“The most discussed topic in town yesterday was President Robert Kocharian’s leg,” complains “Hayots Ashkhar.” “Something is wrong with this country.”
“The specter of revolution roaming the post-Soviet states has left the [Armenian] authorities confronting the issue of reconsidering our foreign policy,” says “Azg.” The paper quotes Stepan Safarian, an analyst with the Armenian Center for National and International Studies, as saying that Armenia’s flawed political order keeps it from facing up to the challenge. “And this creates a likelihood for a revolutionary situation,” he says.
Safarian notes that government changes in post-Soviet Armenia have solely been based on “the Karabakh factor.” “It is therefore evident that some preparatory work will begin to be done. It is possible that a ‘color’ revolution in Armenia is in progress.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Kocharian’s and his coalition’s package of constitutional amendments underwent on Tuesday “fundamental changes” that were suggested by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe. “Until recently the Armenian authorities were not inclined to accept those proposals and demands by European structures that called for limiting the powers of the country’s president. The Armenian authorities may have decided, for the sake of their self-preservation, to accept the West’s rules of the game and assume responsibility for democratic reforms in the country. It is also possible all of this is the result of a government panic. In any case, it is evident that the regime change epidemic has reached Armenia and things seem really serious this time around.”
“Aravot” reports on the continuing war of words between deputy parliament speaker Tigran Torosian and the chairman of the parliament committee on legal affairs, Rafik Petrosian. The latter tells the paper that Torosian “must not deal with the constitution.” “He takes part in everything and it is he who mixes up everything and confuses people,” Petrosian says. “He goes to Strasbourg and forgets what discussions were held here. He returns to Yerevan and forgets which issues were discussed in Strasbourg. That is why we are in this situation.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that the Armenian dram’s continuing dramatic appreciation against the U.S. dollar is not reducing the prices of key consumer goods. Quite the opposite. The paper says the consumer price index rose by as much as 5 percent in January and February.
“Machinations continue in Armenia’s financial market,” reads a headline in “Azg.” The paper endorses by the widely held belief that the dram’s strengthening is illogical and artificial. “Even though the dollar has appreciated against the euro by more than 4 percent in recent weeks, both the dollar and the euro have depreciated in Armenia during the same period,” it says.