“Hayots Ashkhar” discusses what it see as a “consolidation” of Armenia’s leading opposition parties around their common goal of regime change. The paper notes a pro-Western shift in their foreign policy orientation. “In the last two and a half years the radicals have been busy learning English, organizing their visits to America and pleasing the Yerevan representatives of various international organizations. But in the end the Americans have not done a revolution for our oppositionists, saying simply that it is not their business but that of Armenia’s people and political forces. Furthermore, they have announced that they prefer an evolutionary path of Armenia’s democratization and have stood by the process of constitutional reforms together with European structures.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” adds that the opposition is now again turning to Russia. “If the West today supports Armenia and therefore its government on constitutional reform, then botching or casting shadow over that process requires Russian support,” it concludes.
Citing the results of a new opinion poll conducted in Yerevan by the Vox Populi organization, “Aravot” says last week’s parliamentary debates on constitutional reform only deepened popular indifference to the issue. The paper says only 13 percent of those polled said they would take part in the constitutional referendum if it was held this week.
In a separate report, “Aravot” complains that not a single opposition politician has visited the last remaining residents of Yerevan’s oldest neighborhoods that are being torn down by real estate developers. The paper says opposition leaders, who use every opportunity to speak of “the people’s trampled rights,” contented themselves with “sympathizing” with the embattled residents inside their offices.
“Azg” reports that the findings of a government commission looking into the possibility of compensating hundreds of thousands of Armenians who lost their Soviet-era bank savings will not be made public. The paper says a commission report has been submitted only to President Robert Kocharian.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the ArmenTel operator intends to considerably raise its already high tariffs for fixed-line phone connection. The company has submitted a relevant request to the Ministry of Transport and Communications. “These tariffs may come into force only after being endorsed by the Ministry of Transport and Communications,” says the paper. “And if that happens they will be enforced starting from January 1, 2005.” Transport and Communications Minister Andranik Manukian is quoted as saying that his ministry is currently “examining” the ArmenTel application.