(Saturday, October 16)
“Hraparak” lambastes the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group for using the term “occupied territories” and referring to Nagorno-Karabakh’s capital also as Khankendi along with its Armenian name Stepanakert.
The paper claims the wording used by the group that spearheads international efforts to broker a solution to the long-running Nagorno-Karabakh conflict “directly reaffirms the view imposed on all international institutions due to Azerbaijan’s consistent policy in the past 16 years that the Armenian side is an aggressor.”
“The statement also introduces a new term, “Khankendi”, to cater to Baku. The [Minsk Group] co-chairs are not even concerned with the fact that Karabakh got its capital name, Stepanakert, along with the formation of Soviet Azerbaijan, and before that Karabakh was not part of Azerbaijan because no such state as Azerbaijan had existed. And Karabakh’s capital was Shushi,” writes the paper. “Ironically, on the one hand the Minsk Group co-chairs declare that they are guided only by the principle of resolving problems that emerged as part of the conflict and do not go into issues of historical justice, but on the other hand, they clearly demonstrate their tendency to be guided by oil-rich Azerbaijan’s policy.”
Zaruhi Postanjian, a member of the opposition Heritage faction in parliament, tells “Aravot” that authorities in Armenia’s southern Syunik province have been intimidating local community groups and residents, warning them against staging any environmental protest on the day when a widely advertised opening of an aerial tramway was to take place at a medieval monastery in Tatev.
“Still when I visited Syunik a month ago, I held meetings with representatives of the local communities and residents and we made a preliminary decision that we might use the day of the inauguration of the Tatev-Halidzor ropeway for holding a picket in protest against the development of uranium deposits in the region and in support of domestic tourism,” says Postanjian. “But it turns out that the local administration leaders were well aware of our arrangement. Since different top officials were to participate in the October 16 ceremony, security services and the entire leadership of the province had been taking special measures against various groups in Syunik in order to prevent them from staging any protest.”
“Hayots Ashkhar writes that a major pan-Armenian media forum held in Nagorno-Karabakh capital Stepanakert last week (October 12-16) was the manifestation of “the desire and the will of Armenia and the Armenians to have a concerted action in new regional and world conditions.”
“However, in our information age such a desire and even will are not sufficient to withstand the newest challenges without employing appropriate mechanisms of organization. The thing is that during the past decade Armenia has fallen behind in terms of perceiving the features of the information warfare unleashed against it and providing an adequate response,” claims the paper, adding that “urgent action is needed to make sure Armenia does not desperately fall behind in the information war.”
In an interview with “Kapital”, Karapet Rubinian, a pro-opposition figure advancing the rights of jailed opposition members, assesses the changes being made in Armenia’s Electoral Code and insists that “it is political will in the first place that is needed to hold fair and transparent elections.”
“The current authorities are illegitimate and, therefore, cannot demonstrate such a will. In general, numerous changes had been made in the Electoral Code, and despite the fact that those changes had been highly evaluated by the Venice Commission, they still failed to bring in positive changes in the flawed electoral culture, since there is no desire to implement these changes,” he says. “Fair and transparent elections are possible even with the worst law if there is political will from the authorities, and vice versa, a well-written law cannot stop local criminal elements from collaborating with authorities in rigging elections.”
“Azg” reports that the Rapid Reaction Force of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization is scheduled to hold exercises at the Chebarkul range in Russia’s Chelyabinsk Oblast on October 23-28. The paper says the exercise entitled “Cooperation-2010” will be attended by military servicemen from Armenia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, while Belarus will be represented by observers.