As Prime Minister Andranik Markarian receives official congratulations on his 50th birth anniversary, Armenian press commentary centers on the results of the weekend congress of his Republican Party (HHK). Papers agree that the continued existence of the Miasnutyun bloc, winner of the 1999 elections, is even more problematic now.
The Republican daily “Zhamanak” says the party provided answers to many questions but is bound to face new ones. It deplores the conspicuous walkout from the congress staged leaders of the People’s Party (HZhK) and Hanrapetutyun. Hanrapetutyun leader Albert Bazeyan, who lashed out at Markarian and the Republicans on Saturday, gets most of the blame for his “posture of an offended person.”
“The congress of the Republican Party was not prone to clarify or stir up the situation,” writes “Aravot.” At several points during his speech Markarian seemed close to delivering his “decisive message” about Miasnutyun’s future but never did so. HHK leaders simply fudged the issue just like their HZhK counterparts did at their recent congress.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the Markarian speech enraged HZhK and Hanrapetutyun leaders. This will only speed up Miasnutyun’s break-up, a logic finale for a bloc that never had a “solid foundation.”
According to “Hayots Ashkhar” the HHK and HZhK meetings exposed a “deep abyss” between the two members of Miasnutyun. Their looming divorce is part of the ongoing “process of clarifications” in the Armenian political stage. The HZhK now has to either join the opposition or try to make amends with the Republicans.
“The so-called allies have publicly stated what they think of one another,” says “Yerkir.” They no longer try to disguise their mutual antagonism. But oddly enough, leaders of both parties continue to say, at least publicly, that Miasnutyun must not be allowed to fall apart.
“Iravunk” says the “watershed” in the HHK-HZhK relations will have its ramifications for the government, suggesting that more HZhK members might soon lose their government posts. Still, the paper adds, the Republicans do not want to burn all bridges of cooperation to allow room for potential reconciliation with their Miasnutyun partner in case of a “drastic change of the political situation.”
Commenting on Gennady Seleznev’s visit to Armenia, “Hayots Ashkhar” says the speaker of the State Duma was the first senior Russian official to publicly advocate Armenia’s membership of the Russia-Belarus union. But Seleznev’s message largely fell to deaf ears in Yerevan. Not least because the Armenian Communists have shaped an “erroneous opinion in Russia about the existing mood in Armenia.” “The people are on the whole indifferent to this fuss and don’t believe that joining Russia-Belarus will solve all of their problems.” The low turnout at the last Communist rally, timed to coincide with Seleznev’s visit, was a stark indication of the dominant public mood.