“Iravunk” reports that Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has had a telephone conversation with President Robert Kocharian in connection with attempts by the Armenian population of Javakheti to prevent the withdrawal of Russian troops stationed in the Georgian region. Citing unnamed officials in the Armenian presidential administration, the paper says Saakashvili urged Kocharian to help to end the protests.
“The position of the Javakheti Armenians on this issue can not be decisive and the [local] Armenians are only being used as a tool in this phase of the escalation of Russian-Georgian relations,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” “The Russians will eventually leave [Georgia], but tension will persist and the local Armenians will have to deal with the Georgian authorities in those conditions.” The paper warns the Javakheti Armenians against “protecting the interests of a third party.” “Javakheti and especially Armenia must not intervene in the currently tense Russian-Georgian relations in any way,” it concludes.
“Russia has stepped onto a path leading to its transformation into a fascist state,” Vartan Harutiunian, a human rights campaigner and Soviet-era dissident, tells “Aravot,” commenting on the wave of deadly attacks on ethnic minorities in Russia. Harutiunian describes the racially motivated killings of Armenians and other people from the Caucasus and Central Asia as “manifestations of Russian chauvinism and fascism.” “The extermination of a whole nation, the Chechens, is considered a normal phenomenon in modern-day Russia,” he says. “And for them, the murder of a few Armenians, Azerbaijanis or Tajiks doesn’t mean anything.”
“Azg” quotes Ara Abrahamian, chairman of the Union of Armenians of Russia, as saying that five Armenians have been killed in Russia during the first quarter of this year alone. Abrahamian believes that the Russian authorities’ characterization of racists crimes as acts of “hooliganism” and failure to punish their perpetrators only encourages more such attacks.
“It is time for the Russian authorities to realize the simple truth that if only citizens with a Slavic look remain in their country, the Moscow region will be all that is left of mighty Russia,” writes “Taregir.” “A territory the size of Armenia. And they will not have the gas with which they are now pressurizing importer countries and the oil proceeds from the sale of which enables them to support the country and pay those judges who are humane enough in setting punishments for skinheads.”
“Iravunk” goes further, saying that the latest killing of an ethnic Armenian teenager in Moscow was part of a Russian “blackmail” of Armenia. The paper claims that the Russians have thereby warned that if Armenia continues to drift towards the West, its big Diaspora in Russia “might become a victim of deportations.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” makes the point that for all his tough anti-government rhetoric, opposition leader Aram Karapetian is not really in opposition to Armenia’s ruling regime. The paper sees no major difference between Karapetian and Kocharian, saying that both men want to subordinate Armenia to Russia.