“Iravunk” declares that a tough clash between the Armenian authorities and the opposition is now inevitable. “The outcome of the confrontation is unpredictable because it is impossible to predict the behavior of security structures and various government factions in a crisis situation,” the paper says.
“Ayb-Fe” says the opposition preparations have prompted a flurry of government activity in Armenia. “All possible and impossible levers are being put in action,” the paper says. The authorities are “tightening all necessary screws” in a bid to cling to power. “Robert Kocharian is surrounding himself with individuals rejected by the society. They are well aware that they will have nothing to do under the next government.”
Opposition leader Stepan Demirchian tells “Ayb-Fe” that Kocharian should not expect to offset the opposition protests by the latest changes in the government and security apparatus. “I am convinced that neither the law-enforcement bodies nor the army will turn against the people,” Demirchian says. “After all, I do not separate the law-enforcement bodies from our people.”
Another opposition leader, Aram Sarkisian, says in a “Haykakan Zhamanak” interview that it would be “ludicrous” for Demirchian’s Artarutyun bloc not to topple the regime after the signing of its cooperation agreement with Artashes Geghamian’s National Unity Party. Sarkisian claims the agreement demonstrated that Kocharian no longer controls the political situation in Armenia.
“The opposition actions are worrisome but I don’t think that one should take them seriously,” the parliamentary leader of the governing Republican Party (HHK), Galust Sahakian, tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” in a trademark contradictory remark. Sahakian says that in the event of a regime change Armenia would lose its independence “just like Georgia lost its independence, becoming another state of the United States.”
“I am convinced that Serzh Sarkisian will not use the army to maintain public order,” another HHK leader, Tigran Torosian, tells “Ayb-Fe.” Torosian warns that unrest in Armenia would have “sad consequences for both the government and the opposition.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Yerevan’s new police chief, Hovik Tamamian, told the head of the banned A1+ television, Mesrop Movsesian, on Thursday not to hold a planned demonstration devoted to the April 2 second anniversary of the channel’s closure. The paper says Tamamian “literally promised to ‘smash’ its participants.” But the organizers are undaunted by the alleged threat and say the protest will go ahead.
“Hayots Ashkhar” downplays the significance of the new alliance between Artarutyun and National Unity, saying that it will not swell the opposition crowds in the center of Yerevan. Besides, the paper says, Artarutyun leaders will now have to agree their every step with Artashes Geghamian, the unpredictable National Unity leader. “It is no secret that Artashes Geghamian is ready sell himself to the highest bidder at any moment and without the slightest hesitation.” He is therefore a “time bomb” planted under the opposition, according to “Hayots Ashkhar.”