“Aravot” is worried that the West and European structures in particular will ease their pressure on Armenia and Azerbaijan to democratize their political systems in return for the two countries making mutual concessions on Karabakh. The paper points to the Europeans’ muted criticism of the Armenian elections.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says Georgia has already surpassed its Caucasus neighbors in terms of the degree of its democratization. “Armenia now has little room for drawing parallels with its neighbor,” the pro-opposition paper writes, adding: “One should not think that Robert Kocharian wants to reduce Armenia to ruins and doesn’t want to see it becoming a developed country. Any leader harbors such wishes, at least out of vanity.” But the chief prerequisite for attaining all of that is the existence of a “legitimate government” elected by the body politic. “Any other regime that is not formed in that way, including Robert Kocharian’s regime, is doomed to lead the country to shocks.”
“Iravunk” claims that “some Western circles” could attempt to “export” the November peaceful revolution in Georgia to Armenia by using the Karabakh peace talks as a “detonator” of anti-Kocharian demonstrations.
There is a similar speculation in “Hayots Ashkhar” which says the United States has gained a firm foothold in Georgia as part of a broader plan to “drive out” Russia from Armenia and the region as a whole. The paper says Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has been tasked with forming an “Armenia-Georgia regional axis” aimed at removing Yerevan from the Russian geopolitical orbit. The pro-Kocharian daily declares in this context that “leaders of Armenia’s pro-American opposition are preparing for a decisive drive to seize power.”
“The unification of the Armenian opposition will not happen,” one of its leaders, Albert Bazeyan, is quoted by “Haykakan Zhamanak” as saying. “After holding preliminary negotiations with a number of parties we realized that it is just meaningless to sign any memorandum or agreement. It is simply not serious to rely on those forces that cite various pretexts for avoiding joint actions.” Bazeyan admits that his Hanrapetutyun party will find it extremely difficult to mobilize large crowds without the participation of other major opposition groups.
But as the leader of the People’s Party of Armenia, Stepan Demirchian, tells “Golos Armenii,” there is no need for forming new opposition alliances. “One may sign cooperation documents that then do not live up to expectations. But one may also cooperate without any declarations,” he says. “The main thing is the sincerity and honesty in [inner-opposition] relations.”
Interviewed by “Haykakan Zhamanak,” the leader of the People’s Deputy parliamentary group, Karen Karapetian, admits that the recent speculation about an imminent expansion of Armenia’s ruling coalition may have been spread by Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s Republican Party in order to “blackmail” its junior coalition partners. “I want to make a call for restraint to those who are acting in this manner and to advise them not to use the group’s name as a tool for [achieving] their political goals because an adequate response on our part would not be late in coming,” Karapetian warns. “We do not wish to participate in the implementation of the coalition government’s programs because we consider many of them declarative, populist and not realistic. Even if they give us a few ministerial posts we will not enter into that game.”