“Haykakan Zhamanak” says Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s remark that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev’s supporters will win Sunday’s parliamentary election is “not only a prediction but desire.” “Armenia’s current President Robert Kocharian is aware that the fates of his and Aliev’s regimes are interconnected and that what happens to one leader could befall the other.” The paper says the international community “will do everything” to keep both men in power because they have made substantial progress towards the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “The fate of Ilham Aliev’s regime will already be clear by November 27, and the West will not have trouble deciding on its actions that will follow Armenia’s constitutional referendum,” it concludes.
Gevorg Poghosian, a pro-establishment pollster and sociologist, is quoted by “Hayots Ashkhar” as saying that the Armenian opposition has a “zero” chance of turning the referendum into an anti-government revolution.
In a separate interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” the chairman of the Armenian parliament’s foreign relations committee, Rafik Petrosian, says the key to winning the referendum is persuading Armenians that constitutional reform is good not only for the ruling regime but the opposition as well. “If they say ‘no’ or boycott [the referendum], what will change? Nothing,” he says. “The existing constitution would remain in force and that would be it.”
According to “Aravot,” the regime’s strategy of ensuring a “yes” vote is to associate the current constitution with Armenia’s unpopular former leadership.
“Fighting against corruption in Armenia is a waste of time,” comments “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “How can you fight against a phenomenon which is still not being identified?”
“Only newborns are probably unaware of the real scale and roots of Armenian corruption,” says “Aravot.” The paper says presidential adviser Bagrat Yesayan and his anti-corruption “monitoring commission” pretend not to realize this. Corruption in Armenia is therefore likely to become even more rampant in the foreseeable future, it claims.
“We have realized that Russia is not just Moscow,” Armenian Ambassador to Russia Armen Smbatian tells “Azg.” “As a market, Moscow is closed. Moscow is a separate state within Russia. We should work with Russian regions and that will be our success.”
“Golos Armenii” reports that Armenia’s notoriously corrupt traffic police will cut its workforce by a third before the end of this year. Eduard Hovannisian, who heads an organization representing motorists, says some 150 police officers will be laid off as a result. “There is a total of 450-500 traffic police inspectors in the system. This is a lot for a country like Armenia.”
“168 Zham” reports that the popular U.S.-Armenian rock band System of a Down is considering holding its first-ever concert in Armenia next year. Its lead singer Serj Tankian visited Yerevan last week and was interviewed by the weekly. “I think that we will come here in 2006,” Tankian said. “Probably for a concert.”