against complacency on the part of the Armenian leadership. The rapidly changing geopolitical situation in the world, it says, carries the danger of secret deals struck by superpowers at Armenia’s expense.