The newly created daily “Orran” continues its harsh attacks on the Armenian authorities. It accuses President Robert Kocharian and Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian of “destroying and splitting” political forces that could successfully challenge their unrestricted rule. That is being primarily done through the collection of “discrediting material” against actual and potential opponents of the regime. The paper says vote falsification, closure of independent media outlets and persecution of opposition supporters is bad not just for Armenia’s democratization. That also makes Armenia more susceptible to international pressure over Nagorno-Karabakh.
In an interview with “Orran,” former prime minister Aram Sarkisian, who leads the opposition Hanrapetutyun party, promises “drastic steps” to force Kocharian into resignation in the near future.
Another opposition leader, Shavarsh Kocharian, is quoted by “Haykakan Zhamanak” as saying that he is “not quite sure” that the Council of Europe and other international organizations are interested in “discovering the truth” about Armenia. He says they do not reckon with the Armenian opposition and cooperate with the authorities because the opposition is weak at present. “The A1+ affair has demonstrated the complete impotence of our opposition,” he admits.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that the authorities in Yerevan do not take seriously U.S. claims that the Armenian company Lizin sold sensitive products to neighboring Iran. At least, their reaction to the U.S. sanctions has so far been “extremely flippant.”
“Azg” does not anticipate that the upcoming Armenia-Diaspora conference will discuss, let alone take decisions on, “a number of extremely sensitive geopolitical issues facing Armenia and the Armenian people.” “Similarly, it is impossible to address at such forums issues related to the financial strength of Armenians and Armenia’s economic development.” Disappointment engendered by the first such conference, held shortly before the October 1999 parliament shootings, still persists. Various Diaspora groups have already criticized official preparations for the second conference. Therefore, the paper says, “one should not expect a lot from the conference.” The only useful thing it could accomplish is “frank and sincere talks and discussions.”
Alvard Petrosian, a parliament deputy from the Dashnaktsutyun party, complains in “Hayots Ashkhar” that Armenia has treated the Diaspora in an “unjustifiably pragmatic” manner. “Residents of Armenia should not have only a consumer look at the Diaspora,” she says. Many Diaspora Armenians came to Armenia “with faith,” but eventually left it after being “plundered and deceived.”
“Orran” and “Haykakan Zhamanak” say the rights of Diaspora investors continue to be violated in Armenia.