“Announcements of a revolution [by the Armenian opposition] are not serious,” President Robert Kocharian’s national security adviser, Garnik Isagulian, tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “There is no such social or political demand within the society. Perhaps some attempts to heighten political tension will be made but they will end up the way they did in the past.”
Of greater concern to the Armenian authorities, according to Isagulian, are recent armed clashes between various business clans. “Many of our wealthy persons have created bodyguard structures. Some of them even have personal security services.” The state “must quickly react” if their representatives continue to settle scores.
“Iravunk” does not anticipate “big shifts” in the opposition camp in the coming weeks. “More interesting shifts are expected within the government,” it says, predicting the dismissal of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian. A “criminal balance” which the paper says has been at the heart of political stability in Armenia for the past decade has also been disrupted.
“Aravot” reports that a Council of Europe report quotes Kocharian as saying that he was officially authorized by the Nagorno-Karabakh leadership to represent the unrecognized republic in peace talks with Azerbaijan. Asked to comment on this assertion, an aide to Karabakh President Arkady Ghukasian, Manvel Sargsian, says: “We have no desire to solve our problems by inflicting any moral damage on the people of Armenia. Therefore, the question about the NKR giving the president of Armenia a mandate [to negotiate with Azerbaijan] seems pointless. We believed and believe that negotiations without the NKR’s participation are not only ineffective but also create serious problems for Armenia and the NKR.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the authorities’ stubborn refusal to lift the ban on the independent A1+ television stems from President Robert Kocharian’s repeated pledges to turn Armenia into “the most organized state of the region.” “Yesterday the National Commission on Television and Radio took yet another step against those who want to see our state ‘disorganized,’ barring A1+ from radio broadcasts as well,” it writes. The commission’s presidentially appointed chairman, Grigor Amalian, thus remained “boringly predictable.”
“Azg” claims that the dollar’s dramatic slide against the Armenian dram has hit hard not only Armenians dependent on hard currency remittances but also those foreign investors that made dollar investments in the country. “While our rulers are trying to breathe an artificial life into the dram, all over the world the dollar has unexpectedly changed course. Experts believe that the dollar’s rise, resulting from favorable winds blowing in the American economy, will continue. However, those waves of change will not reach Armenia as our financial market continues to develop in accordance with its laws irrelevant to the outside world.”