“Aravot” reveals what it says are further details of President Robert Kocharian’s weekend meeting with leaders of the three Armenian governing parties during which he scolded some of them for their perceived populist rhetoric. The paper sums up Kocharian’s message to them as follows: “Either you must take steps commensurate with responsibility shouldered by you and advance reforms, or you must say that you can’t do that and step aside.” “Kocharian demanded that the parties making up the coalition put an end to the games played for the sake of their image,” the paper continues. “The Orinats Yerkir Party was warned to give up populism and do business.”
Commenting on this, opposition lawmaker Shavarsh Kocharian tells “Aravot” that the presidential reprimand was “very natural because the coalition as such does not exist.” “There are only [vested] interests; he is the one who unites all of them,” he says. “A mafia don always summons and scolds [his subordinates].”
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” attributes renewed opposition activity in Armenia to a new phase in the Karabakh peace process. The government-funded paper says the opposition is exploiting the issue for domestic political purposes.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that the clash of superpower interests in the Caucasus increasingly threatens Armenia’s and Armenians’ security. The paper forecasts ominously that Russia’s rivalry with the West and the United States in particular could transform the already volatile region into the Balkans of the 1990s. Armenia’s ability to meet that challenge, it says, depends on cooperation between its government and “patriotic” opposition, more effective anti-corruption measures and the presence of new, competent individuals in key government positions.
In a separate comment, “Hayots Ashkhar” claims that Georgian security forces are turning a blind eye on the “plunder” of Armenian trains and trucks passing through Georgia. “It appears that some people in Georgia feel that the best way of imposing appropriate attitudes on Javakheti through Yerevan is yet another demonstration of Armenia’s transport vulnerability,” the pro-Kocharian paper says, warning: “Georgia is now not in a position to talk to Armenia in the language of masked gunmen. Therefore, it would not be useless to make it clear to Georgia’s new leaders that if they do not abandon such methods of blackmail left over from the Gamsakhurdia and Shevardnadze times, Armenia will not guarantee Javakheti’s loyal attitude to that country’s new government.”
“Ayb-Fe” tells readers that it is ceasing to exist as a daily newspaper, promising to come out at least once a week next year.
“Aravot” reports that parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian has hired the editorial staff of his Orinats Yerkir’s eponymous newspaper for publishing a monthly parliamentary magazine called “Azgayin Zhoghov” (National Assembly). The magazine’s December issue carries about a dozen pictures of Baghdasarian.
“Azg” also laments the publication’s being flooded with photos of Baghdasarian and other Armenian leaders “whom the people see and get bored of every day.” “Of course, the chairman of the parliament is the first among them. The edition contains exactly nine photographs of him,” the paper says.