“Aravot” says that President Robert Kocharian “avoided presenting the outstanding crucial problems” facing Armenia in his speech at the Third Armenia-Diaspora conference in Yerevan. The paper says Kocharian should have told Diaspora Armenian activists that since the previous such conference held four years ago Armenia has seen “fraudulent elections and referendum” and experienced a serious “retreat from the already shaky democracy, while its economy “has been finally handed to oligarchs and officials sponsoring them.”
“At the Armenia-Diaspora conference the words democracy, freedom, conciliation are either not uttered at all, or are uttered in a totally different subtext,” editorializes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “Even our American or European co-ethnics do not talk about the fact that their beloved and revered Armenia has become one of the world’s most corrupt countries. They are not saying that Armenia and modern-day values are now incompatible. Well, if they don’t talk about this, it means they have nothing else to say. The rest is just empty talk voiced in various languages.”
“Iravunk” reports that ultranationalist politician Armen Avetisian and the leader of his party’s youth section, Edgar Helelian, were questioned at the National Security Service for several hours on Monday over their “sharp statements” regarding the sexual orientation of Richard Hoagland, the U.S. ambassador-designate to Armenia. The paper suggests that Avetisian’s homophobic discourse is now seen by the authorities as a threat to Armenia’s national security.
“168 Zham” attacks Orinats Yerkir leader Artur Baghdasarian for stating that the next president of the republic must be a native of Armenia. The paper condemns this as a manifestation of “Armenian fascism,” saying that the place of birth of Armenian presidents is completely unimportant. “Backing the candidacy of the Karabakh-born Robert Kocharian in the presidential elections of 2003, Baghdasarian declared that it doesn’t matter where the president of Armenia comes from,” it recalls. “Maybe Artur Baghdasarian was doing that at the time in order to get into parliament.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that a group of allegedly armed men surrounded the house of Arayik Aghababian, head of the Armavir regional branch of Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia party, late on Monday and demanded that he “come out.” The paper says the men left after attracting neighboring residents’ attention. It quotes Aghababian as linking them with the governing Republican Party.
“Aghababian is a candidate in the upcoming election of mayor the town of Armavir,” notes “Zhamanak Yerevan.”