Reporting on the weekend congress of the Yerkrapah Union, “Iravunk” singles out a “tough statement” on the Nagorno-Karabakh issued by the war veterans. The paper believes that Armenia’s diplomacy needs it at this point to show the international community that there is strong domestic opposition to serious concessions to Azerbaijan.
“Despite renewed speculation, the Yerkrapah Union of volunteers has once again not split,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” The paper says it is still unclear why five members of Yerkrapah’s previous board refused to attend the congress. Only one of them, Albert Bazeyan, has publicly explained his motives. Unlike Bazeyan, some of the other Yerkrapah dissenters “actively participated in the realization of vote irregularities” last year and should not be particularly unhappy with the authorities. Besides, adds the paper, many Yerkrapah members who fought against vote rigging did take part in the conference.
“In recent years Armenia has moved from an authoritarian system to a system based on contractual relations between criminal groups,” a prominent oppositionist, Ashot Manucharian, tells “Aravot.” “That is, criminal groups active in Armenia agree on the maintaining usurped power, misappropriating material things and exploiting people.” Asked about a “council on foreign policy” which he set up with Vazgen Manukian and Paruyr Hayrikian, Manucharian describes it as “the first attempt to form an extensive civil system.” “We will limit the activities of the criminal regime in that important sphere,” he says. Manucharian reaffirms in this regard his strong opposition to the dispatch of Armenian troops to Iraq, saying that Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian are simply currying favors with the United States.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says the dollar’s rapid depreciation in Armenia has given rise to an earlier-than-expected pre-Christmas shopping binge as many people convert their dollar savings into drams and spend them as quickly as possible. All of this is resulting in higher prices.
“All over the world fuel prices are going down, but not in Armenia,” complains “Azg.” The paper says the reason for that is that “Armenia’s fuel market is not at all free” and only a small circle of businessmen is allowed to make money there.
“Aravot” agrees with this explanation. “The price of petrol is rising in Armenia only for one reason. Our senior government officials allow petrol oligarchs operating under their tutelage to make disproportionate profits.” The fuel prices go down only when the government decides so. The same is true for the dollar-dram exchange rate, says the paper, pointing to dollar’s strengthening that followed Kocharian’s meeting with the management of Armenia’s Central Bank.