From 1995, the Armenian authorities, with the help of the power ministries, local administrations and street hooligans, are crushing the opposition, rigging the elections and then painting falsified election returns with the help of the electoral commissions, "Aravot" writes. Having achieved the desired results every time, and thereby ensured that they retain their positions, they pronounce, "let's begin reforming the electoral code". Now the ruling coalition is busy with the same "constructive work."
The activity of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs is more active than was expected, opposition National Democratic Union leader Vazgen Manukian tells "Hayots Askharh." Manukian believes that the reason for the OSCE's active efforts is the fact that the construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline should be finished by April 2005. This activity suggests that providing security for the pipeline is an urgent matter, and in this context there is a need for a speedy solution of the conflict, said Manukian, an outspoken critic of the government who also believes that there is a need to set up an agency to deal with resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. According to Manukian, both the government and the opposition should be represented in the new agency.
According to a commentary published in "Hayots Askharh," the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs' recent strongly-worded statements that time is running out for Armenia and Azerbaijan are being translated from words to deeds. The "Deal" makes it necessary to find the most efficient way of exerting intense pressure on Armenia and Azerbaijan. What could contribute to reaching this goal, if not the return of former President Levon Ter-Petrosian to the political field and the consolidation of opposition around him, the paper asks.
According to "Aravot," Russian President Vladimir Putin is making a tremendous effort to turn the CIS into a new military-political and economic federation. "Those efforts are so intense and so obvious that it could be a cause for worrying thoughts. What does Putin want? Is it because Moscow wants to create pseudo-friends around the country in order to fend off Western criticism, or to fulfill an imperial dream by creating a new type of Soviet Union?" "Aravot" asks.
"Iravunk" believes that Yerevan's foreign policy is becoming more and more pro-Russian.
Commenting on the U.S. dollar's slide, "Hayots Askharh" says that there is no doubt that it is artificial. Prices on the consumer market remain at the same high level. That means that there are people who are profiting by emptying the pockets of ordinary people.