“Aravot” says Armenian leaders do realize where their country is heading for and have full information about its day-to-day affairs. “Furthermore, they know what they should do to normalize relations with neighbors, to weaken Russia’s influence, and to economically and politically integrate our country into the civilized world,” editorializes the paper, suggesting the following explanation for their perceived failure to take relevant steps. “Both opting for normal relations with neighbors and introduction of real market mechanisms into the economy and especially holding normal elections would jeopardize their prospects of clinging to power,” it says. “And for them, power is a sacred thing.”
“In essence, the fact that the opposition never united and failed to even nominate combat-ready figures in all 41 [single-member electoral] districts has disappointed the population,” writes “Iskakan Iravunk,” a new newspaper founded by the several former journalists of “Iravunk.” “People are tired of numerous ‘moral victories’ [claimed by the opposition] which change nothing in their and their countries’ lives. They are sick and tired of opposition leaders who constantly talk about revolutions but never lead them to barricades.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” wonders what led Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili to come to Armenia Thursday on a private visit shrouded in secrecy. “It may well be that Saakashvili asked Kocharian to delay deliveries of natural gas through the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline as long as possible,” speculates the paper. “They are convinced in Georgia that once Armenia starts receiving gas from Iran, Russia, which delivers gas to Armenia via Georgia, will set unbearable conditions for Georgia. And as long as Armenia is dependent on Russian gas [President] Putin will act in a more moderate fashion.”
“Our sources claim that Saakashvili arrived in Armenia at the U.S. government’s request in order to once again warn Robert Kocharian that if the Armenian authorities rig the parliamentary elections then Armenia will have very serious problems,” claims “Hayk.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” reports that the Armenian government allocated on Thursday some $1 million for street works in Armavir, linking the move to the weekend mayoral election in the town 30 kilometers south of Yerevan. “Ahead of the elections the government gave money to its own candidate so that he can pave the streets,” says the paper. “Of course, the government money may not reach [Armavir] before March 25, but the [incumbent] mayor of Armavir, knowing about that, may borrow money and start paving [the local] Baghramian avenue.” The mayor’s main challenger represents Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party.
“This decision signed by Prime Minister Andranik Markarian is nothing but a vote bribe given in favor of the HHK candidate in the mayoral election at the state’s expense,” agrees “Zhamanak Yerevan.”