(Saturday, October 25)
Only pro-presidential Armenian media were allowed to cover President Robert Kocharian’s Friday trip to a mountainous area east of Yerevan during which he inaugurated a new highway that has been built with funds donated by U.S.-Armenian billionaire Kirk Kerkorian. Corresponding newspapers carry his comments on political and other issues.
According to “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun,” Kocharian said the visit to the region by the Russian, French and U.S. co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group is likely to be postponed until late November because he is told that Azerbaijan is “not prepared” to receive them sooner. “We don’t expect any [peace] proposals now,” he said. “But I think they will have certain proposals during their next visit.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” quotes Kocharian as saying that the three-party governing coalition should tone down “populist elements” of its work and pay greater attention to “practical” matters. Using a folksy proverb, he also shrugged off the latest opposition moves to weaken his grip on power.
“Aravot” says the Armenian opposition may deserve such treatment for its lack of strength and political, but that can not be an excuse for Kocharian to humiliate his political opponents. “The country’s number one figure should be more restrained in his statements by refraining from making rude remarks,” the paper says. “That is, he should raise, not lower, the bar for political debate.”
“Golos Armenii” is happy that the long-running trial of the parliament gunmen is drawing to a close, hoping for an end to “political games” that have surrounded it. The paper says with satisfaction that the impact of the parliament shootings on Armenia’s political life has steadily declined in recent years and is now “close to the zero mark.” “Time is taking its toll,” it concludes.
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” a prominent member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), Eduard Hovannisian, says things would not have been better in Armenia if the two main victims of the October 1999 crime, Vazgen Sarkisian and Karen Demirchian, had stayed alive. Hovannisian believes that post-Soviet Armenia should have been governed by someone like former French President Charles de Gaulle, Benito Mussolini, Adolph Hitler or Augusto Pinochet (Chile’s former military dictator) whose only aim, he says, was “the pursuit of the nation’s collective interest.” “This means we don’t have anyone who can substantially change our country’s geopolitical situation,” he says.
Parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian tells “Aravot” that Armenia’s National Assembly must have a say in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “We must take into account the fact that there will be serious changes in Russia soon which will reflect on Karabakh as well,” he says vaguely. He also claims that the three governing parties have reached a “full agreement” on the distribution of deputy ministerial positions. He says his Orinats Yerkir party will get six such posts, while Dashnaktsutyun and the Republican Party five and nine respectively. “The appointments will be made in the course of next week,” Baghdasarian adds.