“The current negotiation process of the Karabakh settlement does not involve the kind of external pressure on which our opposition counts,” President Robert Kocharian tells “Golos Armenii,” replying to questions from its readers. “So let them pin no hopes on that circumstance. The opposition should prepare for next elections rather than play a lottery.”
Asked about a lack of visible results in his administration’s declared fight against corruption, Kocharian admits that much remains to be done in bolstering the rule of law in Armenia. “We must solve those problems not by rattling sabers but through improving laws and democratizing the society.” “Our population is now not ready to fight for its rights,” he adds. “It calmly looks at officials that plunder it. Got used to that. Yet fighting corruption in such an atmosphere does not attract sufficient public support.”
“Aravot” editorializes that if there was a world contest of patience and forgiveness Armenians would surely be its winners. “We tolerate hunger, cold weather, ineffectual [rulers], criminal politicians, corrupt bureaucrats, unjust judges and even racketeer traffic policemen,” the paper says. “Ask anyone and he will tell you that it is time to kick them out. But unfortunately, not all of them would like to personally participate in the ousting process. And a person who comes to power in our state immediately starts to feel his impunity. We must not allow ourselves to be bad.”
“The vast majority of the population has not felt the results of economic growth this year as well,” says “Azg.” The paper says that what most ordinary people saw were rising prices of bread and several other basic consumer goods.
But writer and parliament deputy Alvard Petrosian disagrees. “I don’t think that there are no changes in the quantitative and qualitative senses,” she tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “We just like whimpering.” Petrosian, who is affiliated with the governing Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), is far more unhappy with the state of affairs in the cultural sphere, launching a strong attack on the controversial Culture Minister Tamara Poghosian. Petrosian says “very mildly” that the minister, who remains a popular subject of humiliating rumors, is highly incompetent and unprofessional. She calls on Poghosian’s Orinats Yerkir Party to “take its step.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says the Armenian opposition links its fortunes to the failure of Kocharian’s and the ruling coalition’s domestic and foreign policies. The idea of a referendum of confidence in the Armenian president is just a smokescreen for concealing that calculation. “If they have solutions to our numerous problems but don’t disclose them, then they wish the failure of not only the government but also Armenia,” the pro-presidential paper says. “But if they don’t have [such solutions] and are banking solely on the failure of the current authorities, they had better at least shut up.”