Saturday, October 18
“Aravot” reports that riot police backed up water cannons and barbed wire were on standby near President Robert Kocharian’s residence on Friday while the Armenian opposition held a rally several hundred meters away. The paper says Kocharian would not hesitate do use the security forces against his political opponents just like the Azerbaijani authorities did after last week’s presidential election. “It’s just that Armenia’s opposition is more restrained and does not turn the people against troops. Another difference is that Azerbaijan still has a television company that can show violence perpetrated by the regime, something which no operating Armenian TV channel did [last April].”
The pro-Kocharian “Hayots Ashkhar” claims that the “ferocity and brutality” with which police and opposition supporters battled in Baku last week once again proved that Armenians should not hope that Azerbaijan will become a “civilized” nation in the foreseeable future. “And let them not try to persuade us that the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians’ peaceful co-existence with that barbaric mob is ever possible,” the paper says.
In his latest interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian says he thinks that Azerbaijan will avoid a period of instability and that the Azerbaijani regime will continue to control the situation in the country. Sarkisian goes on to denounce the Armenian opposition for its perceived efforts to impose its agenda on the people. “We keep hearing their same notions for several years already,” he says, deriding repeated opposition announcements of an imminent regime change in Yerevan. Sarkisian also contends that the opposition should pin no hopes on the upcoming fresh round of Nagorno-Karabakh shuttle diplomacy. It will not spell trouble for the Armenian leadership, he says.
“Golos Armenii” resents the fact that the Armenian government’s recently unveiled poverty reduction strategy was authored by prominent members of former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s administration. Ex-ministers Levon Barkhudarian, Vahram Avanesian and Armen Yeghiazarian have been referred to as “Armenia’s best economists” by Finance and Economy Minister Vartan Khachatrian. The Russian-language leftist paper strongly disagrees with this, saying that the three men were among those who “condemned the people to a semi-hungry existence.” “In order to overcome poverty, we need not a program but a staffing policy that would ensure that such unscrupulous individuals never come to power,” it says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that the controversial chief executive of Russia’s RAO Unified Energy Systems (UES) utility, Anatoly Chubais, will visit Armenia next week to seal more deals giving his company chunks of the Armenian energy sector. “Those are Armenia’s remaining serious energy facilities that do not belong to Russia,” it says. “RAO UES intends to buy a controlling stake in [Armenia’s] power distribution networks from [the British-registered] Midland Resources Holding.”