“Hayots Ashkhar” looks at the Russian-Georgian standoff and its possible consequences for Armenia. The paper argues that since the “existing situation will hold for quite a while” Armenia risks facing an even greater geographic isolation from the rest of the world. “This fact can not fail to be worrying. It can not be cause for imprudent political steps either. Therefore, the prospect of continued Russian-Georgian tensions is making it imperative for Armenia to accelerate work on the gas pipeline from Iran as much as possible.” Another “accident” on the Russian pipeline pumping gas into Georgia and Armenia may well occur in such circumstances, according “Hayots Ashkhar.”
“Azg” slams the controversial Russian police crackdown on Georgian-owned businesses and ordinary Georgians living in Russia. “Every day, Russian media report on arrests of Georgian criminal groups … in one or another city. It is obvious why the Russian law-enforcers show so much zeal now in identifying ethnic Georgian gangs,” the paper says, adding that the crackdown is part of the Russian retaliation against Tbilisi.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” condemns Nagorno-Karabakh President Arkady Ghukasian for his reported intention to seek a third term in office next year, saying that he is thereby putting the region’s de facto independence at serious risk. “He is doing everything to have the international community finally turn its back on Karabakh and perceive any Azerbaijani action against Karabakh as a fight against a dictatorial regime, rather than a blatant violation of international norms,” writes the paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that the upcoming local election in Yerevan’s Ajapnyak district may open serious cracks within the so-called “Aparan clan” of Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian. All four men seeking registration as election candidates, including Hovsepian’s brother Ruben, are affiliated with Hovsepian’s Nig-Aparan organization. The paper says this represents a unique opportunity for the Armenian opposition to nominate its own candidate and thwart Hovsepian’s plans. “But our opposition does not deal with such petty matters,” it notes tartly. “And in general, our oppositionists content themselves with just a few things. They don’t claim the tens of thousands of [government] posts in the republic. They just need three posts: that of president of the republic, chairman of the National Assembly and prime minister.”
“Iravunk” alleges that Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian and his loyalists in the southern Ararat region have launched a “large-scale” harassment campaign against local activists of the opposition Union for Constitutional Rights (SIM). The paper, which is controlled by the SIM, says they are resorting to “threats, blackmail, administrative pressure and bribe attempts” to force the activists to quit the party.
“Hayk” reports that buying large amounts of U.S. dollars from currency exchange offices in Yerevan is practically impossible these days, despite the Armenian dram’s continuing appreciation against the greenback. “It is obvious that in Armenia the dollar is an elite commodity which only elite members can buy in large quantities,” says the paper.