“Azg” reports that ethnic Armenian residents of the Georgian town of Akhalkalaki have gathered outside the local Russian military base to try to prevent its gradual closure. “The situation is such that by trying to defend their own interests [local] Armenians are wily nilly acting against interests of the Georgian state and for Russian [military presence],” writes the paper, adding that such protests actions could prove counterproductive.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Armenia’s former human rights ombudsperson, Larisa Alaverdian, released on Wednesday a promised report on her activities in 2005. “The most innocent question that arises is: What did Larisa Alaverdian think in, say, 2004 or even 2005 when her rapport with the authorities was not spoiled yet, when Justice Minister David had not yet begun a demarche against the first human rights defender, when the ombudsperson was effectively part of a government which she now criticizes?” The paper says Alaverdian, just like any other Armenian official, decided to fight for citizens’ rights only when she herself was affected by government abuses.
“Aravot” says money will play an even greater role in Armenia’s next parliamentary elections scheduled for next year. The paper says those potential candidates who don’t have money should not take time and trouble to join the election campaign. This is one of the reasons why it thinks that the Armenian opposition has “no chance” to win the polls. The Armenian authorities will give opposition parties a few parliament seats “so that the Council of Europe does not get too angry.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” writes that the continuing racist attacks on dark-skinned immigrants in Moscow and other Russian cities may be “unfortunate and monstrous,” but they could consolidate Russia’s large Armenia community and stop its cultural assimilation. The paper hopes that a common sense of danger will force Russian Armenians to close ranks and jointly “defend their interests.”
“One has to come to terms with the fact that Russia is changing rapidly, turning more hostile to aliens,” continues “Hayots Ashkhar.” “One has to learn to live in such conditions.”
“Azg” says Russian law-enforcement structures do not seem to be worried about the rise in right-wing extremism in their country. “At a time when all activities of the skinheads have a public character, take place, as a rule, in front of eyewitnesses and have a clear purpose, law-enforcement structures in Russia are unable or unwilling to identify the criminals,” complains the paper.
“Even those who are very sympathetic to Russia understand that that country has no future,” writes “Golos Armenii.” “[Russia’s strong] economic indicators, even if taken together, can not hide the internal weakness of the country. Nor are [the Russians] able to make sense of fascism, apartheid, chauvinism, and xenophobia that have taken root among its youth.” The Russian-language paper believes that the tens of thousands of neo-Nazi Russian youths openly operating in an atmosphere of impunity are more of a threat to Russia than its embattled ethnic minorities.