“Hayots Ashkhar” says that the Armenian opposition seems to be “revising its tactics” after the failure of its spring campaign for President Robert Kocharian’s resignation. The paper says the Artarutyun bloc and the National Unity Party are now desperate to maintain political tension that reached its climax in April and to benefit from “some foreign policy movements.” “But the new foreign policy challenges, the likelihood of which is really great, will serve as a gauntlet thrown at not only the authorities but also the entire country, including the opposition.” The latter should therefore stop using the issue to “blackmail” the government.
If the opposition wants to be respected and reckoned with by the government, “Hayots Ashkhar” continues, it must abandon “the tactics of taking advantage of external difficulties awaiting the country.” “As long as the opposition pins its hopes on the discussion of the fulfillment of Armenia’s obligations at the Council of Europe, continues to bombard the world’s mighty forces with petitions, but refuses to open the door of its own National Assembly, it will itself stand in the way of likely domestic political dialogue,” the paper concludes.
Gurgen Arsenian, the leader of the pro-establishment United Labor Party (MAK) represented in parliament, claims that the recent opposition actions were engineered by unspecified “Moscow commercial structures.” “I am talking about those structures that don’t represent the Russian government and act within the framework of Armenian interests,” Arsenian tells “Aravot.” “Those Moscow structures have a certain volume of business which tempts them to have also state power in Armenia.” Arsenian speculates those “structures” are bent on weakening the Armenian side’s bargaining position in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks. As for the Russian government, its position on Karabakh will not necessarily be pro-Armenian, he adds.
Vazgen Manukian, a veteran opposition politician, tells “Aravot” that “a certain stage of the opposition’s struggle has come to its end” and that it is now “time for dialogue.” “Before the next Council of Europe resolution the authorities will make some efforts regarding the release of political prisoners, which will create a psychological possibility of talks,” Manukian says. “Both sides must understand that they are up against a wall and that they can break it only by talking [to each other].”
Writing in “Azg,” a prominent Armenian philologist, Avik Isahakian, makes the point that the Yerevan municipality has done more to whip up anti-government sentiment in the country than the opposition leaders. Isahakian compares the shrinkage of the city’s public parks sanctioned by the municipal authorities to “enemy occupation.” “The once thriving parks are being divided piece by piece among a group of [business] predators,” Isahakian says bitterly. Armenians can not fail to dislike their government after seeing all of this, he says.