(Saturday, July 2)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” writes that the Russian Unified Energy Systems (UES) company’s announcement that it has acquired Armenia’s power distribution network has had a “bombshell effect.” Analyzing the complicated character of the reported deal, the paper says, “It is understandable that if a Russian company wants to gain control over an important infrastructure, then it must merely inform a few of the leaders of Armenia which is considered a Russian outpost.”
Vladimir Pryakhin, head of the Yerevan mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, tells “Aravot” that Armenia will face no international sanctions if constitutional amendments drafted by its government are rejected at the planned referendum. “If all goes well and the changes are rejected, they will have to accept the outcome,” he says.
“The referendum on constitutional changes will end in success,” Gagik Melikian, a senior member of the governing Republican Party (HHK), tells “Golos Armenii.” Also, Melikian admits that the upcoming local elections will likely heighten tensions between the HHK and its coalition partners. But he says he is confident that the coalition will not fall apart as a result. “There are no agreements with the coalition parties regarding the upcoming local elections, and we are ready to fight in places where our candidates will be nominated,” he says. “And our candidates will be nominated everywhere.”
Writing in “Haykakan Zhamanak,” political analyst Aghasi Yenokian says “revolution” is the only way to bring about change in Armenia. Yenokian says the so-called “constitutional path” of democratization has been discredited by both Robert Kocharian and the opposition. “A real change in the government system, a real change in the economy and the creation of real security mechanisms can happen only through revolutionary means,” he concludes.
“Azg” notes that Armenians rejected Kocharian’s constitutional amendments at the May 2003 referendum without even familiarizing themselves with their essence. The paper says there is no reason to believe that they are now more familiar with the amendments that will be put to a referendum in November.
“Aravot” reports that Prime Minister Andranik Markarian was told by the leadership of Lithuania during his visit to the ex-Soviet Baltic state that “the path to democratization and European integration passes through a velvet revolution.” “For obvious reasons Armenia’s leaders can not enthusiastically accept this idea because they think that Armenia has already stepped on the path of European integration and democratization without a revolution.”
Citing Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, “Haykakan Zhamanak” says Lithuania is the European Union’s main liaison country for the South Caucasus and regards Georgia as the regional champion of democracy and European values. “In response to this statement by Lithuania’s president, the Armenian prime minister said that Georgia should first settle its relations with its neighbors and Russia in particular, and that Armenia does not need intermediaries to work with the EU,” reports the paper.
“Hayots Ashkhar” quotes Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian as saying that his agency embodies “high professional standards.” Hovsepian told his subordinates on Friday that despite some “shortcomings” in their work, they “largely meet international democratic standards.”