(Saturday, August 21)
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” is buoyed by Friday’s meeting in Sochi between the presidents of Armenia and Russia, agreeing with Robert Kocharian’s remark that it gave “a new impetus” to bilateral ties.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” sees a hidden meaning in a photograph of the two presidents shaking hands. Kocharian was pictured smiling. “This look accompanied by a smile is not accidental and is evidently addressed to someone,” the paper speculates. It says Kocharian is still worried about his political future. “He is not sure that there will be an opportunity to get photographed with [Vladimir] Putin this fall. So he has decided to show off his self-confidence and [signal] that after the meeting with Putin he finds talk of regime change in Armenia unserious.”
“Azg” is worried that Azerbaijan could draw inspiration from Georgia’s attempts to reassert control over South Ossetia and resort to military action in Nagorno-Karabakh. “The bad example could be contagious. Georgia and Azerbaijan are not only allies but have also had the same fate,” the paper says, drawing parallels between Baku’s and Tbilisi’s past efforts to crush the secessionist drives in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Golos Armenii” again criticizes the partisan appointments of ministers in Armenia, saying that it is wrong to prevent civil servants from occupying ministerial posts on the basis of merit. “As a result, it means that an army of specialists and a whole sphere is governed by an incompetent individual,” the paper says. “There exists only one principle here: party affiliation.”
“Golos Armenii” also believes that public opinion in Armenia is increasingly against the opposition’s return to the parliament and in favor of the resumption of street protests against the government. The authorities have only themselves to blame for that, according to the paper. They have done nothing to address popular discontent during the summer months.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” notes that leaders of the three parties represented in Armenia’s government have not held meetings of their coordinating council for more than three months. They now see each other when Robert Kocharian invites them to the presidential palace to discuss some issues. The paper quotes an unnamed parliamentarian from the Dashnaktsutyun party as saying that the coalition partners do not have anything to discuss or clarify anymore.