“Aravot” reports that presidential adviser Armen Gevorgian, Local Government Minister Hovik Abrahamian and former Communist boss Vladimir Movsisian are among the candidates to coordinate the Armenian authorities’ pre-referendum campaign for the passage of constitutional amendments. But the paper is skeptical about their chances to get the job. It says in particular that Abrahamian’s candidacy is opposed by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun).
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that Yerevan Mayor Yervand Zakharian will soon be replaced by his controversial predecessor, Robert Nazarian. The paper says President Kocharian and his entourage have decided to “sacrifice one or two unpopular officials” ahead of the constitutional referendum.
“Aravot” reports that forensic experts have concluded that the arrested mayor of the town of Nor Hajn, Armen Keshishian, shot and killed a man from a pistol that was given to him by Prime Minister Andranik Markarian. “Given that it is not the first time that a crime is committed with a weapon presented by the prime minister, the president of Armenia instructed the chief of the Police Service and the head of the National Security Service to summon to the police all those individuals who received personal weapons from the prime minister,” says the paper. It claims that there are 589 such individuals.
“Ayb-Fe” notes that Armenian law allows Markarian to award weapons to distinguished persons. “But in many cases, many acquaintances [of Markarian] acquire guns and then ask the prime minister to formalize them as gifts,” says the paper. “Nobody can deny that the prime minister was too friendly in such cases.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” attributes renewed tensions in Georgia’s Javakheti region to Russia’s attempts to “once again use the Armenians as a truncheon for not letting the region slip out of its hands.” “One is left to hope that prudence will at last prevail and Russia will not succeed in solving its petty issues at our expense,” says the paper.
“Azg” sees a serious contradiction between Markarian’s Thursday remark that plans to build a railway connecting Georgia to Turkey are Tbilisi’s internal affair and Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s statements on the subject. Oskanian, for example, sent a letter to the European Commission on May 30 expressing concern about the project. The paper wonders if the move was agreed with Markarian. It says officials at the Armenian Foreign Ministry believe that the planned railway would contribute to Armenia’s economic isolation.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that the Armenian opposition may have failed to unseat the pro-Kocharian prefect of Yerevan’s Kentron district but the leader of youth wing of Artashes Geghamian’s National Unity Party won the largest number of votes in Sunday’s election of Kentron’s legislative council. Geghamian hails it as a major achievement.