“Hayots Ashkhar” says opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian’s demands for the official recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence by Armenia are at odds with his own statements in support for a compromise settlement of the conflict with Azerbaijan. The paper says Hovannisian does realize that such a recognition would mean “throwing a gauntlet at the international community,” putting an end to the Minsk Group process and therefore playing into the hands of Azerbaijan.
“This can mean only two things,” “168 Zham” comments on the issue. “First, Mr. Hovannisian does not quite understand consequences of passing that bill. In this case, it means that we are dealing with yet another unprofessional deputy. Second, Mr. Hovannisian is taking over the authorities’ unsavory job of confronting and blackmailing international bodies on the Karabakh problem. In this case, the game is played on a quite professional level. It’s just that the fact of [Hovannisian’s] being in opposition becomes a bit questionable.”
“Hayk” claims that senior government officials sell off their businesses and real estate in advance of the upcoming presidential elections, “apparently fearing possible developments of 2008.” In particular, says the paper, a Russian company intends to buy Armenia’s two cement plants. “Mikhail Baghdasarov, who sold his share in the Armenian Savings Bank to Russia’s VTB at Serzh Sarkisian’s urging, is still in two minds about his cement plant because the Russians offer to pay for the Hrazdan plant belonging to Baghdasarov less than for the cement plant belonging to Gagik Tsarukian.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that former President Levon Ter-Petrosian visited on Wednesday the Vayots Dzor region together with leaders of the Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh), the Hanrapetutyun party and the Aylentrank movement. “Levon Ter-Petrosian is completing his regional meetings,” the paper says, adding that they will help him decide whether or not to run for president.
“If the opposition fails to unite, then it is an anti-opposition, not an opposition,” Hrant Bagratian, a former prime minister in Ter-Petrosian’s administration, tells “Zhamanak Yerevan.” “Half of the opposition simply plays to the government’s tune.” “There are people in the government who dream about elections because they too make money in the process, are paid by the authorities,” Bagratian says of the government camp. “There are also normal people who simply have personal ambitions.”