(Saturday, September 17)
“If somebody thinks that three years ago George Bush summoned [Mikhail] Saakashvili and said, ‘I’m fed up with [Eduard] Shevardnadze and am appointing you as Georgia’s next president; here is a bunch of roses for you; do your revolution,’ they are naïve people,” editorializes “Aravot.” “Quite the opposite. According to reliable reports, even at a time when the people spent several days on the streets of Tbilisi, the Americans were not quite inclined to [support] regime change there.” But the paper says foreign powers eventually support “winners.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” disagrees with those opposition politicians who believe that the best way to scuttle President Kocharian’s constitutional reform is to urge a popular boycott of the upcoming referendum. The paper thinks that the rejection of the reform requires an active involvement in the process.
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) is working on a future law that will provide for an indirect election of Yerevan’s mayor. The paper quotes a Dashnaktsutyun leader, Hrair Karapetian, as saying that the nationalist party believes that the Yerevan mayor should be chosen by an elected city council, rather than voters.
Emma Khudabashian, a maverick opposition lawmaker, complains in a “Haykakan Zhamanak” interview that by linking everything happening in Armenia to Serzh Sarkisian opposition leaders make ordinary people feel that the defense minister is “omnipotent” and their future president. “It is the opposition that has reinforced the popular perception about the absence of an alternative to Serzh Sarkisian, linking any rift within its ranks with him” she claims. “It is the opposition that turned him into the most powerful figure,” she adds.
“Aravot” notes that Garnik Nanagulian, a former Armenian government minister with that it calls a “dubious reputation,” now runs the New York branch of an Armenian-American charity. “Garnik Nanagulian was perhaps the most untouchable of Armenia’s ministers,” writes the paper. “In all dubious situations he was salvaged by some mysterious force. The man who was responsible for Armenia’s industry in 1996-98 distinguished himself with a number of privatization deals struck in those years: ArmenTel, Hotel Armenia, the Sotk gold mines. The media described them as shady deals.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” considers the approval of two Armenian genocide resolutions by the House International Relations Committee to be “the beginning of new U.S. pressures on Turkey.” “The American side is convinced that in order to impede the recognition of the Armenian genocide Turkey will have to make serious concessions both to the European Union and [the U.S.],” says the paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” suggests that the Americans may be using the resolutions as a bargaining chip in their efforts to get the Turks to open the border with Armenia.
“One thing is clear,” comments “Aravot.” “The Armenian authorities got a good opportunity to temporarily shift the attention of Armenia’s population away from acute internal problems,” says the paper.