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Press Review


By Vache Sarkissian

According to "Golos Armenii," Armenia's Declaration of Independence adopted eleven years ago is the "purest" document of the Third Republic and its purity can be contrasted with the impurities that followed. The three basic principles of the Declaration have become unrecognizable. These principles are: Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are an indivisible political entity - Historic justice must be restored. The principle of a united nation, with united history and a united future must be pursued. However, pretty soon it appeared that official Yerevan became the main advocate of Karabakh remaining a part of Azerbaijan, it "abandoned the pursuit of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the international community and the nation was divided as we and they." The paper concludes, nevertheless, that no other document still has the vitality of the Declaration of Independence, since its principles belong to the whole nation.

Other papers have not discussed this issue today. Instead a lot of attention is paid to current political developments.

"Haykakan Zhamanak" continues analysing remarks by former Prime Minister Aram Sarkissian during public meetings of opposition leaders that took place two days ago. The paper particularly emphasizes his remarks directed at President Robert Kocharian. The paper quotes: "It is not possible to criticize your predecessors just to show that you are good. How is he better than the former regime? On the contrary, during his term it is not possible to take any steps to improve the situation... If Kocharian succeeds in hanging on to power and getting reelected, our republic will have no future." Aram Sarkissian also insisted, according to the paper that under Kocharian, Armenia has been losing ground in foreign relations.

"Hayots Ashkharh," however, believes that the issue of foreign relations is putting a strain on opposition parties that in their attempts to create an official alliance cannot agree on foreign policy issues. Without a united foreign policy, their attempts are doomed to fail. The difficulty the opposition faces is the result of a contradiction whereby forces representing the former regime are generally pro-western, while the attempts to create a united front are launched within the sphere of pro-Russian politics. The paper also claims that the authorities face difficulties in conducting a balanced foreign policy. The moment of making a choice [between Russia and the West] is fast approaching and the threat of an impending opposition alliance could be a useful tool for blackmail.

The pro-Dashnaktsutyun "Hayots Ashkharh" insists that the number of those who announce their resolve to change the regime is drastically declining. However, the more anti-government "Aravot" claims the opposite. It says that in the Talin region, many local members of Dashnaktsutyun helped organize the public meeting of the anti-Kocharian opposition leader Ashot Manucharian. The paper goes further, concluding that the silently simmering rift between Dashank party rank and file members and the leadership will potentially become public. According to "Aravot," some in the opposition hope that because of "the many honest members in its ranks, Dashnaktsutyun will soon return to the arms of the people.

"Azg" says recent rifts within parties demonstrate how the strong temptation of power undermines the influence of "any ideology and any leader.

In an "Aravot" interview, former communist party member Yuri Manukian points out a possible explanation for intra-party conflicts. Parliamentary elections are approaching and competition for being at the top of party lists is therefore gaining momentum.
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