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Press Review


“We are inclined to presume that the recent wave of discontent with the Russians was somewhat incited by the [Armenian] authorities,” “Aravot” writes in an editorial. “It is hard to tell whether that primitive blackmail will have an impact on [Russian President] Putin. In reality, being anti-Russian is just as counterproductive as being, say, anti-Turkish. All states dealing with us are guided only by their own interests. We failed to grasp that for centuries. We should have at last grasped in 1991.”

“Hayots Ashkhar,” however, remains unrepentant about its extremely critical attitude towards the Russian gas price hike. The paper says Russia, which already controls 80 percent of Armenia’s energy sector, is hungry for more Armenian assets. “Using the rise in the price of gas supplied to Armenia as a trump card, Russia would certainly like to get control over the Iran-Armenia pipeline.” The paper says such a deal would be highly unfavorable for Armenia.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the prices of some goods in Armenia are already rising in advance of the Russian gas price hike. “Businesspeople do not want to wait until they are suddenly left with a fait accompli,” says the paper.

Commenting on the Karabakh peace process, “Hayots Ashkhar” says Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev is facing a tough dilemma: to reject an international peace plan or act against Azerbaijan’s constitution which does not allow for an independence referendum in Karabakh.

“Aravot” reports that the main opposition bloc in Karabakh issued a statement on Tuesday expressing concern at the fact that the disputed region’s fate is being decided “without the Karabakh people.” The bloc comprises the local branch of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and a party called Dashink-88.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the leadership of the Armenian parliament is again discussing what to do with those deputies who missed most of its recent sittings. Under Armenian law, they must be stripped of their mandates if they fail to prove that their absence was “justified.” The chairman of the parliament committee on legal affairs, Rafik Petrosian, is quoted as complaining that many of the deputies have submitted dubious documents purporting to prove that they skipped parliament debates for good reason. He says the only lawmakers who do not file such statements are affiliated with the two opposition factions in the National Assembly. The parliament leadership does not want to expel them for purely political reasons.

“Aravot” agrees, arguing that the only Armenian parliamentarian to have his mandate revoked for absenteeism is the fugitive former Interior Minister Vano Siradeghian. “Many of the oligarchs who became deputies have been absent from the parliament even longer than Vano was in the past. But they find time to submit medical papers. And if those papers are authentic, then the businessmen not coming to the parliament are mainly sick individuals. If those papers are bogus, then it is the doctors writing them who are sick.”

(Hrach Melkumian)
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