“Creating a separate body to combat corruption is a nice way of imitating a fight against corruption.” “Haykakan Zhamanak” uses this remark by Justice Minister David Harutiunian to highlight government opposition to the idea favored by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun).
“Aravot” focuses on corruption’s “devastating consequences” in Armenia’s education sector. The most serious of them, according to the paper, is recent years’ decline in the quality of both secondary and higher education. It says corrupt judges or state bureaucrats could theoretically be replaced with honest officials. But it will be increasingly difficult to find substitutes for the growing number of “ignorant persons who graduate from universities or schools with a bribe.” “That loss can not be compensated in any way.”
“Golos Armenii” sees a deepening rift within the opposition Artarutyun bloc, saying that its leader Stepan Demirchian is against attempts by the Hanrapetutyun party of Aram Sarkisian to cooperate with former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s allies for the sake of regime change. The paper says the intellectual superiority of Ter-Petrosian and his loyalists is becoming more evident now that the Artarutyun leadership is rapidly losing its popularity.
One of those loyalists, Samvel Gevorgian, tells “Aravot” that only Ter-Petrosian could successfully lead a united opposition front against the current regime. “We won independence at the cost of blood and are very quickly losing it,” Gevorgian claims. “We got independence, made objective and subjective mistakes, and during that period our government managed to opt for the right political orientation. Then the people’s old disease of hanging from Russia’s feet re-emerged.” All of this culminated in the “disgraceful” equities-for-debt agreements between Russia and Armenia, he adds.
Another opposition activist and former presidential candidate Aram Karapetian criticizes Demirchian in an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar.” “Who is now the leader of our opposition and what does he stand for? Nobody knows,” Karapetian says. “The tactics of gathering [opposition supporters], holding rallies and then going back home has no future.” He indicates that he will not demand regime change in Armenia if the current authorities “change the situation.” “Everyone is familiar with my revolutionary speeches, but that was during the election period,” he explains. “I am sure that there are no national traitors in the [country’s] highest leadership. In a situation threatening the statehood, none of them will prevent the most prepared politician, even if he is from the opposition camp, from getting a real possibility of becoming the head of state.”
But as another Moscow-based oppositionist, Arkady Vartanian, writes in “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Armenia’s “illegitimate regime” is now forming a new puppet opposition to split and weaken its real opponents. Vartanian asserts that Armenia has become an “absolutely obedient Russian colony” under President Robert Kocharian. “Judging from the Armenian people’s collective hatred toward Kocharian’s junta, the people are interested not so much in their disgraceful exit as in the fate of their homeland. So the days of illegality and impunity in our fatherland are numbered,” he declares.