Vartan Harutiunian, a Soviet-era dissident, tells “Aravot” that three senior members of the opposition Artarutyun bloc who have been released from prison in recent years must end their political activities because they signed testimonies admitting their guilt. “What has happened in recent days is a sad phenomenon. People probably don’t understand what repentance means to a politician,” Harutiunian says. “That means condemning your own political activities…But those repentances will not affect much the rebellious spirit of our people.”
“It is obvious that persons engaged in politics, especially those fighting against a dictatorship, must be prepared for any turn of events,” “Haykakan Zhamanak” comments on the subject. “But there is also another side to the issue. Would anybody blame someone who has found himself in a position of a hostage taken by terrorist for fulfilling the terrorists’ demands? On the other hand, what happened showed the absence of ideology in the current opposition movement.” The paper says opposition leaders failed to make their jailed comrades understand “for the sake of what they must continue to carry the burden of being a hostage.”
According to “Hayots Ashkhar,” the opposition leaders and most ordinary people are far apart on their goals and aspirations. The people are simply longing for better lives without being prepared to work hard. “The parties and the politicians go to great lengths to flatter [the people] when they call them ‘talented and hard-working, ‘hard-working and talented’. But the people are not quite nice,” the paper says. “They know well what they have to do.”
“Iravunk” says the opposition should show the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that the Armenian authorities are ignoring the recent PACE resolution. The paper believes that the best way to do that is to continue to hold rallies in Yerevan. It says the authorities would not fail to respond to that with “a new wave of political persecutions.” “Robert Kocharian is seeking to demonstrate publicly that he is much stronger than the opposition and to that end he used exceptionally contemptuous language when referring to the opposition in Gyumri.”
“At the same time, however, he effectively admitted that he always considered [the late] Vazgen Sarkisian and Karen Demirchian to be in opposition to himself,” “Iravunk” continues. “‘Can you imagine Karen Demirchian and Vazgen Sarkisian in the business of working against their own country?’ he asked. The president forgot that Karen Demirchian and Vazgen Sarkisian were high-ranking government officials and that is why there was no way they could have taken any action characteristic of an opposition.”
“The country is not you, Mr. Kocharian,” thunders “Ayb-Fe.” “The opposition has fought against you, not Armenia.” The paper says that Kocharian himself “denigrates independence” by claiming that he enjoys Russia’s support in the struggle with the opposition.
“Yerkir” quotes Dashnaktsutyun party leader Hrant Markarian as saying that no one has prevailed in that struggle. “There is only defeat here, everyone’s defeat,” he says. “The result has been a damage to the country’s international reputation. I think that the dangerous point of the confrontation is gone. But the issue is not closed for Dashnaktsutyun. For us, the issue is only just beginning.”