“Iravunk,” discussing Robert Kocharian’s four years in power, says that the president has failed to do away with “the quasi-criminal clan system” and raise the country to “the normal standards of statehood.” The paper says Kocharian’s economic record is equally dismal. Nor has he managed to rebuild the earthquake zone and reform the constitution. “Over the past four years, the abyss between the government and the people has not disappeared.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” attacks Kocharian for denying any responsibility for the release of 6 parliament attacks under last year’s amnesty. He made the remark in an interview with AFP. The paper is also unhappy with Kocharian’s reply to a question about constitutional reform in Armenia. “The authorities want that the local elections preceding the presidential and parliamentary elections to have a more than disgraceful course,” it claims. “In that case, rigging the presidential elections will be easier because after such elections the majority of the country’s voters will get finally disappointed with elections.” The ruling regime needs to have local government chiefs elected in fraudulent polls. It is much easier to control them.
“Yerkir” editorializes that Armenia’s post-Communist authorities have done their best get the burden of socioeconomic problems confronting the population off their shoulders. Their “criminal indifference” leaves the little man helpless in his fight for survival. “As a result we have a disillusioned public that does not love its country and does not trust its leadership,” the paper says.
“Iravunk” reports that Armenian Ambassador to Russia Suren Sahakian was stripped of his diplomatic immunity several weeks ago after he was caught red-handed trying to smuggle goods into a European country. The government plans to replace him by Armen Smbatian, the rector of the Yerevan State Conservatory.
“Azg” also reports that Smbatian, who used to be Armenia’s culture minister, is poised to become ambassador to Russia. The Armenian foreign ministry is now awaiting Moscow’s consent to the appointment.
“Aravot” treats with skepticism Russian press reports that Turkey is intent on formenting tension in Georgia’s Javakhetia region. “The situation is really serious. But it can not be ruled out that the reports about the Turkish plans are a provocation on the part of Russia. If we take into account the recent deterioration of American-Russian relations the goal becomes evident. Russia, losing its influence in Georgia, is longing for a revanche by trying to worsen relations between Armenia and Georgia. The most dangerous thing will happen if Armenians of Armenia or Javakhetia succumb to that provocation.”