“Aravot” editorializes that pro-government politicians and senior officials increasingly use patriotic slogans to justify their lust for material benefits handed out by Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian. They call this a “pro-statehood position.” But the paper says their “object of worship,” Kocharian, came to power with “blatant violations of the state laws,” has created economic monopolies for his cronies and is responsible for the 1999 bloodbath in the parliament. This has not done any good to Armenian statehood, “Aravot” concludes.
“Hayots Ashkhar” carries a yearend analysis of Armenian politics which notes that 2001 has not seen heated political battles between various political forces. Their ambitious leaders furthered their interests mainly through behind-the-scene deals and intrigues.
“Golos Armenii” comments that the authorities now feel more self-confident than ever before. They hold a tight grip on all “financial and economic clans” and are already preparing for the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2003. The country’s main political parties, by contrast, are “dying out” due to a lack of clear-cut ideologies and programs. “All political forces are in a miserable state because of domestic politics…is now absolutely personalized.”
A senior member of the former ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh), Andranik Hovakimian, expects no major changes in Armenia before the 2003 elections. “In a way, it is right for this regime to stay on till the next elections,” Hovakimian tells “Haykakan Zhamanak.” Fresh elections would be bad for the country, he argues. Hovakimian describes the past four years of Kocharian rule as “years of lost opportunities.” He complains that Armenians do not seem to realize that they are being fed with “illusions and lies.”
Dashnaktsutyun daily “Yerkir” is dismayed by the findings of the official inquiry into the death of a Dashnaktsutyun activist, Poghos Poghosian, in a Yerevan café last September. “Unfortunately, we get the impression at this point that there are attempts to soften what happened there.” The paper says law-enforcement authorities have put the blame for Poghosian’s beating only on one of Kocharian’s bodyguards and have failed to bring all culprits to justice. “We are up against a perverse and dangerous intent of protecting privileged persons,” “Yerkir” writes, adding that the handling of the investigation may damage Kocharian’s standing and shatter citizens’ faith in the rule of law.