Armenian newspapers continue to comment on the controversial settlement of Armenia’s gas dispute with Russia.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” notes that high-ranking officials who are now touting the “equities-for-gas” deal as a major achievement for Armenia publicly voiced their opposition to such a settlement not long ago. Among them are Prime Minister Andranik Markarian, Energy Minister Armen Movsisian and Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian. “The mentioned officials could not have made such statements without checking with Robert Kocharian or at least knowing his opinion and mood,” says the paper. “Thus we, citizens of Armenia, are witnessing a situation or a realization of the scenario which was rejected by three of the country’s key officials.”
“With this deal, the Russians have been handed not only the Hrazdan power plant but also its territory,” writes “Taregir.” “It has been valued at $60 million. The sum will be transferred to the extra-budgetary bank account of the Defense Ministry. Thus, Armenia has sold to the Russians not only its energy sector but a part of its territory. That is, Kocharian along with the Defense Ministry has violated Armenia’s territorial integrity.”
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” Dashnaktsutyun leader Vahan Hovannisian predicts that some of the newly formed Armenian parties, including Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia and Samvel Babayan’s Dashink, will win seats in Armenia’s next parliament. Hovannisian also says the opposition Artarutyun alliance and National Unity Party will retain their parliament seats.
“168 Zham” says that parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian assured an unspecified “American politician” a few months ago that his Orinats Yerkir Party has the largest following in Armenia. Baghdasarian is said to have claimed that he can rally tens of thousands of people wearing Orinats Yerkir T-shirts in the streets of Yerevan at any moment. “Unfortunately, the Americans did not wonder how much Baghdasarian will pay people for wearing those T-shirts,” says the paper.
“Vazgen Manukian was the first to state that if nothing changes in the country he will not take part in the parliamentary elections of 2007,” observes “Golos Armenii.” “Then such statements were made by [another opposition politician] Hovannes Hovannisian. Raffi Hovannisian agreed with this position recently. Armenia is a unique country with a unique opposition. Only here is the opposition busy complaining about the absence of greenhouse conditions [for its activities].”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” reports that the son-in-law of Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian has been appointed as assistant prosecutor of Yerevan’s Shengavit district. “Note that being Hovik Abrahamian’s son-in-law is not a negative phenomenon in itself,” the paper comments tartly. “It’s just this son-in-law’s entire education is confined to a police academy. According to well-informed sources, this appointment is simply an unprecedented phenomenon.”