The successful popular revolt against Georgia’s deposed President Eduard Shevardnadze continues to rekindle memories of similar post-election tensions in Armenia, with commentators and politicians pondering on reasons for the Armenian opposition’s failure to orchestrate a similar regime change. Some of them point to Artashes Geghamian’s refusal to endorse President Robert Kocharian’s main challenger, Stepan Demirchian.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Geghamian on Wednesday dismissed this view, blaming Demirchian for the opposition defeat.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says Geghamian is now competing with Demirchian for the copyright on the idea of a referendum of confidence in Kocharian. The paper also says that Armenians should not draw inspiration from the dramatic events in Georgia as they have absolutely different “strategic priorities.” It says the Armenians have been more successful in post-Soviet state building and have little to learn from the Georgians.
Another pro-establishment paper, “Golos Armenii,” says the Armenian opposition could have achieved success “in any case.” The paper believes that Shevardnadze quit not only because of strong popular pressure and that external factors were also at play. It advises the opposition to realize that “popular masses are not always and not everywhere the main locomotive of revolutionary changes.”
According to “Ayb-Fe,” the Armenian opposition displayed “indecision and incompetence” during the last elections. “There was a moment when our people were not less determined than the Georgians, but in effect our opposition leaders did everything in their power to have people go back to their homes with disappointment and desperation,” the paper says. “Some opposition leaders are now looking for reasons for that in the fact that external forces helped the Georgian opposition and did not render any assistance to our opposition. Even if that is the case, we must acknowledge that our opposition leaders did nothing to attract external forces’ serious attention.”
The Georgian uprising should serve as “a sobering example” for Armenian and Azerbaijani societies, a leading member of an Azerbaijani opposition party tells “Aravot.” “We will not content ourselves with what we have because a person always longs for justice,” Hikmet Haji-zade says. “Many in Azerbaijan are oppressed. Many are in jail. But all of this will be gone in one or two years, and everything will start anew.” The Georgian experience will remain in the Azerbaijani “people’s consciousness,” Haji-zade adds.