“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that virtually all Yerevan mayors started their tenure with a fight against street trade. “In this sense, Karen Karapetian’s war on street trade is not original at all,” editorializes the paper. It says Yerevan has more pressing problems, solutions to which require “not police batons but brains and a will.” “Take the transport issue,” continues the pro-opposition daily. “Yerevan is perhaps the only capital of the world where the municipal transport fleet consists of not big buses but minibuses thoroughly disrupting traffic. You can’t solve this problem with burly special police.”
“Zhamanak” says the deadly suicide bombing of Moscow’s Domodedovo airport is “raising the question of Russia’s credibility and viability as a state” and the wisdom of its active mediation in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. “The answer to that question is evidently negative,” writes the pro-opposition paper. “As it is turning out, Russia is a state where terrorists are acting more effectively than the authorities.”
Ashot Manucharian, a prominent Armenian politician, assures “168 Zham” that there is no serious discord between the ruling Republican (HHK) and Prosperous Armenia (BHK) parties. He also says that growing Western influence will increasingly undermine the existing balance of forces in the Armenian political arena. “If things continue like this, the Russian Federation’s influence will be negligible, close to zero by 2013,” claims Manucharian. “But since things are balanced now, Russia is able to enjoy huge influence. The issue of Armenia is not just the issue of Armenia for the Russian Federation. It’s a matter of its existence or non-existence.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” quotes Gagik Tadevosian, a leading member of the pro-establishment National Unity Party, as urging the ruling HHK to form an electoral alliance of pro-government forces ahead of the next elections. “This is one approach. There may also be other variants,” he says.
Interviewed by “Irates de facto,” deputy parliament speaker Samvel Nikoyan sounds skeptical about chances and the need for the emergence of a “third political force” that would offer an alternative to the current Armenian government and the mainstream opposition. “Is there such a group of politicians, leaders?” asks Nikoyan. “Like it or not, a political force requires the existence of leaders capable of creating a new force, which would have a substantial clout.”