(Saturday, January 28)
“Aravot” comments tartly on the initiative of several U.S. senators to nominate the Georgian and Ukrainian presidents for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for their role in the Western-backed revolutions in Tbilisi and Kiev. The senators argue that the award would promote reform in other, more authoritarian ex-Soviet states. “This is a bit like a provocation,” writes the paper. “We would love to follow [Georgia’s and Ukraine’s] example but we can't because they enjoyed so much American support, both financial and moral, that the rulers toppled by them didn’t dare protest, let alone use electric-shock equipment, water cannons or mass arrests against the people.”
“If our Armenian oppositionists had enjoyed that kind of support, they would have managed to keep the people by their side,” continues “Aravot.” “The opposition has a hard time doing without such support. Our oppositionists are not going to hold more rallies without clear-cut Nobel guarantees.”
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” reacts with disapproval to the decision by some dissident leaders of the Yerkrapah Union to set up a new union of Karabakh war veterans. The government paper fears that the new organization called the Test of Spirit will become a tool in the hands of the opposition.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” predicts a further decline in Yerkrapah’s influence. “In essence, this is a positive process because it is not possible to build a civil society without addressing that problem.” But the paper says the founder of the Test of Spirit, Albert Bazeyan, and the fellow leader of the opposition Hanrapetutyun party, Aram Sarkisian, disagree on the need to cooperate with former President Levon Ter-Petrosian for the sake of regime change. Bazeyan is categorically opposed to that.
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” Alvard Petrosian, a parliament deputy from the Dashnaktsutyun party, complains that many Armenia continue to regard Russia as the ultimate source of power in their country. “I know, for example, that when a large part of our people sit in front of television screens and watch [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, they do not feel that he is not the president of their country.” Petrosian says Armenians have lost many positive things that existed in Soviet times but have yet to rid themselves of Soviet-era complexes that inhibit their mental freedom and civic consciousness.
“Hayots Ashkhar” writes that the continuing strengthening of the Armenian dram against the U.S. dollar creates an additional obstacle to the government’s efforts to meet tax revenue targets set its budget for this year. The paper says this is particularly true of government proceeds from import duties.