“Zhoghovurd” is disappointed with the Armenian government’s reaction to the new Georgian government’s apparent readiness to seek the reopening of a railway connecting Georgia to Russia. The paper says Yerevan should have made “active efforts towards the reopening of the railway.” “Our authorities have done nothing in that direction so far,” it says. “Even the prime minister does not deny that.” “Of course there are now much more important issues on the authorities’ agenda: pre-election intrigues and the HHK-BHK horse-trading,” it adds with sarcasm. “Petty issues such as the relaunch of the Abkhaz railway can wait until those very important issues are solved.”
“Zhamanak” carries an interview with Konstantin Simonov, director of the Russian Fund for National Energy Security. “It is no secret that of all post-Soviet countries Armenia enjoys the lowest price of [Russian] gas, and that price is even lightly lower than the one set for Belarus,” Simonov says, commenting on Russian-Armenian talks on a new gas price. “In this regard, the Russian side is taking into consideration Armenia’s economic difficulties. I think this price also has a political component.” Simonov attributes that component to “businesslike relations and partnership” existing between the two countries.
“There is another important factor as well,” continues the Russian pundit. “It is connected with the fact that Armenia was the first to put its gas distribution system under Gazprom’s control. And as is widely known, Gazprom loves getting hold of such assets and encourages their owners to hand them over with low gas prices.”
Gurgen Yeghiazarian, a senior member of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), is asked by “Hraparak” to explain whether the HAK is indeed ready to endorse a presidential candidate nominated by Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK). “I can’t say anything now,” says Yeghiazarian. “I know one thing: Armenia badly needs regime change for its salvation. Whether or not they will back us doesn’t matter. They key thing is to get rid of these authorities as soon as possible.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” reports on a suspicious increase in recent months in the officially number of voters in a Yerevan district where a parliamentary by-election will take place next month. The two main candidates running for parliament in that constituency are the government-backed brother-in-law of Yerevan Mayor Taron Markarian and Stepan Safarian of the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party. The paper accuses the authorities of further inflating voter lists to ensure their candidate’s victory. “It is now clear that the authorities will use the same methods in the upcoming presidential elections,” it claims.