“Hayots Ashkhar” says the latest Karabakh-related developments have given a fresh boost to Armenians’ “national self-consciousness.” They have stopped to believe that “by quickly integrating into European structures it is possible to achieve peaceful coexistence with our [Azerbaijani] neighbor within a short period of time.” The paper welcomes the perceived change in public mood, saying that the people must not forget “in what region we live.” It also denounces liberal newspapers’ calls for a reserved reaction to the February 19 murder of an Armenian army officer in Hungary.
“The campaign presently unfolding in the country is not an escalation of hatred, but a cultivation of a sober behavior corresponding to our surroundings,” “Hayots Ashkhar” continues. “If we lose the healthy instinct of self-defense by imagining that we are situated somewhere in between Belgium and Luxembourg, Europe will again end up admitting after everything is over that its navy can not reach Mount Ararat.”
But as “Aravot” points out, “not everyone in Armenia and Azerbaijan” is interested in the escalation of the inter-ethnic acrimony. “We are not genetically incompatible [with each other],” a senior member of Azerbaijan’s opposition Yeni Musavat party, Hikmet Hajizade, tells the paper. Commenting on the intensifying public campaign in Baku in support of Lieutenant Gurgen Markarian’s Azerbaijani murderer, Hajizade says: “I don’t think that there are committees in Azerbaijan that encourage such killings and say that whenever Armenians and Azerbaijanis meet they must kill each other. I haven’t seen anything like that in Azerbaijan. People with extremely chauvinistic views are wrong to pour oil on the fire. Our people have feuded with one another. But if we look at history, [we will see that] we have also lived together in peace for long periods.”
“Azg” says the ongoing parliament debate on ways of compensating people whose Soviet-era bank savings were wiped out by the hyper-inflation of the early 1990s is just a publicity stunt aimed at showing that the governing parties, notably Orinats Yerkir, are honoring one of their pre-election pledges. The paper says that the sensitive issue which earned Orinats Yerkir many votes in the May 2003 elections may now bring about its “political destruction.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Tuesday’s meeting between several government ministers and residents of the village of Garni degenerated into “an anti-government rally.” “The visit by a group of officials produced opposite results,” the paper says.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says the ministers will risk being caught in a “trap” if they continue such meetings which it finds long overdue. “The people’s disaffection is great and justified. But one should not be afraid of it. You can’t change things while sitting in our your office.”