“Aravot” disagrees with Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s Wednesday remark that Armenia can develop economically without being involved in regional projects. “To have such an external debt … and declare to the outside world that our country has proven that it can survive and develop without all kids of regional programs means pouring petrol on the fire,” writes the paper. Yerevan risks persuading the World Bank and other Western lenders that Armenia no longer needs international assistance.
“The oppositionists have no idea of what they need to do,” comments “Hayots Ashkhar.” The leaders of the Artarutyun bloc and the National Unity Party are now focusing their attention to drawing up various documents, making speeches and publishing them in newspapers. The paper says the Armenian authorities are thus “for the first time meeting the political autumn without a serious opposition” and have a “unique chance” to consolidate the society.
“Golos Armenii” denounces the weekend by-election to parliament as a farce. “As a result of the ‘elections’ held in an atmosphere of widespread vote bribes and fear there is now one more nicknamed big belly in the Armenian parliament,” the paper says of Orinats Yerkir’s Artak Sargsian. The paper pours scorn on parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian’s party, saying that anyone with a lot of money can join and represent it in the National Assembly.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian Aryan Union, an extreme nationalist group, is threatening to publicize a list of government ministers and deputies who it says are homosexuals. Armen Avetisian, the leader of the group known for his xenophobic discourse, says he already has “100 percent correct facts and photographs about homosexual relations of two ministers, two deputies and two senior officials.” Avetisian promises to unveil the “evidence” to the media. The paper sounds quite sympathetic to the initiative. “There is an impression that being gay has become very fashionable in our government elite and the public does have the right to know who they are,” it says. They must come clean about their sexual orientation so that the people can decide “whether being gay is a hindrance to holding a senior post.”
A new weekly newspaper, “168 Zham” (168 Hours), looks at possible reasons for the former Karabakh strongman Samvel Babayan’s release from prison. The paper says Babayan’s return to active politics is unlikely due to his poor health and inability to hold senior government posts. “It seems more likely that he has been given the task of solving some issues in Armenia’s inner-government relations,” it speculates.
But “Hayots Ashkhar” finds such talk erroneous, attributing Babayan’s release to the instincts of forgiveness and tolerance inherent in human beings.