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Press Review


“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that the situation in Georgia’s Armenian-populated Javakheti region is “on the whole calm” and that “there are no extraordinary incidents” there. “For Armenia it is important that Georgia has stability and a government that controls the situation,” the paper says, echoing President Robert Kocharian’s Monday comments.

“Aravot” says the “velvet revolution” in Tbilisi has made Georgia the envy of many ordinary Armenians who are equally unhappy with their regime. “But before envying them it’s worth thinking a bit about what awaits Georgia in the coming months,” the paper cautions. “A revolution, no matter how velvet it is, can not fail to have negative consequences. In small and flimsy countries like ours, those consequences may be fateful. Armenia, no doubt, needs regime change and a legitimately elected government. But the only acceptable way of achieving that is the following: the government loses elections, concedes defeat graciously and hands over power to the election winners in a civilized manner. This is what will happen in Armenia in about 50 years.”

“Haykakan Zhamanak” writes that after the dramatic weekend in Georgian all eyes are now on the Armenian opposition. The paper says the Armenian public is now wondering why the Armenian opposition leaders failed to achieve a similar success. Many will now lay the blame on Stepan Demirchian, recalling his failure to attend opposition marches in Yerevan and keep his supporters in the streets and his Artarutyun bloc’s decision to sit in a parliament whose legitimacy it still refuses to recognize. The paper emphasizes the fact that although official vote results gave the Georgian opposition much bigger representation in parliament it never agreed to attend its sessions. “The [Armenian] opposition should either find a new leader or accept the humiliating status of a puppet pro-government opposition,” “Haykakan Zhamanak” concludes.

The opposition, according to one of its leaders, Aram Sarkisian, made several mistakes during this year’s electoral battles. Interviewed by “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Sarkisian says the biggest of them was the decision to attend parliament sessions. “I therefore want to apologize to the people and ask them to once again trust us,” he says. “And if there is a force which the people trust more than they trust us I would love to join that force and be its foot soldier.”

Another opposition leader, Artashes Geghamian, complains that the Armenian opposition did not enjoy sufficient international support when it rallied tens of thousands of supporters in Yerevan. He tells “Ayb-Fe” that similar opposition actions in Armenia would have incurred Western condemnation.

“Iravunk” says the Armenian opposition failed because it was not united and its leaders were not “determined” enough to topple the regime. “Kocharian, unlike Shevardnadze, flooded Yerevan with troops,” the paper adds. “Also different is the mass psychology of Armenia’s and Georgia’s populations. In Georgia, the wave of mass protests lasted for a whole 20 days and its participants never got disappointed, tired and returned to their homes in three or four days. In Armenia, protest participants initially grow in numbers, but if there are no resolute actions within a few days they become disappointed very quickly.”

(Vache Sarkisian)
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