“Political tension is slowly but steadily reaching a point where any call for soberness, any argument for prudence may be meaningless and futile,” “Yerkir” comments alarmingly. “The most dangerous thing is that some people want to move the government-opposition dividing line inside the people and divide the society.” The paper says the tensions are being whipped up by unspecified “apolitical elements” on both sides. These “provocation producers” must be neutralized for any dialogue to be effective, it concludes.
“You want war? You will get war,” “Hayots Ashkhar” tells the opposition menacingly. The paper continues to make its emotional case against regime change, saying that the opposition has no political creed and all it wants is power. “They know nothing about foreign policy and economics,” it says.
“Iravunk” says the regime’s public relations campaign against the opposition increasingly resembles Nazi German propaganda. “The confrontation between the opposition and the presidential administration is more and more escalating may be entering a phase when a clash seems inevitable,” the paper says. It adds that “psychological factors” are becoming important for the outcome of the standoff and in this sense the authorities are becoming increasingly “irrational.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” similarly says that the authorities are “taking ludicrous steps out of fear.”
“The main step towards regime change has been taken,” declares “Ayb-Fe.” “Artashes Geghamian no longer has differences with Stepan Demirchian on that issue.” But it is the more radical Hanrapetutyun party that is entrusted with “ensuring the technical aspect of regime change.” Hanrapetutyun has a crucial mission to neutralize what the paper predicts will be government “provocations” aimed at disrupting the peaceful course of the upcoming rallies. “Even if there are no provocations, police will attack and beat people anyway,” the paper claims. The opposition, it says, must decide how to behave “if Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian resort to force.”
“You are overestimating their capabilities,” Hanrapetutyun leader Aram Sarkisian tells “Aravot.” “Let me repeat that whatever these authorities do will be directed against themselves because they have violated the main principle. This regime has neither external nor domestic political resources.” Sarkisian claims that representatives of the Council of Europe and other European organizations mainly share the opposition assessment of the state of affairs in Armenia.
“Yerkir” attacks Prime Minister Andranik Markarian for rejecting the highly critical findings of a parliamentary inquiry into the use of a $30 million World Bank loan designed to improve supplies of drinking water in Yerevan. The inquiry was led by Vahan Hovannisian, a parliament vice-speaker and a leader of the Dashnaktsutyun party. The Dashnaktsutyun weekly says Markarian should have accepted “the diagnosis of the situation in one particular area” of government policy.
“Aravot” reports on yet not another mafia-style gunfight in Yerevan’s Malatia-Sebastia involving the son of Deputy Defense Minister General Manvel Grigorian, nephew of parliament deputy Hakob Hakobian and the two sons of the district’s late prefect, Vahan Zatikian, and “other high society individuals.” Several people were wounded in the shootout on Thursday.