“Aravot” believes that the Armenian opposition may have a point in accusing the authorities of launching a renewed campaign of “political persecutions.” But, the paper says, the authorities are mainly targeting opposition activists vulnerable to criminal charges. This is the “Achilles heel” of the opposition and the authorities do not hesitate to hit at it.
“Talk of a popular disappointment with the opposition just doesn’t correspond to reality,” opposition leader Stepan Demirchian tells “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “People are simply demanding drastic actions. They want regime change to take place at the moment, right away. But we will do everything to make regime change as civilized and quiet as possible.” The opposition is not seeking to come to power “at any cost,” according to Demirchian. He adds that the recent arrests of several Hanrapetutyun party activists have not spread “panic” in the opposition ranks. “On the contrary, that indicates that it is the authorities that are in panic.”
Another opposition leader, Artashes Geghamian, accuses Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian in “Haykakan Zhamanak” of illegally wire-taping his phone calls. Geghamian claims that the mobile phone of his deputy Aleksan Karapetian displayed different phone numbers every time he called the latter from Vienna last week. He says those were the phone numbers of an agency affiliated with the Armenian Defense Ministry.
“The opposition does not differ at all from the authorities with its attitude to ordinary people’s problems,” writes “Azg.” “In a country where 51 percent of the population is considered poor the standing and popularity of the opposition should have been much higher than they are now.” Even the authorities’ decision to dismantle tram lines in Yerevan didn’t raise opposition eyebrows, the paper says.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” alleges that last week’s brutal killing in Budapest of an Armenian military officer by an Azerbaijani serviceman had been premeditated by the Azerbaijani government. The paper bases this conclusion on the perceived unrepentant behavior of official Baku.
Writing in “Azg” and “Haykakan Zhamanak,” business tycoon Hrant Vartanian says that the axe with which Lieutenant Gurgen Markarian was killed in his sleep is a poignant symbol of how impossible a “peaceful co-existence” of the Armenian and Azerbaijani peoples within the same state structure is. “Our chief challenge is to explain to the world that forcibly incorporating Karabakh into Azerbaijan is tantamount to solemnly putting the Budapest axe into the hands of one of the [conflicting] parties,” Vartanian says. “Hands that are already tainted with blood.” Vartanian complains that the Europeans do not understand the Armenian security concerns. He also uses the Budapest murder to argue against the reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border.