“Aravot” deplores the fact that the 15th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence adopted by Armenia’s first post-Communist parliament in 1990 was not officially marked on Tuesday. “The anniversary should have been newsworthy to at least 3 percent of the population,” the paper says, suggesting that only the authors of the declaration realize its significance. It denounces Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s written statement issued on the occasion as “silly.”
Dashnaktsutyun leader Levon Mkrtchian assures “Hayots Ashkhar” that the Council of Europe and other European structures are not pressuring the Armenian authorities to push their constitutional amendments through the upcoming referendum at any cost. “The president of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly has just noted that a positive outcome of the referendum is desirable because the existing constitutional draft meets international standards,” says Mkrtchian. “But let us not forget that it is an expression of the will of citizens of a particular sovereign country and nobody can influence its results or affect them otherwise.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments on President Robert Kocharian’s remark that Russian press speculation about Armenia “betraying” Russia is “narrow-minded.” “It is very likely that that narrow-mindedness does exist in the Russian establishment,” writes the paper. “But the problem is that the causes of that narrow-mindedness have been passed on to the Russian elite by Armenia’s leadership.” The paper believes that the Russian-Armenians equities-for-debt agreements and the recent takeover of the Armenian power grids by a Russian company are also the “result of narrow-mindedness.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says Armenia’s Public Service Regulatory Commission did not clarify in a statement on Tuesday whether it thinks the power grid takeover violated the terms of the operating license granted to the British-registered Midland Resources Holding in 2002. “It can only be inferred from that text that despite the previous grandiose statements, the commission in effect does not see any violations of the license in the deal” signed by Midland and Russia’s UES power monopoly.
Newspapers also report on the sudden depreciation of the Armenian dram. “The Armenian dram is depreciating so fast that workers of currency exchange offices spend a good part of the day changing numbers [on their exchange rate boards],” says “Azg.” “Some exchange offices do not operate at all because people are not taking risks.” The paper questions the Central Bank’s claims that the dram’s exchange rate been affected by the Chinese currency, the yuan. “Why is it that the currencies of our neighboring states are not depreciating due to the yuan?”