“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” devotes a commentary to President Robert Kocharian’s 49th birthday anniversary which he marked on Sunday. The government-funded paper says Kocharian did get a popular vote of confidence in this year’s disputed presidential election and can “continue performing duties and obligations to the country and the people.” “The president of the country realizes that instead of delivering rosy glasses to the society, he needs to ensure such conditions for people that will allow them to see the life in an acceptable natural color,” it says. “The president has committed himself to eliminating potholes on the road leading public welfare and a decent state.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” also extends its congratulations to Kocharian, saying that 49 years is “the age of an excellent export-oriented cognac.” As for Armenian society, the pro-presidential paper believes that it has been “torn into two parts.” “Those parts have different interests, different money, different ideas about the country and its future,” it remarks grimly. “Only their feelings towards each other are more or less similar. That feeling is hatred. It has always been and will probably always be like that.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” compares the ongoing work on the multimillion-dollar construction projects funded by the U.S. Lincy Foundation to the Soviet-era practice of trying to finish things very quickly, even at the expense of quality. Local construction firms are now desperate to meet Lincy’s November 1 funding deadline. “It will be possible to judge the quality [of their work] only years later,” the paper says. “After all, we have only now realized the quality of Soviet construction, having the disaster zone, tilted apartment blocks, crumbling bridges and so on.”
Finance and Economy Minister Vartan Khachatrian assures “Haykakan Zhamanak” that many Armenians do feel benefits of economic growth. “It hasn’t affected me or you,” he says. “But has affected the right places.”
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian is already preparing for his 2008 presidential bid as evidenced by his intensifying trips to various parts of the country, far-reaching political statements and lavish socioeconomic promises that are “not feasible.” But as the 2003 presidential and parliamentary elections showed, “there are no elected posts in Armenia anymore.” “It is therefore not clear why Baghdasarian holds campaign gatherings during his visits to the regions and state and private institutions,” the paper says.
“Golos Armenii,” meanwhile, continues to express its disappointment with Armenia’s leadership which it supported until recently. “The authorities do not even pretend to be reckoning with interests of the majority [of the population],” the Russian-language paper complains. “The authorities live their own life and are guided by their own concepts.” The state has become the property of “those who have power and money.” “All issues are resolved by a bunch of high-ranking persons” that have nothing in common with ordinary people.