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Press Review


“168 Zham” reports that Gerard Cafesjian, a U.S. millionaire of Armenian descent, is extremely unhappy with the staunchly pro-government news reporting of an Armenian television station sponsored by him. The paper says Cafesjian feels that the director of the network called Armenia TV, Bagrat Sargsian, “wastes huge sums invested by him on pleasing the authorities and spreading disinformation glorifying them.” The Armenia TV coverage has left Cafesjian in an “awkward situation,” it claims. “There are already reports that Cafesjian wants to change the TV company chief.”

“Hayots Ashkhar” dismisses any criticism of the transfer of Russian military equipment from Georgia to Armenia, saying that it is good for the Armenians. “Not only can Armenia feel more confident in terms of defense but also expect tangible economic dividends in return for some assistance given to its ally,” argues the paper.

“Hayots Ashkhar” also comes up with the following formula for a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: “Oil to Azerbaijan, independence to Karabakh.” The paper says Azerbaijan “has obtained what it has sought since the Karabakh ceasefire” with the construction of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline. It says failure to internationally recognize Karabakh’s secession from Azerbaijan would put peace in the region and the successful implementation of the Caspian oil projects at risk.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports on the creation of a new organization of Karabakh war veterans called the Armenian National Mobilization. The group mostly unites former members of a paramilitary group that was disbanded by Armenia’s first post-Communist government in 1990. Its leader Aram Torgomian, who holds a senior post at the Armenian Defense Minister, is quoted by the paper as rejecting any concessions to Azerbaijan, including the so-called lands-for-status formula.

“Golos Armenii” rejects Council of Europe criticism of President Robert Kocharian’s draft constitutional amendments. The pro-Kocharian paper claims that constitutional provisions which the Europeans want to be scrapped exist in many European Union countries. “A political order has been carried out. The radical oppositionists have rushed to support it and that stance is called treason.”

Opposition lawyer Vartan Poghosian tells “168 Zham” that failure to comply with the Venice Commission is fraught with very negative consequences. “Armenia would find itself in the position of Belarus,” he warns.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” continues to attack Saturday’s mass circle dance around Armenia’s highest mountain. “By dancing around Mount Aragats, 200,000 people wily nilly pledged their loyalty to Robert Kocharian and his regime,” writes the paper.

In an editorial on the controversial imprisonment of Russian oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky, “Aravot” says that in Russia and other ex-Soviet states criminal charges are brought only against those “oligarchs” challenge ruling regimes. “Maybe that is the reason why Armenia’s oligarchs love the current authorities so much,” says the paper.

(Hrach Melkumian)
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