“Zhamanak Yerevan” notes that Armenia has agreed to resume direct talks with Azerbaijan despite earlier threats to boycott them over the Karabakh problem’s inclusion on the UN General Assembly agenda. The paper speculates that the threats were not taken seriously by the international community and Yerevan had no other choice than returning to the negotiating table. Still, President Robert Kocharian has declared in an interview with the Arabic-language Al-Jazeera television that Karabakh should either be recognized as an independent republic or be incorporated into Armenia.
“168 Zham” reports that Karabakh President Arkady Ghukasian has signaled his intention to seek a third five-year term in office, even though an existing Karabakh law bars him from doing that. But as the unrecognized republic’s chief prosecutor Armen Zalinian told the parliament in Stepanakert this week, the upcoming adoption of Karabakh’s first-ever constitution will mean a new countdown of presidential terms. The paper believes that by clinging to power after completing his second term next year Ghukasian will deal a serious blow to Karabakh’s democratic credentials.
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” political expert Aleksandr Iskandarian claims that corruption is not necessarily an obstacle to the strengthening of Armenia’s independence and economic development because it is largely acceptable to most Armenians. Iskandarian says the problem’s quick elimination would therefore reflect negatively on economic growth and political stability. “Of course it must be admitted that corruption and criminal activity is everywhere, not just in government, but the education system, business and at lower levels,” he says. “So the problem exists and that problem must be solved. But the society must also be prepared for that struggle … To put it bluntly, today corruption is a grease that ensures the steady work of the Armenian economy. Without it the economy would simply stop functioning.”
According to “Golos Armenii,” the Armenian opposition has heavily exploited the problem of corruption for political aims, but to no avail. “The people have grown wiser,” says the paper. “How could they have bought into that ploy after seeing in the opposition ranks former prime ministers, ministers, mayors, tax and customs chief that had distinguished themselves with anything but honest and just work or, God forbid, attempts to combat corruption.”