(Saturday, March 26)
In its coverage of Vladimir Putin’s visit to Armenia, “Aravot” singles out the Russian president’s admission that the Commonwealth of Independent States is a mere “club” of ex-Soviet leaders. The paper totally agrees with Putin. “Expecting common economic achievements, cooperation in the political, military or other spheres from the CIS would be unfounded. The center of integration is now Europe towards which Armenia should gravitate. Hopefully, together with Russia.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” is angry at Armenia’s political elite for doing “every possible and impossible thing” to please Putin. “Kocharian yesterday simply outdid himself, repeating and extolling Putin. He didn’t dare correct the Russian president when the latter mistakenly used the word Azerbaijan instead of Armenia.”
In another report, “Haykakan Zhamanak” says maverick oppositionist Aram Karapetian has become yet another Armenian politician “duped” by Russia. The paper says Karapetian, who has spent much of the past 15 years in Russia, has backtracked on his pledge to unleash a “revolution” in Armenia this April and is saying now that regime change is a “long process.” “Kocharian was lucky in 2003 because our presidential and parliamentary elections were the first in the CIS territory and there had been no precedents of people rising up and solving things,” Karapetian tells the paper. “If we had parliamentary elections coming up, then I assure you that there would be revolutionary processes.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” continues to defend Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian’s plans to stage a huge circle dance around Armenia’s Mount Aragats on May 28. The paper says the event will become a “holy rite of unity” that will “feed all of us with its incredibly positive energy.” Hovsepian is quoted as denying any political motives behind the initiative. “Nobody can forbid the prosecutor-general from engaging in public activities,” he says. “I am proud of having the time and desire to engage in public activities. I have always stated that I do not want to and will not engage in political activities. Nor do I like politicians.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” also downplays the significance of the dramatic regime change in Kyrgyzstan, saying that it was anything but a peaceful revolution. The paper says Kyrgyzstan’s deposed president, Askar Akayev, was weak and “embodied the European values for the sake of which the revolution was allegedly carried out.”
“Azg” notes that revolutions have taken place only in those CIS countries that are partly democratic and have relatively free media. The paper believes that the next ex-Soviet popular revolt will likely occur in Azerbaijan where parliamentary elections are scheduled for this autumn.