“Hayots Ashkhar” sees ulterior motives behind Azerbaijan’s perceived calls for international mediators to speed up their efforts at a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “They realize in Baku that a serious political struggle is expected in Armenia this spring and that an accelerated scenario of a Karabakh settlement could put the Armenian side in a difficult situation and leave it with a serious dilemma: to make concessions or torpedo the Prague process,” says the paper. “It is obvious that both options are beneficial for Azerbaijan.” It says Armenia should respond by capitalizing on renewed tensions in Azerbaijani-Russian relations and the prospect of international recognition of Kosovo’s independence.
“Aravot” complaints that unlike the assassination of Turkish-Armenian editor Hrant Dink, the violent death of yet another Armenian resident of Russia has attracted little media coverage. A 16-year-old schoolboy, Artur Mnatsakanian, was stabbed to death in a small town near Moscow on the same day that Dink was killed in Istanbul. “Naturally, the significance of these events is different,” editorializes the paper. “But not so different that one of them should be turned into a patriotic show white the other condemned to absolute indifference. Especially considering the fact that the Istanbul killing was the first crime of its kind committed in Turkey in recent years, while the killings of Armenians in Russia occur on an almost daily basis. Perhaps Artur could become a prominent individual like Hrant if grew up.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Nahapet Gevorgian, a parliament deputy from the southern Armavir region who was dismissed last month as head of the regional branch of the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), may now be forced not to stand in the upcoming parliamentary elections. The paper says a wealthy businessman, Aleksan Petrosian, has set his sights on Gevorgian’s parliament seat and has already secured Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s go-ahead for nominating his candidacy in the local single-mandate constituency. It claims that Petrosian will also pay $1 million to be included on the HHK’s proportional representation list.
“168 Zham” reports on Wednesday’s talks in Sochi between Presidents Robert Kocharian and Vladimir Putin. Putin’s statements made after the talks are construed by the paper as a sign that Russia wants to expand its economic presence in Armenia into transport and industry. The paper is worried that the two sectors of the Armenian economy may also “become property of Russia in the near future.” It also faults Kocharian for failing to raise the continuing racially motivated attacks on Armenians in Russia with Putin.