“Aravot” cites a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit that predicts continued political tensions in Armenia in 2004 and 2005 because of the persisting fallout from this year’s disputed presidential and parliamentary elections. The London-based think tank offered a bleak outlook for the Armenian opposition, saying that it can not count on sufficient domestic and international support. “That the opposition will not achieve serious success and the government will remain the same even in the event of the [current] coalition’s collapse is obvious to any citizen of Armenia,” the paper says. “But deep in our hearts each of us wants to believe that our political quagmire is not as deep and the authorities and the opposition are not as lackluster as they seem to us.”
“Tiny Armenia will turn into a big plot of land whose existence may not be noticed by participants of the geopolitical game,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” The paper warns that this will happen if Armenia fails to “quickly settle relations with its neighbors.” It views the ongoing construction of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline as a major blow to the Armenian state and says the latter will get another one if Turkey and Georgia decide to build a railway. “In essence, that would lead to the loss of [the Armenian district of] Meghri’s geopolitical significance,” “Haykakan Zhamanak” concludes.
In a separate report, “Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that “nothing is being done” at those Armenian enterprises that were handed over to Russia in payment for Yerevan’s debt. Under the terms of the swap agreement the Russian are to make large-scale capital investments and create new jobs in those industries. Furthermore, the Russians have just raised the price of nuclear fuel supplied to the Metsamor plant.
“Russia will surely use Armenians against Georgia and the new Georgian authorities,” “Ayb-Fe” forecasts alarmingly. “The Javakheti Armenians’ disobedience to the Georgian authorities will be the most desirable continuation of events for Russia because that way the Russians will not only get a finally split Georgia but will also have an Armenia completely encircled by enemy forces.” Armenia would thus be totally subordinated to Russia, the paper claims.
“Iravunk” speculates that Russian President Vladimir Putin does not like Robert Kocharian’s readiness to put a future peace accord on Karabakh on a referendum. “Russia is seeking to speed up the issue’s resolution,” the paper says. But it says the mounting international pressure for a peaceful settlement could set off a serious crisis inside Armenia’s leadership and even result in a pre-term presidential election.
A leading member of Dashnaktsutyun, Hrant Markarian, reaffirms his party’s opposition to the reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border in an interview with “Yerkir.” Markarian claims that “external forces’ are more interested in that than Armenia and Turkey themselves. He admits that the Turkish blockade hurts the Armenian economy, but argues that the border question is one of “national security” and must be addressed accordingly. Besides, he says, there is a “development tendency” in Armenia.