“Unlike [Georgian President] Saakashvili, the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia have never been known for publicly stating their foreign policy orientations for a number of reasons, almost always contenting themselves with fuzzy, meaningless terms,” editorializes “Aravot.” “Furthermore, they often avoid public discussion of not only important strategic goals but also issues of local significance.”
An editorial in “Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that President Robert Kocharian’s talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin on Monday were “difficult.” Putin, says the paper, had prepared for the meeting “very seriously.” It says the Kremlin is looking for ways of “suppressing” Georgia’s Saakashvili and is counting on Armenia’s backing. “Putin’s ‘request’ will raise extremely difficult questions for Armenia. Because if Armenia manages to spoil relations with yet another neighbor, then it’s not be worth even mentioning consequences of that. On the other hand, Russia in no way lacks the levers to prod Armenia to take one or another steps.”
“168 Zham” reacts to Putin’s remark that the fact that Russian companies do not top the list of Armenia’s foreign investors is “shameful.” “Perhaps for the president of Russia that is a matter of honor,” says the paper. “But he has no reason to be unhappy. His country has received 80 percent of the energy sector, the backbone of the Armenian economy, and many other facilities as gifts from its strategic partner.”
“Azg” covers the weekend local election in Yerevan’s Ajapnyak district, focusing on its extremely low voter turnout. “It was simply proven that at the end of the day local residents don’t give a toss about the appointment [of the district mayor] called an election,” writes the paper. “And that is understandable because Armenians’ understandable indifference to the institution of elections was coupled with a new element of their neglect [by the country’s rulers]. An unprecedented thing happened. Those people who had a chance to arouse people’s interest were forced not to stand [in the election.]” And so voters in Ajapnyak had reason to stay at home, concludes “Azg.”
“Experience shows that if there is a gentlemen’s agreement within the government and quotas are decided in advance, there is no need for extra [election] expenditures,” “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” comments on the Ajapnyak vote. The paper says the 25 percent turnout reported during the election demonstrates that the regime’s “administrative resources” have their limits.