“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments that the “only noteworthy” speech given at Monday’s opening session of the Diaspora-Armenia business forum was delivered by Vahram Nercissiantz, President Kocharian’s top economic aide. Nercissiantz said that a “dictatorial political culture” was the root cause of Armenia’s woes for nearly two thousand years. “A dictator would arbitrarily deprive citizens of their property, liberty and even life. Citizens were constantly vulnerable and unprotected, and for centuries invented methods and instruments of survival such as flattery, bribery and many other manifestations of corruption,” Nercissiantz said.
“Vahram Nercissiantz’s assessments seemed to reflect the existing situation in Armenia, and tension was visible in the conference hall,” “Haykakan Zhamanak” says. “Up until a point when Nercissiantz added, ‘This situation existed before 1990’.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” derides Ara Abrahamian’s efforts to set up a global organization of Armenians, saying that the Russian-Armenian tycoon and other representatives of the Armenian elite lack “the brains and conscience” to put the ambitious idea into practice. “Not to mention our incredible clumsiness which has taken the form of the ‘Armenian luck’ euphemism over millennia,” the pro-Kocharian paper says. It says if Abrahamian fails in his endeavor he should consider becoming a “folk magician or witch-doctor.” “He could track down runaway husbands with the help of photographs or speak on television as a folk psychotherapist.”
“Aravot” cites a government-controlled Karabakh paper as questioning Kocharian’s ability to protect interests of the Karabakh Armenians. “Aravot” put this in the contest of official Stepanakert’s growing exasperation with direct diplomatic contacts between Baku and Yerevan. The paper renews its claims that with his repeated meetings with Heydar Aliev Kocharian has put an end to Karabakh’s involvement in the peace talks as a separate party and has no moral right to bran his predecessor Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Karabakh policy “defeatist.”
“Iravunk” quotes an unnamed Republican lawmaker as admitting that the three pro-Kocharian parties that compose Armenia’s coalition government are now “going for each other’s throats.” The paper says law-enforcement agencies are beginning to “show interest” in activities of the three government ministers affiliated with the Orinats Yerkir Party. It claims that the apparent tensions between Prime Minister Andranik Markarian and parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian are stoked by Kocharian who may be “trying to get rid of the current premier.”
In an interview with “Aravot,” Local Government Minister Hovik Abrahamian denies rumors that he, Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian and Transport and Communication Minister Andranik Manukian intend to form a new party that will have a mission to squeeze Markarian’s Republicans out of power. He says there is no “mutual distrust or insurmountable disagreements” inside the coalition. He at the same makes it plain that Dashnaktsutyun efforts to get more government posts will lead nowhere. “We need professionals in the executive,” Abrahamian concludes.
Interviewed by “Ayb-Fe,” opposition leader Artashes Geghamian extends an olive branch to the coalition parties, saying that there must be no “atmosphere of intolerance” between them and his National Unity party because “Mr. Kocharian will eventually go, whereas we will stay here.” “Therefore, we must never burn bridges between us,” Geghamian says.