“Aravot” believes that Armenia is only suffering from the absence of a U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, saying that the nomination of Richard Hoagland by President George W. Bush is being “unduly politicized” by Armenian-American lobby groups. “The logic guiding those who reject Hoagland’s candidacy may get us too far,” editorializes the paper. “Imagine what a stupid situation Armenia would find itself in if, say, Georgian Armenians or British Armenians suddenly rise up tomorrow and demand that their governments appoint ambassadors that have recognized the genocide.”
“They already realize in Turkey that they will hardly manage to prevent the recognition of the Armenian genocide by the U.S. Congress,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” “And so their last hope is President George Bush who may not sign a document adopted by legislators.” But, says the paper, the Republican administration is unlikely to antagonize the Armenian-American community ahead of the next U.S. presidential election.
“In essence, Kocharian’s regime is based on an oligarchy,” says “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “The oligarchs have effectively become feudal chieftains, having unrestricted power in their respective areas and being authorized by the authorities to execute people … The oligarchs are keeping their neighborhoods, territories, settlements in a state of terror and receive a number of privileges in return. That includes the privilege not to pay taxes and duties and stand above the law. They thereby gain greater leverage to exert pressure on what surrounds them.”
“168 Zham” comments on President Kocharian’s latest criticism of Armenia’s tax collection agencies and warning that their employees must steer clear of politics. “Like it or not, the [government’s] 2007 budget is, in a sense, a pre-election budget and can hardly be executed without tough steps,” says the paper. “On the other hand, it is no secret that it is shadowy business that takes care of pre-election expenses [of pro-government parties and candidates.] In other words, the tax and customs bodies may not deal with elections, but elections are handled instead by those who are presumed targets of ‘tough actions.’” The paper predicts that small and medium-sized businesses will again bear the brunt of the government’s drive to increase its tax revenues, while the big fish will remain off the hook.
“Hayk” reports on mounting tensions between the Republican mayor of Armenia’s third largest city of Vanadzor, Samvel Darpinian, and a senior parliament deputy representing a local constituency, Vahram Baghdasarian. The paper says a bitter argument between one of Darpinian’s nephews and a Baghdasarian loyalist descended into a gunfight this week.