“No one forced or even asked us to become a member of the Council of Europe,” writes “Aravot.” “Our government and diplomacy for years made huge efforts to achieve that. And if our people’s mentality is really different from the European one, then we must hold a referendum and get out of a structure imposing on us alien values.” The paper says the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) support neither the Armenian government nor the opposition. They simply have “rules of the game” which any member state must respect. Among those rules are free elections, freedom of speech and freedom of movement.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the Armenian authorities seem to have drawn no conclusions from the PACE resolution on Armenia, pointing to their refusal to allow Tuesday’s opposition rally in Yerevan. “So it turns out that the European Convention on Human Rights has a legal force in Armenia only if it does not affect the capital’s socioeconomic indicators,” the paper says, mocking the official justification for not sanctioning the rally.
“Iravunk” also finds that justification “at best unconvincing.” The paper advises Yerevan Mayor Yervand Zakharian to “carry out his immediate tasks.” According to Zakharian’s logic, it says, the mushrooming street cafes which have wreaked havoc on Yerevan’s green areas are much better for the city’s development. Especially if they are owned by senior government officials.
“Golos Armenii” complains that the Armenian opposition has still not explained why President Robert Kocharian should step down under pressure from “several thousand” opposition protesters. “This is a terrible secret which opposition leaders fail to disclose,” the paper says. “In reality they are simply creating an illusion of regime change. In this case the process itself is more important than the end result.”
But “Iravunk” believes that the PACE resolution was a serious boost to the opposition campaign of street protests. And even though the authorities continue to hamper the rallies, they “will gradually be forced to comply with demands voiced from Strasbourg.” “[Opposition leader] Vazgen Manukian was probably right when he was urging [people] at a rally to prepare for a lengthy struggle and not to expect a quick victory.”
“Nothing is being rectified in this country because none of us is doing their job,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” The paper claims in this regard that the decision by the new owner of the Kentron television company to hire “Aravot” editor Aram Abrahamian as its top manager was orchestrated by Local Government Hovik Abrahamian. “Why that is being done is unclear,” the pro-establishment paper says, telling Abrahamian and other government ministers to mind their business.