(Saturday, April 1)
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that Armenia will pay $110 per thousand cubic meters of Russian gas starting from April 1, regardless of the outcome of its negotiations with the Gazprom monopoly. The paper also reports that the retail price of gas for Armenian consumers will be set well below the one approved by the Public Service Regulatory Commission last month.
Opposition leader Vazgen Manukian tells “168 Zham” that the gas price increase alone must not be exploited by the Armenian opposition for launching another offensive against the ruling regime. “I don’t agree with the premise that the worse things get for the country the better for the opposition,” he says.
“The greatest danger facing the state is that the people have developed an immunity against the government,” former Yerevan Mayor Vahagn Khachatrian tells “Aravot.” “There is no trust, no faith [in the government].” Khachatrian is also highly pessimistic about the freedom and fairness of the next Armenian elections. “We all must be able to force pre-term elections. All those who are interested in leading the country in a different direction must strive for that,” he says. That, he adds, means expanding the circle of opposition supporters and creating an “atmosphere of civil disobedience.” “Of course, they can say that the people are indifferent, passive, won’t follow us. But we are more to blame for that than the people,” says the opposition politician.
“Aravot” editorializes that even if the independent TV station A1+ has remained on air since April 2, 2002 there would have still not been an opposition revolution in Armenia. “But some of the TV company’s programs were very much annoying the [country’s] supreme political leadership, which muzzled the media outlet for the sake of its spiritual calm,” says the paper.
“Hayots Ashkhar” quotes a senior Armenian lawmaker as saying that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) does not object in principle to Armenia’s plans to build a new nuclear power plant. “This alone is a victory, an additional guarantee of our energy security,” says Gagik Minasian, chairman of the parliament committee on finance and economy. “Ignoring it or making ludicrous statements having nothing to do with facts is at best a political myopia.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Fadey Sargsian, the longtime president of Armenia’s National Academy of Sciences, is to resign soon. The paper says the Armenian government is already looking for his possible replacements. Among the top candidates for the job are the rector of the Armenian State Engineering University, Yuri Sargsian, the former rector of Yerevan State University, Radik Martirosian, and former Education Minister Eduard Ghazarian.