“168 Zham” notes that Armenian opposition leaders promising to turn the upcoming constitutional referendum into a “referendum of confidence” in Robert Kocharian have still not come up with a joint plan of action. In fact, says the paper, they can not even agree on whether opposition supporters should reject Kocharian’s constitutional amendments or simply boycott the referendum.
As deputy parliament speaker Vahan Hovannisian assures “Hayots Ashkhar,” the Armenian opposition could not use the last presidential to topple Kocharian and will definitely fail to do so now. “This doesn’t mean that the government’s authority and strength do not depend on the referendum results,” says Hovannisian. “In case of the [referendum’s] failure, the authorities will need to draw serious conclusions. But that won’t lead to regime change.” The Dashnaktsutyun leader sees no prerequisites for a “velvet revolution” in Armenia.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” carries the official statement about Kocharian’s meeting with the leadership of the State Customs.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports in this regard that a group of plainclothes officials on Wednesday entered the SCC building in Yerevan, sealed its entrances and let agency staff out only after checking their identity. The paper says the building was surrounded by police cars in the process. “It turned out later, that Robert Kocharian was due to come to the Customs Committee,” it explains.
“Hayots Ashkhar” is unhappy with the amount of Russian investments in the Armenian economy. The pro-presidential paper says Russia should invest more in Armenia than the United States invests in Georgia not least because of Russian military presence in the country. “However, figures and facts show utter indifference, petty calculations based on short-term interests,” it complains. “If this policy continues for two or three years, Russia will lose not only Georgia and Azerbaijan but also Armenia, first economically and then politically.”
“Aravot” reveals that Karlos Petrosian, the former head of Armenia’s National Security Service, bought a villa in one of Spain’s most expensive resorts “a couple of years ago.” Real estate prices there start from 4,000 euros per square meter. The paper comments sarcastically that “the former KGB-man Karlos” did not want to lag behind “famous representatives of royal families and show business” that also have villas there.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” notes the fact that the two companies that were fined recently by the State Committee on the Protection of Economic Competition have foreign owners. The paper says this creates the false impression that “Western investors in Armenia are the most hostile to competition” while businesses controlled by Armenian oligarchs “would die without competition.”