“Hayots Ashkhar” warns Armenians against following the example of many Russians and blaming all their woes on greedy “oligarchs” that have developed close ties with the government. The paper sees important differences between Russia and Armenia. It says President Vladimir Putin has failed to curb contract killings, strengthen the rule of law and scale down government corruption. Putin and his team are cracking down on billionaire oligarchs in order to score political points ahead of next year’s elections. Turning to Armenia, the pro-presidential paper says: “It would be a serious mistake to base [political] calculations on ordinary people’s hatred of others’ wealth. Not because an unfairly built fortune can not be touched. It can be. But that issue must not be turned into a PR [stunt] and a way of restoring the public’s faith in the government.”
“Aravot” says embracing “European values” is not as easy as some Armenian leaders thought. They had little to lose from abolishing the death penalty or better protecting ethnic minorities. “But the thing is that while our authorities are ready to create an illusion of complying with European democratic standards, they do not agree to cross certain boundaries even for misleading [the Europeans],” writes the paper, pointing to the situation with press freedoms in Armenia. “And clinging to power is an issue compared to which the creation of a European-style state is not a very essential thing.”
Quoted by “Aravot,” a close aide to opposition leader Artashes Geghamian claims that President Robert Kocharian will not hold on to power for much longer because he does not have a broad support base. “The situation will escalate further in October as the three co-chairs [of the OSCE Minsk Group] will arrive with new proposals on the Karabakh issue,” Aleksan Karapetian says. He also accuses Kocharian of personally blocking the reopening of the A1+ channel.
According to “Hayots Ashkhar,” the Armenian dram’s strengthening against the U.S. dollar was caused by domestic factors. The paper says this was not foreseen by Armenia’s Central Bank whose monetary policy “is not quite in line with the ongoing economic processes.”
Leaders of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) continue to voice skepticism at possible consequences of reopening the Turkish-Armenian border. One of them, Giro Manoyan, tells “Aravot” that Turkey could gain economic leverage against Armenia with an open border.