“Although the pre-election process in Armenia is approaching to the decisive moment, tempers have not reached the climax, as far as the public is concerned,” writes “Iravunk.” “It is obvious that the political component of the public is already very actively participating in serious debates and preparing scenarios of the most extreme confrontations. But the population at large is busy ensuring its day-to-day survival ahead of the New Year and is treating the ongoing developments with traditional skepticism, showing no desire to join the unfolding game.”
Interviewed by “Aravot,” the leader of the Armenian Communist Party (HKK), Ruben Tovmasian, rejects the analysis of the Soviet command economy that was contained in Levon Ter-Petrosian’s last public speech. “The country grew from an oil lantern to a nuclear plant, from a 85 percent illiteracy rate to an academy of sciences, from a horse carriage to civil aviation,” says Tovmasian. “I do understand that a change of system was underway and revisions had to be made. But the entire [Soviet] country was asking us to send them shoes, latex [chemicals] and Nairit.” He accuses the Ter-Petrosian administration of deliberately closing heavy industries. The former president has “no idea of economics,” claims the Communist leader.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that the purpose of Thursday’s explosion outside its offices was to intimidate its staff. “Did the newspaper staff get terribly scared? Yes, they did,” it comments with sarcasm. “From now on they will publish the pictures of the strongest presidential candidate, Serzhik Azatych, with a great deal of fear. And generally speaking, the main incentive for the newspaper’s activities will be fear. So much so that all of our reports will be about fear.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that as part of his electoral strategy, Serzh Sarkisian has made the Nagorno-Karabakh issue a subject of his “bargaining” with foreign powers. The paper says Sarkisian’s remark in Brussels that Armenia and Azerbaijan could cut a peace deal before the Armenian presidential election was “quite telling.” “That means that Serzh Sarkisian’s hopes to be an acceptable candidate for the European community have been dashed,” it claims.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” reports that owners of taxi companies in Yerevan were summoned to police stations last Saturday and warned to make sure that their cab drivers do not discuss politics with their clients. “It turns out that the taxi drivers are against the ruling regime and in favor of regime change,” says the paper. “Their frank conversations with clients have become so common that word of them has reached the authorities and the latter have decided to stop the spread of dissent in this way.”