By Vache Sarkissian
In the runup to Armenia's tenth anniversary of independence, "Aravot" writes, "This anniversary might not have existed if a month earlier the August coup attempt in Moscow had succeeded." Now, as then, the Armenian people do not want to return to the arms of the "beloved" Communist Party of the Soviet Union, in spite of widespread poverty and corruption in the government. The paper at the same time draws a parallel by pointing out that in Armenia a coup did succeed in 1998 and gave the plotters unique power and privilege which they will take advantage of for a long time.
"Aravot" also writes about the post-Soviet Armenian communists, underlining the fact that many parties split apart recently due to disagreements over ties with the government, but the split in the Communist Party brought out the worst. The terminology used by communists against one another was particularly dirty.
"Hayakakan Zhamanak" also picks up the same issue and writes that in the August 17 issue of the Communist Party paper an interview with First Secretary Valdimir Darbinian was published, that shocked readers who were surprised by the often self-restrained leader's use of language. The paper says that when contacted, "Comrade" Darbinian denied having said such words in that interview.
What led to such a bitter split? The former leader of the parliamentary communist faction, Hrant Voskanian gives the following explanation to "Hayots Ashkharh." "The fact of the matter is...people are in such a difficult social situation that they demand a lot from parties...and this in turn leads to polarization within parties." Voskanian further explains that facing public pressure, some people within a party's leadership choose the evolutionary path to gradual improvement, while other leaders come to believe in forceful and sudden change of the regime. However, "the prerequisites of a revolutionary situation do not exist in Armenia and I reject attempts to artificially create such a situation," says the veteran communist politician.
In the current summer transition period, writes "Aravot," all political activities have been transferred into the realm of secret political negotiations and crawling for appointments and rewards. At the top, the process of strengthening the president's powers and position continues. At this juncture, promotions of military and law-enforcement people will solidify his position also in that realm.
According to "Iravunk," in political circles there is more and more talk of conflict between the president and Defense Minister Serge Sarkissian. However, the paper argues that because of the unresolved case of the October 1999 killings in parliament, their conflict will never become public. On the other hand, conflict in the anti-presidential camp can become sharper.
On the subject of the anti-Kocharian forces, "Golos Armenii" believes that they will either not make any progress or may even retreat. Opposition forces face the problem of distancing themselves from Ashot Manucharian, who two months ago promised the public to announce the name of the opposition candidate for presidency. Where is this name, asks the paper. Why there is no united opposition front?
"Haykakan Zhamanak" tries to answer these questions. However in an interview with the paper, Ashot Manucharian refuses to exactly say when the anti-Kocharian front will be formed. For the time being he only hints that perhaps a mistake by the president himself would hasten this process.