“Aravot” attributes President Kocharian’s aggressive behavior at the Yerevan municipality on Tuesday to the start of his reelection campaign. The idea was to show ordinary people that the head of state cares about their day-to-day lives. “The president, like all kings, is tough but fair,” the paper comments tartly. “He comes out and gets frankly surprised at the shortcomings.” Mayor Robert Nazarian drew the president’s ire because “he failed to present dizzying figures which Robert Kocharian would like to see. Never mind that they have nothing to do with real life. The bottom line is to make declarations promising to provide city residents with around-the-clock water supplies in two years.”
“Kocharian thinks that in order to ensure implementation of a certain project he needs to give a public promise and make good on it any cost,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” The paper also shrugs off Kocharian’s claim that Armenian industrial output jumped by 30 percent in the first two months of the year. “This is already not an unprecedented growth, this is a terrible one,” it says. “This means that if growth continues at this rate Armenia could join the G7 club of nations in September or October.” The paper makes the point that industrial out can not go up without a corresponding rise in electricity production. Official figures show that Armenian industrial enterprises consumed 6 less energy in January-February.
“The liberal forces have never made secret of the fact that they don’t consider Kocharian’s dominance legitimate and are seeking to offer an alternative to that individual and his regime,” Ara Sahakian of the Armat organization tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” Sahakian says those forces should join forces to further their liberal agenda. Asked about the possibility of them putting forward a single candidate for the 2003 presidential elections, Sahakian says: “I’m sure that new names will be put into circulation, while some other names will be forgotten. I personally am ready to follow any acceptable candidate if that helps our society to get rid of this government as soon as possible.”
“Aravot” says that the Review Court’s refusal to consider changing the controversial verdict in the café murder trial did not come as a surprise. “It was obvious that the case was fully under [the authorities’] control.” The paper prints gruesome photographs of Poghos Poghosian’s dead body in a bid to prove that “in case of negligent homicide there should not have been such traces of torture.”
Several newspaper carry angry letters from readers reacting to the Orinats Yerkir party’s motion to give Russian language a quasi-official status in Armenia. “Hayots Ashkhar” says it has been bombarded by such messages which portray Orinats Yerkir leader Artur Baghdasarian as a “traitor.” The paper says concern over the initiative is justified, but urges critics to look at “the other side of the medal.” “We must realize that this country will never be able to translate into Armenian and publish even professional books about the main directions of science and technology. We are simply doomed to training qualified specialists with Russian textbooks.”