January 28 is a holiday in Armenia devoted to the 12 anniversary of the official establishment of the Armenian Armed Forces. The anniversary draws commentary from local newspapers.
“Today is a holiday for all of us because our entire people has been participating in the creation and strengthening of the national army,” editorializes “Azg.” Armenians, the paper, says continue to “make sacrifices” in order to have an army capable of defending their country. “It is our most successful institutional creation that not only defends but also makes us proud.”
“Of course our army is loved and cherished by each of us not least because our brothers and sons serve there and because it is one of the guarantees of our security,” says “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “But there is a view in Armenia that the army is the number one security guarantee. We don’t think that that approach is correct and comprehensive. In fact, no less important for the country’s security are its internal structure, ideology which guides the state, foreign policy. In fact, the army must be not the first but the ultimate guarantor of the country’s security. And this only makes the army’s role more important because the ultimate security component can not be weak or unreliable.”
“To love the army does not mean commending it all the time,” “Haykakan Zhamanak” continues. “There exist serious problems in our army: corruption, illicit relationships, a low level of soldier-officer relationships and abuses. But one rarely talks about this, while those who attempt to speak face fierce resistance.” Solutions to those problems must not be delayed anymore, the paper concludes.
“Aravot” comments that Armenian opposition leaders are unable to show any “prerequisites” for regime change in the country and tries to explain why. “There will be no referendum of confidence,” the paper says. “The pro-government majority in the National Assembly will kill that initiative already in its initial stages. There will be no consolidation of the opposition…[Former President Levon] Ter-Petrosian will not return to politics, let alone become the leader of a united opposition.” The paper says Robert Kocharian will hold on to power at least until 2008.