(Saturday, September 16)
“We don’t like bearing responsibility and making decisions. Let other countries think in our place,” “168 Zham” comments on the approaching 15th anniversary of the declaration of Armenia’s independence from the Soviet Union. “Ours are petty, provincial pleasures that have nothing to do with the country’s independence and global values. Only someone with a low level of self-consciousness and poor education can long for such pleasures.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” notes that the independence period has seen the emergence and evolution of a vicious culture of electoral fraud which it says is now the defining feature of Armenia’s political life. The paper says the Armenian vote rigging machine was honed to perfection during last November’s constitutional referendum. “By suppressing the public and alienating itself from the latter, the state has deprived itself of the real lever and force on which it could rely in case of a danger requiring [mass] mobilization. As a result, the almost entire 15-year period of independence can be called as a historical chance lost by the Armenian people,” it concludes grimly.
“Azg” reports on continuing arrests in Georgia of Armenian citizens who have crossed into Abkhazia or South Ossetia from Russia without permission from the Tbilisi government. “Whereas in the past arrests were mainly made in the ports of Poti and Batumi, they have now been registered on the [main Armenian-Georgian] border crossing at Bagratashen-Sadakhlo,” says the paper, urging the Armenian authorities to raise the issue with Georgia’s government.
Galust Sahakian, a senior lawmaker, assures “Hayots Ashkhar” that he and other veteran members of the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) are not unhappy with its de facto takeover by Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian. Newspaper reports have said that Prime Minister Andranik Markarian is the only “old Republican” who will be included on the list of the party’s top ten election candidates. Sahakian insists that the HHK has not even discussed the make-up of its electoral slate yet. Its “cooperation” with Sarkisian has been and will remain productive, he says.
“Aravot” claims that Russia is behind opposition efforts to form an “anti-criminal movement” in Armenia, saying that they are spearheaded by Ashot Manucharian, a veteran politician known for his pro-Russian views. The paper says Modest Kolerov, an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and a number of other Kremlin analysts visited Yerevan recently for that purpose. It says they were tasked with conducting a “detailed analysis of the internal political situation in Armenia in the run-up to the parliamentary elections.”