In the second part of his interview with “Aravot,” Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian insists that Robert Kocharian is perceived to be a “legitimate president” by most Armenians. “Of course, there is a segment of the society which does not accept [him]. But the president of which other country is accepted unanimously?” he argues. “And in our case where at least a thousand presidents wake up each morning in Yerevan, there will definitely a social class that won’t accept.” Sarkisian claims that a president of independent Armenia has never been as strong as Kocharian is at the moment. “I am confident that Robert Kocharian has all the possibilities for fully displaying his leadership skills and the potential of his state structure and our people.”
“Change is obvious,” Sarkisian continues. He admits having influence on economic affairs. “But that influence has to do with other things,” he adds vaguely. “Having long worked with the president of the republic, the prime minister and having a track record, it is natural for people to take that into consideration.” The defense chief believes that “some entrepreneurs” must be backed by the state so that they can operate without impediments. He further dismisses any comparison with the National Security Service’s recent success in foiling an alleged attempt on his life and its failure to forestall the terrorist attack on parliament in 1999 when the ex-KGB was headed by Sarkisian.
“Hayots Ashkhar” looks at the latest war of words between the governing Orinats Party and the opposition National Unity parties. Strangely, there are many similarities between them, it says. “Both are one man’s parties, and it is just impossible to imagine their existence without Artur Baghdasarian and Artashes Geghamian. Both have a clearly populist style. Orinats Yerkir plays the role of an opposition of sorts within the government camp, while National Unity has been displaying a vigorous desire to become a pro-government force inside the opposition.” It is probably this similarly that makes the two parties mutually antagonistic, according to “Hayots Ashkhar.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes Albert Bazeyan as saying that his Hanrapetutyun party did not take “drastic steps” in the aftermath of this year’s presidential election because it did not fully trust its opposition allies. “I am not quite confident that our partners would have stood by us and would not have denounced our actions afterwards by saying that what happened was a provocation,” Bazeyan says. Citing “well-informed sources,” the paper adds that the opposition forces led by Stepan Demirchian considered storming the presidential palace in Yerevan following the February 19 first round of the presidential vote. It says one of the oppositionists strongly objected to that.
“Ayb-Fe” believes that if U.S.-Armenian billionaire Kirk Kerkorian was familiar with the situation in Armenia he would have spent his tens of millions of dollars in donations differently. Some of that money could have been used for dissuading the Armenian government from raising the basic utility fees, the paper notes with irony. It says people without money can not afford going to theaters that have just been renovated with the help of Kerkorian’s Lincy Foundation. “After all, a fatherland without a people is just a myth and a brain disease,” “Ayb-Fe” concludes.