(Saturday, February 21)
Opposition leader Aram Sarkisian tells “168 Zham” that former President Robert Kocharian will do the Armenian opposition a huge favor if he decides to make a political comeback. “In that case, the government team would definitely split,” he explains. “There is already such split, but it is easy for the current president to cope with it because he has real power.” He claims that Kocharian will eventually be shunned by all Armenians, including those who supported him.
“Hayots Ashkhar” laments what it calls the disappearance of center-right opposition forces from the Armenian political arena. The paper believes that the country needs such forces challenging and disagreeing with government policies without holding anti-government rallies.
Political analyst Ruben Mehrabian tells “Aravot” that the ongoing rapprochement between Russia and Turkey must be a cause for concern for Armenia. “That rapprochement is certainly dangerous because as a result of that Armenia will become a backyard for both Russia and Turkey,” says Mehrabian. “There will be no way of getting rid of that status unless Armenia becomes more active or makes unconventional decisions.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” dismisses law-enforcement authorities’ assurances that it is impossible to ascertain which of the four police officers shot and killed opposition protesters on March 1, 2008 with tear gas capsules. The opposition paper says investigators are now trying to accuse the victims of committing crimes on that day. It sees growing discrepancies between what security officials have said in the past twelve months.
“Azg” reports that the Armenian police have arrested a 17-year-old man suspected of breaking into the Echmiadzin apartment of Archbishop Nerses Pozapalian, gravely injuring him and stealing his wallet on February 18. “The wallet has been confiscated and an investigation is underway,” says the paper. It also says the high-ranking cleric of the Armenia Apostolic Church remains in hospital in a critical condition.
Abel Aghanbegian, a prominent Russian-Armenian economist, tells “Golos Armenii” that a “process of stagflation” has begun in Armenia and Russia. “The way out of stagflation is extremely difficult,” says Aghanbegian. “In these conditions what one needs to do first is to suppress inflation. There are favorable conditions for doing that in both Armenia and Russia because wholesale prices are falling. And if they confront monopolist tendencies, it will be possible to drastically cut inflation.”