“Those who castigate our people, underestimate them, consider them benighted and apathetic are badly mistaken,” editorializes “Hraparak.” The paper says the Armenian presidential election campaign is demonstrating that “our people are not fooled.” “True, they often gravitate towards force, money and security but they do so with open eyes and consciously, realizing that they are choosing the lesser evil,” it says. “They are also forgiving and always want to give their deluded sons a chance.” The paper also claims that Armenians are “one of the most optimistic people in the world.” “The fact that they are still capable of hoping and being inspired after so many disappointments means that they have a vital strength and that strength will win sooner or later,” it says.
But as “Hayots Ashkhar” writes, the Armenian society has been “totally absent” from the pre-election developments in the country. “The election campaign of the candidates except the incumbent president, the Zharangutyun [party] leader and, partly, Hrant Bagratian, who have been holding meetings with people, has been as far from the society as the society is from prosperity,” says the paper. “For these people being registered as a presidential candidate has become a means of becoming famous, going on TV air and talking and only talking. For what else could these individuals unknown to the public do?”
In an interview with “168 Zham,” environment protection activist Karine Danielian voices strong opposition to the lease of Armenian pastures by Iran, which is being negotiated by Yerevan and Tehran. “I can’t imagine our state taking such a step,” she says. Daneilian argues that a large number of sheep can wreak havoc on mountain pastures and the broader ecosystem of Armenia’s southeastern regions. “Besides, there is also a social issue,” she says. “Why can’t [local] people use those lands? Is our territory as huge as Russia’s?”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” believes that the price of Russian natural gas for Armenian consumers will considerably rise immediately after next Monday’s presidential election. The paper says the issue will remain a taboo for the Armenian government until the vote. But it says the Central Bank of Armenia broke that taboo when it spoke of “inflation risks” emanating from an impending gas price hike in a statement released this week.