Newspapers continue to discuss the politically sensitive subject of homosexualism in Armenia which was thrown into the limelight by Armen Avetisian, an obscure extremist politician.
“Aravot” says calling someone a gay is becoming a convenient line of attack for Armenian pro-government politicians. “If you accuse your adversary of corruption, they will respond in the same way,” explains the paper. “If you accuse [them] of misusing state funds, they will point to the sum lost by you in Monte Carlo. The majority of our government representatives did not have the trump card with which they could crush their rivals. And at last they have found an excellent pastime corresponding to the intellectual potential of our parliament.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” lashes out at Avetisian, challenging him to come up with compelling evidence of his claims that many government officials and parliamentarians do not have a traditional sexual orientation. “If somebody accuses somebody else of homosexualism but presents no evidence, then he himself is gay,” the paper says.
But “Golos Armenii” takes Avetisian’s claims seriously, urging Armenia’s former KGB to deal with the matter. The paper believes that the presence of homosexuals in government could pose a “deadly threat to the state.”
“Iravunk” says leaders of the Dashnaktsutyun party were due to give concrete names when they held a news conference on Friday, calling on President Robert Kocharian to cleanse his entourage of corrupt individuals. Citing anonymous sources in the party’s leadership, the paper says Dashnaktsutyun eventually decided to back off from an overt confrontation with other government factions after receiving assurances from Kocharian that a government reshuffle is in the offing. Kocharian was thus given time to “do the job.”
“It is evident that the country lacks a political force that is able to get a popular vote of confidence, shoulder responsibility for building the country’s future and accomplish that mission successfully,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” The paper says only a broad-based coalition of responsible statesmen can do that and sets about selecting a “dream team” that would act like an interim government. It says the list will likely comprise members of Dashnaktsutyun, the Republican Party, the former ruling HHSh and other opposition forces as well as serving government officials that are “perhaps considered corrupt.” “The list will consist of several hundred persons and as a result of that draft and with the help of the readers we will suggest Armenia’s so-called dream government.”
Topping the “Haykakan Zhamanak” list is former Prime Minister Vazgen Manukian. The paper describes him as “one of few Armenian politicians who are prepared for the post of president.” “He is broad-minded, charismatic and politically very experienced,” it says.
“Azg” continues to criticize Russia for keeping its border with Georgia closed and thereby complicating Armenia’s communication with the outside world. “The Russian-Armenian strategic relationship is called into question,” declares the paper. “Moscow, which is considered Armenia’s close friend and sole strategic ally, has left Yerevan in a situation which is unprecedented for the last 13 years.” Moscow is thus “indirectly keeping Armenia under blockade.” This is construed by the paper as a sign of Russian discontent with Armenia’s growing ties with NATO. “If Russia really wants to stir up anti-Russian sentiment among Armenia’s political circles and the public in general then it can continue this blockade.”