Former Foreign Minister Vahan Papazian tells “Zhamanak Yerevan” that Azerbaijan is registering “some success” in its efforts to get the United Nations to interfere in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. Papazian is generally skeptical about prospects for Karabakh peace. “The problem will remain unresolved as long as the international community does not exert strong pressure on the parties and as long as it is not included on the UN Security Council agenda,” he says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” describes Armenia’s mainstream opposition as a “mafia” that does not welcome new forces willing to join its ranks. The paper says this was the reason why opposition leaders scoffed at former parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian’s declared switch to the opposition camp last spring. “The Armenian opposition has long turned into a mafia where everyone knows each other’s flaws and delusions, where everyone knows that they all are doing nothing and everyone knows that there must be no public statements about that. That is, the mafia circle is closed and they don’t need yet another political force working as opposition.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” discusses reasons for the opposition’s failure to close ranks and act in a united front. “Trouble with Armenia is that [government] posts are scare while aspirants abundant,” says the paper. Opposition unity, it says, is also hampered by ideological and geopolitical differences existing among the key opposition players. “The opposition camp now includes extreme liberals, extreme nationalists, revolutionaries, centrists and socialists.”
“168 Zham” quotes Prime Minister Andranik Markarian as saying that he is committed to democracy and believes it is the best form of governance for a country like Armenia. “The best thing is to make democratic decisions,” he says. “Of course, within moderate limits and in tune with the goals of our state. One must not forget that we have a war in Karabakh and a neighbor like Turkey and have no roads [to the outside world.] If democracy was [popular] faith in the government, we would achieve much greater results. We lack patience.”
“Aravot” claims that Vyacheslav Ivankov, a reputed Russian mafia boss nicknamed “Yaponchik,” is still in Armenia. The paper suggests that the trip is connected with the mysterious killings of three Armenian crime figures who reportedly had Russian underworld connections. It says that Ivankov failed to get “definite answers to questions raised by him” in Yerevan.