“Iravunk” reports that President Robert Kocharian has warned his allies and subordinates that if they fail to restore their unity and to behave in a “consolidated” manner “all of them will face ruin.” “This might explain the let-up in the bitter confrontation between the prime minister and the National Assembly speaker,” says the paper. But it claims that Kocharian’s regime is facing continuing pressure from Washington and getting no support from Moscow.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” likewise notes that tensions between Prime Minister Andranik Markarian and parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian “seem to be easing.” “But within a month or two the confrontation between the Republican Party, Orinats Yerkir and Dashnaktsutyun will undergo another escalation,” predicts the paper. It says their infighting will be even more fierce. “The thing is that local elections are due in October and it is mainly the coalition ‘brotherhood’ that will be competing in 637 communities of the republic. For there is at least on one issue on which the coalition has decided to be united: never cede control of a single village to the opposition.” The three coalition parties at the same time admit that they will not field common candidates.
Problems within the coalition are serious indeed, according to “Ayb-Fe.” The paper also claims that Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian has confirmed his presidential ambitions in a private conversation. “If Serzh Sarkisian, who comes from the small Tegh village [in southeastern Armenia], wants to become president, why shouldn’t I want, having the huge [Aparan] region by my side?” Hovsepian is quoted as saying. “Mr. Hovsepian must have had the Almighty’s consent for making such a statement. So the prosecutor has begun flexing muscles,” comments the paper, pointing to a huge circle dance around Armenia’s highest mountain which is planned by Hovsepian’s Nig-Aparan organization.
“Aravot” accuses tax authorities of illegally “extorting” cash from small and medium-sized businesses in a bid to meet their increased revenues targets. The paper thinks that this method of improving tax collection is not sustainable and says the tax collectors have again lacked the courage to “knock on the oligarchs’ doors.” “They are not crazy to risk their lives.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports on a row over a formerly Armenian church in Tbilisi which the Georgian Orthodox Church is trying to take over. The paper describes events related to the controversy as “yet another sad example of barbaric destruction and misappropriation of Armenian monuments in Georgia” which calls into question the Georgian government’s commitment to “Western values.” “This fact must also not be ignored by various international organizations which have been trumpeting that Georgia has taken a historic step in building democracy thanks to the revolution of roses.”
“The issue is very simple,” writes “Azg.” “The Georgian church is trying to seize yet another Armenian church in Tbilisi.” The paper also says that “nationalism” remains the main characteristic of Georgia’s rulers.