“Aravot” reports on a “terrible panic” which it says has gripped Armenia’s governing camp. “As the fateful year 2007 relentlessly approaches, nobody is able to understand what is happening now and, more importantly, what will happen a few months later,” writes the paper. “Therefore, the most faceless, daft and therefore numerous section of that camp -- various types of pro-government deputies, entrepreneurs, neighborhood figures and even parties that are considered governing -- are in a frantic quest for an in-depth understanding of the situation and appropriate steps.”
But as “Haykakan Zhamanak” writes, the 2007 elections are in fact already “drawing to a close.” “According to our information, those elections are taking place in the Armenian presidential residence,” says the paper. “The chief of [Robert Kocharian’s] staff, Armen Gevorgian, is accepting bids from those individuals who intend to become a deputy either through a party list or from a majoritarian constituency. Those lists are personally cleared by Robert Kocharian who in some cases, after consulting with loyalists, personally makes appointments to one or another majoritarian electoral district.”
“Hayots Ashkhar,” meanwhile, seeks to refute but essentially confirms a Tuesday report by “Haykakan Zhamanak” which claimed that Kocharian raged against leaders of his loyal parliamentary majority in a meeting late last week. “The president [only] asked the participants: Doesn’t the parliament majority need to express its own views during the [parliament’s free] statement sessions?” Kocharian, according to the pro-presidential daily, complained that pro-government parliamentarians are far less active than their opposition colleagues in reading out hard-hitting political statements that must be broadcast by state television under Armenian law.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” quotes the leader of the United Labor Party, Gurgen Arsenian, as justifying at a news conference on Tuesday his decision to join the governing coalition in place of Artur Baghdasarian’s Orinats Yerkir. The paper says Arsenian at the same time sought to distance himself from the coalition, insisting that he is “not its representative.”
“Aravot” reports that a nephew of the Syunik region’s controversial governor Surik Khachatrian is serving a prison sentence for murder in a local jail in reportedly “privileged conditions.” The paper cites local residents as saying that Mayis Khachatrian is allowed, among other things, to spend nights at home.
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” political expert Aleksandr Iskandarian comments on opinion polls which suggest that the majority of Russians are quite hostile to ethnic minorities and non-Slavic immigrants living in their country. Iskandarian also points out that pro-Russian sentiment in Armenia is now much weaker than it was in the past. “Gone are the days when Russian orientation was not even disputed in this country,” he says. “There is more and more talk here of alternatives, alternative ways of development and geopolitical orientations. And that is good. Even if somebody is trying to draw dividends from that. For having no alternatives is a sign of underdevelopment.”