“Golos Armenii” alleges widespread corruption and poor discipline among Russian border guards stationed in Armenia, pointing to the ongoing trial in Moscow of their former commander, General Oboimov. The Russian-language paper says their current commander, General Bondarev, “does not want to understand that he works in the territory of a foreign state where he is a guest, not a master.” “Or maybe the general thinks that nobody knows about his wide-ranging activities in the so-called border guard cottage which is meant for negotiations with representatives of Turkish border guards. Or maybe the general relies on the backing of his Moscow patrons and is therefore confident about his impunity.”
“Golos Armenii” goes on to claim that every month the Russian border guard chiefs in Armenia send at least 15 containers filled with Armenian brandy, fruits and even crawfish to Moscow.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says Russia’s “gas blockade” has dealt a “new and irreversible blow to Armenia’s geopolitical significance.” “For the first time in the last 35 years Iran began supplying gas to Georgia,” the paper says, adding that the supply line runs through Azerbaijan, not Armenia. It says the latter will now find it even more difficult to serve as a transit route for Iranian gas.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” likens the latest political developments in Armenia to a “mass mobilization.” “One gets the impression that there will soon be a decisive battle. Rival camps are now busy consolidating their forces and reinforcing their positions,” says the paper.
“Iravunk” reports that Prime Minister Andranik Markarian and Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian have agreed to cooperate in the 2007 parliamentary election even if the latter does not contest the vote on the ticket of Markarian’s Republican Party (HHK). Citing HHK sources, the paper says the idea is to make sure that “newly created pro-government parties are not able to make the HHK electorate smaller.”
According to “Aravot,” Markarian and other HHK leaders met over the weekend to discuss preparations for the 2007 vote. “The HHK has begun drawing up its electorate slate which will again include Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian,” it says. Citing anonymous sources, the paper claims that the Republicans want the Dashnaktsutyun party to win only up to 10 percent of the vote and to prevent their second coalition partner, Orinats Yerkir, from getting any parliament seats.
In an interview with “Aravot,” opposition leader Stepan Demirchian says that by claiming that irregularities reported during the recent referendum were made possible by the opposition boycott of election commissions the Armenian government admits that it is a “thief.” “Their logic is this: we are thieves, catch us if you can,” he says.
“Azg” reports that an unspecified aide to Kocharian is visiting and closely inspecting the premises of Armenian state television of late. “It is not yet clear what the purpose of that interest is,” says the paper. It suggests that a leadership change at the Kocharian-controlled Public Television may be in the cards.