“Hayots Ashkhar” condemns the racially motivated killing of yet another Armenian man in Russia. “If the Russian authorities fail to take real measures to reduce the scale of xenophobia, the idea of ‘Russia for the Russians’ could attract a mass following and degenerate into very specific manifestations of inter-ethnic hatred,” writes the paper.
“Aravot” complains that many pundits in Armenia will again argue that such killings are not specifically directed against Armenians and must therefore have no consequences for Russian-Armenian relations.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” reports on a U.S.-funded opinion poll which suggests that 77 percent of Armenians consider a speedy solution to the Karabakh conflict to be “very important.” Only 2 percent of 1,200 respondents believe it is unimportant. Seventy-two percent said Karabakh must become a part of Armenia, while the remaining 28 percent would agree to the region’s full independence. The paper says none of the respondents backed the idea of restoring Azerbaijani control over Karabakh.
“Hayots Ashkhar” is less than enthusiastic about the peace plan which Robert Kocharian and Ilham Aliev are expected to discuss in Bucharest early next week. The paper says the deal would give a mere “promise of a referendum written on paper” to the Karabakh Armenians and an “uncertain military-political situation not guaranteed by anyone” to Armenia. The paper quotes a spokesman for the Dashnaktsutyun party, Giro Manoyan, as saying that the mediators should specify what will happen if Azerbaijan rejects the referendum after signing the peace deal.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” quotes the speaker of the Karabakh parliament, Ashot Ghulian, as indicating in an interview with a Russian online publication that he is not against the referendum option. “I am sure that our people would vote in the same way as they did 15 years ago,” says Ghulian.
“Aravot” reports that the governing council of the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) has unanimously nominated one of its members, Tigran Torosian, for the vacant post of parliament speaker. Another council member, Artak Zakarian, is quoted as saying that none of the senior Republicans objected to Torosian’s election.
Torosian, meanwhile, complains to “Azg” that there is too much fuss surrounding his candidacy. “Nobody says anything about the traits which a chairman of the National Assembly must possess,” he says. “This is unfortunate.” The paper says Torosian has a point but notes that Artur Baghdasarian and government ministers affiliated with his Orinats Yerkir party were fired not because of their poor work but for political reasons. “New people are being appointed as a result of political decisions,” it says. “The question of traits did not arise right from the beginning.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that efforts by Greece’s OTE telecom giant to sell the ArmenTel operator have run into trouble. The paper claims that the Greeks are unwilling to sell their Armenian subsidiary for less than $450 million, a price tag which potential foreign buyers find disproportionately high. It says OTE is now looking for buyers inside Armenia.