“Haykakan Zhamanak” says public disaffection with the Armenian government may be running very high, but Armenians are not as “enthusiastic” about attending opposition protests as they were in February 2003. The paper says they feel badly let down by the opposition leaders. It says it interviewed 73 persons in downtown Yerevan and most of them voiced support for either Artashes Geghamian or Stepan Demirchian but could not rationalize their choice. Those who preferred Aram Sarkisian or former President Levon Ter-Petrosian cited more rational arguments. Only ten people said they support Robert Kocharian, according to “Haykakan Zhamanak.”
“Iravunk” says Kocharian has spoken out publicly this “for the third time in a short period of time” to demonstrate that his positions remain strong. But, the paper claims, this only proves that he is worried about his political future. “The topic of regime change is becoming a subject of widespread discussions, and everyone…is willy-nilly talking about it.” Kocharian’s pledge at Yerevan State University to “improve the quality of life” in Armenia mirrored a speech given by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at Moscow State University a month ago.
While “Iravunk” is sarcastic about this coincidence, “Hayots Ashkhar” presents Kocharian’s pledge as a call for action. The paper says the authorities are committed to ensuring that benefits of economic growth trickle down to all strata of the population. “At present the country’s socioeconomic development has reached the necessary point where the issue of improved quality of life…may create new opportunities for realizing priorities existing in the two spheres.” Kocharian’s new “slogan” is key to accelerating progress “in all areas of life.”
“The notion that the existing regime’s positions are strong is far from reality,” writes “Ayb-Fe.” “Kocharian’s power is derived from the opposition’s impotence. The regime will crumble the moment it is confronted by an organized and resolute force with a clear idea of the sequence of its steps. The present opposition is not like that. So Kocharian should not be worried for the time being.”
“The government must not discredit the entire opposition, while the opposition the entire government,” says “Yerkir.” “Otherwise, both the opposition and the government are forced to concentrate on responding to big and small mutual attacks, on doing more propaganda than real work.” This could only lead to popular disappointment with both camps.
Alvard Petrosian, a writer and parliament deputy from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), tells “Aravot” alarmingly that an Armenian equivalent of the Soviet-era Communist Youth League (Komsomol) is now taking shape with the authorities’ blessing. “Komsomol must already remind us what an appalling thing that is,” she says, referring to a pro-Kocharian student organization called Baze (Falcon).