“Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes a senior Caucasus analyst at the Russian Institute of CIS Countries, Mikhail Aleksandrov, as saying that President Robert Kocharian is worried that Moscow might turn its back on him just as it stopped supporting Ajaria’s deposed leader Aslan Abashidze. “Kocharian wants to personally make sure to what extent he can count on [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s support,” Aleksandrov told a Russian online news service. “I don’t rule out the possibility of Moscow offering Kocharian to voluntarily resign the post of president and hand over power to someone who would get much less criticism from the opposition. The only thing we can organize now is to agree with the Armenian opposition on a certain form of regime change, after which a pro-Russian politician would assume the post of president.”
“Aravot” and “Iravunk” reprint a similar analysis published by the Moscow daily “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” on Thursday. The paper claimed that the Kremlin is unhappy with Kocharian and the latter “has an alternative in Armenia.”
“The opposition yesterday botched the process of political dialogue,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” The paper says opposition leaders’ previous contacts with their government counterparts were only aimed at misleading the Council of Europe. It says the authorities must make it clear to the opposition that there is no way they can force pre-term presidential and parliamentary elections.
“The attempt at coalition-opposition dialogue yesterday reached a predictable finale,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “But what will happen next? There is an atmosphere of complete agreement on this issue between the opposition and the government. Either side assures that full responsibility for further developments will lie with the other.” The paper claims that by holding consultations with the ruling regime opposition was disappointing and alienating its supporters. “That is why the number of people participating in the rallies is waning. It appears that the opposition has thereby tried to put an end to those scenes that are incomprehensible to the public.”
“Iravunk” comments that the collapse of the talks was “absolutely logical” because the positions and actions of the conflicting parties are “incompatible.”
“Kocharian is pressed for time,” claims “Ayb-Fe.” “He has not yet ascertained whom he will propel to power. Several scenarios are being explored these days.” One of them, the paper says, is to put forward a “third force” led by maverick politician Aram Karapetian. Another option is a “repetition of 1998” when Levon Ter-Petrosian’s replacement by Kocharian did not quite
amount to regime change.
The leader of the Armenian parliament’s People’s Deputy group of non-partisan lawmakers, Karen Karapetian, tells “Aravot” that many Armenia do not trust any of the two feuding camps. “That audience must not be held hostage by the two sides and constantly hear about mutual disagreements and intolerance.” Karapetian denies government claims that the political tensions have not reflected negatively on potential investors’ interest in Armenia.
“Yerkir” makes the point that a healthy market economy can not exist without democracy and civil society. “If emphasis is put only on one of those things and the political and public spheres are considered of secondary importance during the transition period, then the formation of the free market will inevitably fail. Poverty has ceased to be a purely social problem in Armenia and has increased and deepened to such an extent that it can have dangerous consequences for national security.”