“Aravot” brushes aside recent opinion polls indicating that the majority of Armenians are satisfied with Robert Kocharian’s track record. This, according to the paper, is just a “golden dream” for the Armenian president. Results of those polls are contradictory. Ordinary people are said to have lost faith in democracy and civil society. If this is the case, then why should they be happy with the current authorities?
“Zhamanak” says the Armenian opposition has opted for a pre-mature start of the 2003 pre-election campaign in the hope of winning the hearts of the electorate. But opposition parties do not seem to be succeeding in achieving their goal. At least their tough accusations directed at the authorities have not had a desired effect. Nor is the opposition’s ideological assault bearing fruits. People just do not care about politics, the pro-government paper claims.
“Iravunk” says the authorities would like the disgraced and discredited representatives of the former regime to be their main political opponents. But reality is quite different. Kocharian now has to deal with a much more serious opposition force: the alliance of six parties campaigning for passage of a new constitution.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Arkady Vartanian, the Moscow-based businessman who last year tried to depose Kocharian, is showing signs of returning to the political arena. Vartanian has written to Prosecutor-General Aram Tamazian, demanding that the authorities drop the “trumped-up” case against him. Vartanian also wants formal apologies from the prosecutors for keeping him in jail for several months.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” estimates that an average Armenian household needs between $100 and $150 to mark the upcoming holidays in a decent fashion. The paper claims that the pre-Christmas sales are lower this year. It quotes market traders in Yerevan as saying that few of the buyers represent the middle class. Most of them are either rich or poor.
“Hayots Ashkhar” also notes that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer in Armenia. The shrinking middle class is unhappy with its social status and the economic situation. This fact puts continued political stability in the country at risk. The paper says the authorities must do something about it in the new year.