“Haykakan Zhamanak” draws readers’ attention to Russian State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov’s description of Armenia as “Russia’s bulwark in the Caucasus.” “Perhaps this statement would have been acceptable if Armenia’s president had been able to say, for his part, that Russia is Armenia’s bulwark in the north,” the paper comments bitingly. It also ridicules Gryzlov’s claims that Russia did not support any of the candidates in Ukraine’s flawed presidential election.
“Azg” reports that officials in Stepanakert are upset with Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s latest statements on the Karabakh conflict and Armenia’s Karabakh policy in general. The paper reminds of Yerevan’s threats to pull out of the peace process if Baku continues to refuse to negotiate with the Karabakh Armenians. It quotes an observer in Stepanakert as accusing the Armenian government of “killing the Karabakh factor” in the peace process. He says Yerevan’s actions “once again show Karabakh’s dependence on Armenia’s government.”
“Aravot” reports on parliament deputy Hmayak Hovannisian’s successful efforts to get the National Assembly to debate the possibility of partly restoring Armenians’ Soviet-era bank savings. The paper says the dominant sense among the parliamentarians is that Hovannisian is backed by a “quite influence force.” “Every one knows who he is. Some suggested that what happened was first of all directed against Prime Minister Andranik Markarian so as to show him that he does not have a majority in parliament. Secondly, [it was directed] against National Assembly Chairman Artur Baghdasarian so as to show him that he can be hit with his own cards. It was also made clear to Dashnaktsutyun that real power lies somewhere else.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” likewise says the fact that Hovannisian easily collected 66 signatures in support of his imitative demonstrated that Markarian and his Republicans do not control the 131-seat National Assembly. The paper also quotes Dashnaktsutyun’s parliamentary leader, Levon Mkrtchian, as effectively accusing Baghdasarian’s Orinats Yerkir Party of breaking the coalition ranks. But Mkrtchian does not think that somebody wants to weaken Markarian. “I am instead inclined to think that the parliament, as a political structure, is so weakened today that it can not react to any unexpected step in a serious and coordinated manner,” he says.