“Hayots Ashkhar” agrees with the Russian government’s claims that the bloody hostage drama at a school in Russia’s Republic of North Ossetia was orchestrated by “international terrorists” with the aim of stirring up further trouble in the Caucasus. “The pro-Russian orientation of the Ossetians was and remains the bedrock of Russia’s dominance in the entire Caucasus just as the Armenians’ [orientation] is in the South Caucasus. It is therefore not accidental that terrorist acts against the population of North Ossetia have been regularly carried out in recent years.” The paper believes that the slaughter of hundreds of innocent children in the Ossetian town of Beslan was aimed at weakening Russia’s position in the conflict over South Ossetia and “blowing up” the Russian North Caucasus.
“Hayots Ashkhar” also links the Beslan bloodbath with “the relentless rivalry of the superpowers which is continuing not only at the global but also regional level.” “It also became evident that international terrorism, which is considered the plague of the 21st century, has turned into an instrument of superpower rivalry the periodical blows of which continue to condemn small peoples to tragedies.”
“Aravot” attacks Russian President Vladimir Putin for drawing parallels between the conflicts in Chechnya and Nagorno-Karabakh. “According to Putin’s logic, if the Azerbaijani authorities were tougher with ‘Armenian terrorists,’ if they resisted the Karabakh people more fiercely, then the Karabakh tragedy would not have taken place and Azerbaijan would not have been partitioned,” the paper says in an editorial. “But such parallels are inappropriate. The situation in the NKR developed in a way absolutely different from what happened in Chechnya.”
“Since 1994 the Karabakh Armenians have been able to live in a de facto state of independence. Such an opportunity was also given to the Chechens in 1996,” argues “Aravot.” “But in Chechnya they began shooting people in the streets, the republic got flooded with international criminals coming from Muslim nations and kidnappings became an ordinary business. Chechnya invaded neighboring Dagestan with a lust for occupying and creating a certain caliphate. Unlike in Chechnya, neither the leadership nor the people of the NKR lost their human face and there has not been even a whiff of the mentioned phenomena there.”
“Iravunk” says the Armenian opposition did not use the summer period of political lull to “properly prepare for autumn battles.” Furthermore, the Artarutyun alliance and the National Unity Party are increasingly drifting apart in their preferred tactics of regime change. The paper says discord is also mounting inside the government camp. “It is now clear that all three parties in the ruling coalition are pursuing absolutely different goals.” The paper also agrees with the view that President Robert Kocharian is using Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian as a counterweight to Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the pro-establishment United Labor Party of businessman Gurgen Arsenian has withdrawn its endorsement of new constitutional amendments drafted by Kocharian and the coalition parties. The party objects to the proposed “distribution of powers of the National Assembly and the president of the republic.” Also having reservations is the chairman of the parliament committee on legal affairs, Rafik Petrosian.