Political analyst Richard Giragosian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that Azerbaijan is facing stronger international pressure than Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. “But that is only a temporary phenomenon,” the paper quotes him as saying. “The problem is that Armenia is perceived to be the weaker party. This is the most dangerous thing.” According to Giragosian, the main threat to Armenia and Karabakh is a possible pro-Azerbaijani tilt in Russia’s foreign policy. “If the Russians become friends with the Azerbaijanis, hoping to draw benefits in relations with America and Turkey, the balance of forces in the region could change because the Armenian side has no answer to that,” he says.
The release from prison of newspaper editor Arman Babajanian prompts “Aravot” to take a close look at the work of an Armenian state commission empowered to grant parole to convicts. The paper says that there are hundreds of prisoners who need to be urgently freed on health grounds but are denied early release for no reason. It says the commission has instead initiated the release of individuals with long serious records who commit “even more terrible crimes” shortly after getting out of jail. “In sum, experience shows that [the existence of] that commission is a bad solution,” concludes the paper.
“Zhamanak” says that a group of Armenian NGO representatives monitoring prison conditions in Armenia visited a jail in Sevan and was appalled by sanitary conditions there. The paper says they noted in a report that dozens of prison inmates have to share a single cell in violation of national prison regulations. “In winter, they use electrical appliances which are brought by inmates’ relatives and can not ensure the necessary temperature,” it says. The paper also says that two of the prisoners are opposition activists arrested following the February 2008 presidential election.
“Kapital” says that the Armenian government’s efforts to shore up the crisis-hit construction sector have not yet had desired effects. It cites construction experts as saying that more time is need for stopping the sector’s dramatic decline brought about by the global recession. “Real estate prices have fallen by 20-40 percent and stabilized since the end of last year,” the paper adds. “But from time to time dumping deals occur in the market because selling an apartment at current market prices take a lot of time. That is, there is strong potential for [price] fluctuations in the market.”