“Iravunk” gives details of an “incident” that took place when President Robert Kocharian visited Gyumri to commemorate the 17th anniversary of the 1988 earthquake on Wednesday. “When women standing outside the regional administration attempted to approach him and present their grievances, policemen surprisingly did everything to prevent them from socializing with the president of Armenia,” says the paper. “Furthermore, they also barred journalists from talking to the president. One is left to conclude that after the super-fraud of November 27 he seems to have nothing to say to those people who are not his minions.”
“The events of recent weeks have showed that the opposition has absolutely no impact on the current political processes in Armenia,” comments “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “Nor do they possess any real levers.”
“Since not a single vote rigger has been punished in the last ten years, it can be said that this impunity is not the result of the sloppiness or incompetence of the law-enforcement bodies,” editorializes “Aravot.” “The authorities need such officials [rigging elections], members of various-level election commissions so that they do the same things both in 2007 and 2008. The authorities also do not want those individuals to be scared of committing crimes and be confident about their impunity. If there is even one single precedent of a punished election rigger, the entire system will show serious cracks.”
“Ayb-Fe” says regretfully that the opposition has dashed all hopes for a post-referendum regime change. “The already low degree of popular activity has all but disappeared,” it says. “One is left to wait for the return of Raffi Hovannisian, who was searched at the airport, from Vienna.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the speaker of the upper house of Russia’s parliament, Sergei Mironov, was accompanied by a Russian folk music band when he visited the National Assembly in Yerevan on Thursday. The band played in the parliament’s main lobby, forcing deputy speaker Vahan Hovannisian to interrupt an afternoon session. The most noteworthy thing, according to the paper, is that many Armenian deputies reacted scornfully to the unusual show. “On one hand, they say they are going to raise gas prices, but on the other, they come here and throw a party,” an unnamed leader of the parliament majority is quoted as saying. “Instead of saying that the [Russian] gas won’t become more expensive, they give a concert,” agreed opposition deputy Arshak Sadoyan.
“The expression of such views was widespread in the National Assembly yesterday,” says “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “Whereas in the not-so-distant past the strategic partnership of Russia and Armenia was not called into question, the situation is quite the opposite now.”