“Zhamanak” says it is now clear to everyone that “oligarchy” is “the number one obstacle to Armenia’s development.” “As the parliamentary elections approach even [oligarch] Gagik Tsarukian will start talking about that,” writes the paper. “Maybe he already does by acting from the positions of a supporter of small and medium-sized business.” It says that would be tantamount to “acting against himself.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that Armenia’s ruling clique is increasingly turning into a “political corpse.” The opposition daily points to the fact that a politician like Samvel Nikoyan, the acting parliament speaker, now occupies the second highest position in the state hierarchy. “Of course one may say that Nikoyan is no worse than Hovik Abrahamian,” it says. “But Abrahamian at least had money, lots of money, thugs and therefore the ability to keep the Republican Party (HHK) faction in the National Assembly under control.” Nor does Nikoyan have the intellect that was possessed by another former speaker, Tigran Torosian, according to the paper.
In an interview with “Aravot,” HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov seeks to rationalize Abrahamian’s resignation and other changes within the country’s leadership. “If we want to be strong and stable in this rapidly changing world we must be prepared for changes,” he says. “The most important thing is that these changes are not an end in itself … Every change is aimed at continuing systemic reforms. Our number one goal is to organize democratic, fair and transparent elections. True, we strived for that in the past as well. But today the expectations of our people and the international community are very high and we have to aim for an unprecedented electoral process.”
Naira Zohrabian, a senior member of Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), assures “Hayots Ashkhar” that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s idea of creating the Eurasian Union of former Soviet republic is not an attempt to restore the USSR. “It is certainly unserious to speak of the restoration of the USSR today,” she says. “We are talking about economic integration and Prosperous Armenia has always said that it is in favor of economic integration processes.” Zohrabian says that also means integration with the European Union.
But as Karapet Rubinian, a prominent opposition figure, tells “168 Zham,” Putin considers the Soviet collapse a tragedy and “sincerely wants the Soviet Union -- or, in order words, the Russian Empire -- to be restored.” “He is seeking that,” says Rubinian. “But I don’t know whether or not he will succeed.”