“Azg” writes that the threat of a “democratic revolution” in Azerbaijan and the unresolved Karabakh conflict are forcing President Ilham Aliev to gravitate toward Russia. “Ilham Aliev, who was perceived to be a president with a pro-Western orientation as recently as 1.5 years ago, has made a drastic U-turn toward Moscow,” it says. But the paper believes that the trend may well be “temporary.” It may also be an expression of Aliev’s unhappiness with the West’s stance on Karabakh.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says opposition leaders in Armenia seem to be “realizing their mistakes and drawing conclusions from them.” The paper welcomes the decision by the opposition People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK) to field a candidate in the upcoming local election in central Yerevan. The decision was reportedly taken by HZhK leader Stepan Demirchian. “The move leads one to think that Demirchian has drawn some conclusions from his political mistakes.” The paper hopes that Demirchian and other opposition leaders will continue to learn from those mistakes and “get rid of the image of inexperienced politicians.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that during his meetings with senior Armenian officials last week the president of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), Rene van der Linden, gave them “valuable advice on how to rein in the opposition.” “Van der Linden said that the authorities should now make some gestures to the opposition. In particular, [they should] reopen the A1+ television station and allow the election of opposition representative in some local communities,” it says. The paper says the PACE leader also called for the prosecution of individuals suspected of committing irregularities in the last presidential and parliamentary elections.
“168 Zham” reports that the chief of Kocharian’s staff, Artashes Tumanian, is striving to set up his own political party. Citing an “informed source” in the presidential administration, the paper says Tumanian spoke recently with opposition leader Shavarsh Kocharian and offered him to join the party. Kocharian is said to have declined the offer.
“168 Zham” also says the Armenian Central Bank sold on Wednesday $800,000 in hard currency to shore up the Armenian dram which began to depreciate last week after a more than year-long rise against the U.S. dollar and the euro. The paper says the Central Bank was ready to sell $3 million but did not attract sufficient demand from commercial banks. “The Central Bank is thereby trying to show that it is concerned about the processes going on in the financial market and is taking some steps.” This fact, it adds, calls into question the bank’s claims that its impact on currency exchange rates is minimal.