“Hayots Ashkhar” feels the Armenian parliamentarians who want a debate in the National Assembly on the issue of Soviet-era bank deposits have dealt a blow to Armenia’s “state interests.” The paper echoes the governing Republican Party’s warnings that by voting to partly compensate deposit holders Armenia will lose access to vital external loans. It goes on to condemn the decision to hold a debate on the issue as “the most disgraceful page in the history of the current parliament.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” adds that the parliament’s People’s Deputy group joined the imitative because its members, elected in single-mandate constituencies, are unhappy with the intra-coalition agreement to increase the number of parliament seats contested under the system of proportional representation. “They are therefore trying to stir up trouble within the coalition and sour relations between its members.” The paper accuses one of them, the Orinats Yerkir Party, of flouting terms of the June 2003 power-sharing agreement.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the influential Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian is confident that the deputies supporting the government on the issue will manage to kill the initiative during the parliament debate on Monday. “There will be no surprises in parliament on Monday,” he says. Abrahamian also tells the paper that “time is not working for the opposition” and that “the opposition needs to seriously rethink its political activities and behavior.”
“Ayb-Fe” editorializes that what Armenia needs is democracy, not nationalism. “In 2005 we must prove that we are not the most unworthy CIS nation,” it says. “Given the existing global developments, it is simply impossible to achieve success in foreign policy without being considered a democratic state. Quite naturally, the foreign minister [of Armenia] was the first government official to understand this simple truth.”
“Iravunk” looks at Russian parliament speaker Boris Gryzlov’s remark in Yerevan that Armenia is “Russia’s outpost in the Caucasus.” “In effect, he thereby let it be known that Russia does not intend to pull out of our region,” comments the paper. The Russians will therefore oppose Western-backed revolutions in Armenia, it says.
“Yerkir” is worried about the prospect of Turkey’s membership of the European Union. The Dashnaktsutyun weekly says if the Turks gain EU membership “the Europe imagined by all of us, including the Europeans themselves, will stop to exist.” “We, for out part, must draw certain conclusions regarding those who put forward to us lessons, advice and demands stemming from European standards.”