(Saturday, September 22)
The 12th anniversary of Armenia’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union, officially marked on Sunday, is the main theme of commentaries appearing in weekend newspapers.
“Today we have three absolute, non-negotiable and unquestionable values: the Republic of Armenia, the Diaspora and Karabakh,” writes “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun.” “Preserving this three national values must be the sacred goal of every Armenian.”
“Aravot” editorializes that the supreme pan-Armenian aim now is to “create a strong state.” The paper believes that post-war Japan should serve as a role model for Armenians throughout the world. Having lost a bloody war and much of their territory, the Japanese did not spend their energy on conducting irredentist campaigns around the world. “Nor did Japanese kamikazes assassinate any Russian or American diplomats,” the paper adds. “And over decades, they built a country before which the Russians, Americans and Chinese bow their heads. They will eventually get back the Kuril islands without having to redraw borders. They will simply make a business offer which the Russians will not turn down…Therefore, the Japanese model is a more realistic one. But in order to replicate it we Armenians must be one step ahead of our neighbors technologically and economically. And that in turn requires not an ‘organized’ but democratic state.”
“Twelve years ago we were proud of our decisions,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “Twelve years on the number of those proud of our independence has decreased substantially. Even those who continue to be proud of the independence have not reinforced their pride with new realities. We have registered ‘successes’ but no issue has been resolved for good. And that means there has been no success. Even if there has, it can be rolled back at the starting point at any moment.”
“There is no independence in Armenia, there is just a regime,” says “Ayb-Fe.” “The independence has grown up as an orphan. It has been cherished to the extent that was needed by the authorities for making their name on behalf of it.”
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” parliament vice-speaker Vahan Hovannisian says the independence period has seen many lost opportunities for the Armenian state. Hovannisian, who is a leading member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), lays the blame on Armenia’s formed leadership headed by Levon Ter-Petrosian. He says the legacy of Ter-Petrosian’s eight-year rule continues to weigh heavily on the country.
Dashnaktsutyun, meanwhile continues to face verbal attacks from its senior coalition partner, the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). “Hayots Ashkhar” quotes the leader of the HHK’s parliamentary faction, Galust Sahakian, as accusing the Dashnaks of not honoring decisions made by the three-party coalition government.
“Were the Dashnaks so naïve as to aspire to having equal powers with the Republicans?” asks “Aravot.” The paper suggests that Dashnaktsutyun, whose parliament faction is much smaller than the HHK’s, may be counting on “special treatment” from President Robert Kocharian. But it says the latter is in no mood to put his alliance with the HHK at risk.