Five years ago to the day, Armenian newspapers ran the famous “War or Peace” article by then President Levon Ter-Petrosian which stressed the need for a quick end to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “Haykakan Zhamanak” reprints it under the following comment: “Armenia is now faced with the same challenges as five years ago, and unfortunately we have not heard a more serious and weighty word about those challenges over the past five years.” The paper says that back in 1997 the Armenian public was unable to assess Ter-Petrosian’s views in a calm and rational manner for a number of reasons, the “militant-patriotic” discourse of the nationalist intelligentsia not the least of them. It urges Armenians to re-read Ter-Petrosian’s article and “answer that seemingly simple question: war or peace?”
“Ter-Petrosian sought public support without willing to understand that it no longer exists,” writes “Or.” “Nonetheless, he found the courage to draw the public into debate. Every president must write his ‘War or Peace’.”
Commenting on the subject, “Azg” says that Armenia’s economic development is only “somewhat” contingent on a Karabakh settlement and calls Ter-Petrosian’s formula “dangerous.”
”Aravot,” meanwhile, continues to make the point that Ter-Petrosian’s participation in the forthcoming presidential elections would “paralyze” Robert Kocharian’s reelection campaign. “The state machine would split and would not be able to function in Kocharian’s favor. Officials’ servility and provincialism would make it impossible [for them] to decide which master to serve,” the paper writes. It adds that the “myths” about Ter-Petrosian’s hidden powers created by Kocharian’s propaganda machine since 1998 may have a “boomerang effect” on the current president.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says Prime Minister Andranik Markarian and his Republican Party (HHK) realize that in case of his successful reelection Kocharian may not put up with their political ambitions. “Kocharian, for his part, understands that if Markarian lasts until the 2003 parliamentary elections, he will again find himself in the position of the Queen of England.” Markarian, the paper says, now wants to ensure Kocharian’s reelection “in a way acceptable to himself.” “Markarian wants to believe that we will retain the post of prime minister after the elections. Especially now that Kocharian is inclined to give him some promises.” But both men are coming to the conclusion that “their political incompatibility has become a reality.”
“Hayots Ashkhar,” meanwhile, focuses on differences inside the opposition camp. The paper says 16 parties making up a loose coalition still harbor illusions about their pre-election unity.