“Iravunk” contends that further political developments in Armenia depend, to a large extent, on the content of Sunday’s “mysterious” meeting between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Robert Kocharian. “Many, many things depend on the answer to the question of what the Russian bear whispered to Kocharian’s ear,” the paper says. “This is especially true of developments in Georgia and Javakheti in particular.”
“That Kocharian held on to power [after this year’s elections] does not mean that Georgians liked Shevardnadze less than Armenians Kocharian,” opposition parliamentarian Manuk Gasparian tells “Aravot.” “Kocharian is right to say that there could not have been a velvet revolution in Armenia. First of all, there was no brave minister in Armenia to resign over the falsification of election results. The demonstrations and rallies in Armenia were not covered [by the media] as frequently as the Georgian events were. Besides, before our presidential elections Kocharian brought 300 people from Karabakh. Those guys were heavily armed, had no friends and relatives in Armenia, and did not know anyone.”
But Dashnaktsutyun leader Vahan Hovannisian agrees with Kocharian’s assertion that the Armenian opposition stood no chance of toppling the regime. “I think that our opposition assessed the situation and behaved correctly. Armenia is not Georgia. There are police, security structures here. Opposition actions could lead to clashes,” Hovannisian tells “Aravot.” He also address his latest angry verbal exchange with opposition leader Artashes Geghamian. Responding to Geghamian’s claims that he was imprisoned by Armenia’s former regime “on privileged terms,” Hovannisian says, “I wonder how he found out about that. Only Serzh Sarkisian could have told him such a thing.”
Geghamian’s’ top lieutenant, Aleksan Karapetian, attacks Hovannisian and Dashnaktsutyun in “Haykakan Zhamanak.” He says accuses the Dashnaks of “usurping” power through vote rigging together with Kocharian.
“Golos Armenii” says Armenia has faced a number of emergency situations in recent weeks and relevant government bodies coped with them poorly and irresponsibly. The paper points out that nobody has been held accountable for the water contamination in Yerevan, the rise in bread prices and public transportation accidents. Instead, it says, the government is bloating its staffs.
Citing a weekend report by the Russian NTV channel, “Haykakan Zhamanak” says President Kocharian’s younger son Levon was seen last week partying at an exclusive night club in Moscow. NTV viewers were told, for example, that a bottle of champagne costs $1,000 there. The Armenian president’s press secretary confirms the report. “Levon Kocharian was recently in Moscow and went to that club with friends,” he tells the paper. “Haykakan Zhamanak” recalls that Kocharian said a few years ago that his son’s favorite hangout is a popular water amusement center in Yerevan. “But the golden youth has already been bored by the water park,” it says. “Probably because that is not an elite place and the prince has to mingle with ordinary mortals.”