(Saturday, December 4)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that several leading Armenian newspapers are facing indefinite suspension of their publication because a publishing company that prints them is running out of newsprint. The Tigran Mets publishing house has informed them that it is unable to ship a fresh consignment of newsprint from Russia to Armenia because of Moscow’s continuing transport blockade of Georgia and a storm in the Black Sea. The paper says Vrezh Markosian, the owner of Tigran Mets who is close to Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian, is very busy participating in Hovsepian’s public relations stunts, instead of finding an alternative supply route. It says the situation also illustrates just how shaky Armenia’s communication with the outside world is. “The ‘capacity’ of roads linking Armenia with the outside world is extremely limited and is becoming even more limited at the moment.”
“Aravot” agrees, saying that the emerging crisis is a vivid indication of Armenia’s geopolitical isolation. “Since the signing of the 1994 truce our authorities have failed to make peace with Azerbaijan and normalize relations with Turkey, as a result of which a whole country depends on a Black Sea storm and a shark gnawing phone cables in the same,” says the paper. “Today there is a shortage of newsprint, tomorrow the same might be true for fuel or wheat,” it adds.
“Hayk” claims that Armen Avetisian, the controversial chief of the Armenian customs, is set to lose his job and that there is mounting bickering among government factions over who should succeed him. The paper says Karen Karapetian, the leader of the People’s Deputy parliamentary group, has already been offered to take up the post but turned down the offer. “Another candidate is parliament deputy Vahram Baghdasarian. He is not against occupying Avetisian’s post, but there is some resistance [to his appointment] right now. The resistance comes from Serzh Sarkisian: he is the one who sponsors Armen Avetisian.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” reports that most of the currency exchange shops in Armenia will be closed down next month on the grounds that they failed to implement “security measures” mandated by the Central Bank. “It’s amazing, isn’t it?” comments the paper. “Banditry has reached an enormous scale, but instead of fighting against banditry, the authorities shut down exchange offices to reduce the number of robberies. What a moving care. The public, of course, will not benefit from that.”