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Press Review


“Aravot” thinks that there is “nothing extraordinary or dangerous” for the authorities in the ongoing street protests staged by the Armenian opposition in various regions of the country. President Robert Kocharian, it says, should be more worried about “conspiracies” that might theoretically be hatched against him by Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian or Prime Minister Andranik Markarian. The current and future regimes must be ready to hear economically driven “curses” from ordinary people during just about every public gathering.

“Hayots Ashkhar” comments on the first anniversary of Kocharian’s disputed reelection, calling on him to be “more active” in policy making. The paper says that is necessary in the light of the fact that three-party ruling coalition has so far failed to turn into a “full-fledged political team.” It says some of the coalition parties are not averse to playing “shadowy games” with the opposition. “We believe that the president must be more demanding and tough towards the coalition. Just because every failing by the latter hits hard not those parties but the president himself.” Kocharian’s “active interference” is also needed for preventing the appointment of “unworthy” people representing the coalition parties to senior government posts. He must initiate a “thorough purge of the state apparatus,” “Hayots Ashkhar” concludes.

“A backdrop of clearly militaristic propaganda is being formed in the country, even though there are no objective signs that the country is really getting ready for war,” writes “Iravunk.” The paper says that even the most liberal government will not raise utility prices and enact laws “making property owners jittery” in advance of a war effort. It says there are renewed rumors about “certain army units” being deployed around Yerevan. “So why is the same regime making the situation more tense and at the same time unleashing militarist propaganda?” “Iravunk” sticks to its theory that the ruling factions are primarily concerned with who will succeed Kocharian in 2008 and that some of them are whipping up tension in the hope of installing their man in power. Their government rivals, by contrast, are interested in maintaining the status quo by spreading a “war hysteria.”

The Dashnaktsutyun weekly “Yerkir” again hints at the need to differentiate the responsibility of the three governing parties for the state of affairs in the country. The paper says in particular that the Orinats Yerkir Party of parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian should itself find ways of honoring its pre-election pledge to return Soviet-era bank savings. No other party has made such promises.

“Ayb-Fe” says the introduction and the embarrassing withdrawal of the government bill on military service was part of a secret plan to “weaken and discredit” Serzh Sarkisian. The paper says Sarkisian’s standing has also been damaged by his latest war of words with opposition leader Artashes Geghamian that “left the ‘omnipotent minister’ exposed.” “Thus we are witnessing the twilight of Serzh Sarkisian’s political career,” it declares.

(Vache Sarkisian)
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