Commenting on Friday’s talks between the Armenian and Russian presidents, “Iravunk” says “it is no secret that Russia’s supreme leadership has repeatedly expressed discontent to the effect that Robert Kocharian’s regime always reasserts its power in Armenia by forcible and other means at the expense of the moral authority of Russia and Vladimir Putin personally.” The paper says Moscow’s support for Kocharian has angered many traditionally pro-Russian Armenians, giving Putin cause for concern.
In another comment, “Iravunk” says the upcoming by-election to Armenia’s parliament will test the unity of the governing coalition one of whose members, the Orinats Yerkir Party, is trying hard to win the ballot. The paper says Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s Republican Party (HHK) is in no hurry to officially endorse or campaign for the Orinats Yerkir candidate despite a recent statement by Galust Sahakian, the leader of the HHK’s parliament faction. “Galust Sahakian apparently expressed his personal view,” an unnamed senior Republican is quoted as saying. The same is true for the third coalition party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun).
“Dashnaktsutyun’s position on this issue is totally neutral,” the party’s parliamentary leader, Levon Mkrtchian, confirms this in an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “There exists no decision by the coalition to support one or another candidate,” he adds.
Human rights activist Avetik Ishkhanian tells “Iravunk” that the new constitutional amendments jointly drafted by Kocharian and the coalition “will not resolve radical problems facing the state and the society.” “On the contrary, [the constitutional package] would only aggravate them,” he says. Ishkhanian believes that these amendments too will be rejected by the electorate if the constitutional referendum planned for next year is not rigged.
Newspapers continue to react to the perceived lenient punishment of former Urban Development Minister Ara Aramian’s son for his role in a café shootout in Yerevan last March. “Yerkir” believes that it will only bolster a sense of impunity among the children of senior government officials and other powerful individuals.
Writing in “Hayots Ashkhar,” novelist Gurgen Khanjian complains that the average resident of Yerevan knows that in order to survive they “must be impudent, jostle everyone, be aggressive and able to seize territory.” “This is an impudent sort [of people] and that sort is ruining Yerevan,” he says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that famous Armenian poetess Silva Kaputikian, who recently returned a top state award in protest against Kocharian crackdown on the opposition, was not invited to an Armenia-Diaspora cultural festival organized by the Ministry of Culture. “The failure to invite the poetess to such an even fully fits into Robert Kocharian’s mentality,” the paper attacks the Armenian president.