“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” marks the fourth anniversary of Robert Kocharian’s election as president with an editorial saying that “Armenia is now on track to become an efficient and viable state with domestic political stability, absence of political prisoners and censorship, guarantees of freedom of speech.” The state-run paper also sees a “constant dialogue” between Kocharian and leading political parties, saying that the latter enjoy absolute freedom. It says the Armenian government is pursuing a “balanced foreign policy” and has a strong bargaining position in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.
“Hayots Ashkhar,” another pro-Kocharian paper, says that the main advantage of the current authorities is that they have not “sacrificed” Karabakh for the sake of Armenia’s economic development. The paper also credits Kocharian with establishing political stability in Armenia, and striving for international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Besides, Armenia is now in a “much more beneficial position” than Azerbaijan as far as the Karabakh peace process is concerned. Kocharian’s chief challenge, according to “Hayots Ashkhar,” is the persisting economic difficulties.
“Haykakan Zhamanak,” on the other hand, says conditions are ripe now for Kocharian’s ouster and the emergence of “a new, strong leader” in Armenia. The paper says the possibility of removing the current regime from power is “as real as never before.”
“Aravot” says Russian officials needn’t worry about luring Armenia into the Russia-Belarus union. “Armenians are already part of Russia,” the paper claims. As if the presence of Russian troops on its soil was not enough, it says, Armenia is preparing to hand over several large enterprises to Russia. “If we hand over the remaining ones we will be able to aspire to a status of a Russian oblast.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says Artashes Geghamian is not worried about the deepening estrangement between his National Unity and other major opposition parties. Geghamian says he does not care about their veiled allegations that he is Kocharian’s “secret agent” in the opposition camp. He says he does believe that Kocharian should step down and will do his best to achieve that goal. “It won’t be possible to stop me,” Geghamian claims. “If Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian had been strong enough they have would have eliminated me long ago.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that HZhK leader Stepan Demirchian on Friday made further indications of his rift with Geghamian. At a meeting with supporters in the town of Artik, Demirchian alleged that Geghamian is encouraging HZhK members to defect to National Unity.
“Azg” says this scandal has once again shown that Geghamian and his party “can not be reliable partners.” And the opposition in general has proved to be unable to rally around a common cause, the paper says.