“Hayots Ashkhar” runs an interview with Hranush Hakobian, one of few female members of the Armenian parliament, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, a public holiday in Armenia. Hakobian, who heads the parliament committee on social affairs, reveals a new phenomenon: in many rural parts of the country girls do not go to school because their parents can not afford that. The girls are thus forced to stay at home and do the house chores, she says. “And yet they are future mothers. What kind of a generation can the illiterate woman bring up in the 21st century? This is a problem about which one must be concerned today,” continues Hakobian.
“Azg” laments what it sees as a triumph of “materialistic values” in Armenia at the expense of “the richness of human soul.”
As if to underpin this point, “Aravot” carries more eccentric quotes from a wealthy pro-government parliamentarian who was nearly jailed last month in the United Arab Emirates for alleged shoplifting. Hakob Hakobian is quoted as saying the works of famous Armenian poets and novelists are useless in modern life because they were written long ago. “Those books were written a hundred or two hundred years ago,” he explains. “Today people’s mentality is different. I think those books do not tell us anything new. I don’t think that by reading those books we will increase or decrease our knowledge.”
Another rich lawmaker, Murad Guloyan, tells “Aravot” he very much likes one of those writers, Raffi, but does not read his books. Guloyan says he regularly reads instead fairy tales by another prominent writer, Hovannes Tumanian.
“Iravunk” notes that Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s illness did not keep the Russian, French and U.S. co-chairs of the OSCE’s Minsk Group from arriving in Prague and meeting with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov. The paper insinuates that Armenia’s participation in the peace talks is no longer necessary for a resolution of the Karabakh conflict. It goes on to link that with new demonstrations planned by the Armenian opposition for next month. “One gets the impression that Robert Kocharian will even benefit from having a destabilization of the internal political situation in April so that he can delay the signing of a tentative agreement on the Karabakh issue.”
“Azg” claims that the Russian and U.S. presidents reached an agreement on Karabakh at their recent meeting in Bratislava. The paper says Kocharian and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliev could meet in Warsaw in May. “But it is unlikely that they will sign some agreement because the conflicting parties are still clearly far from signing any peace accord.”