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Press Review


The Armenian opposition’s failure to set a date for its next rally is construed by “Haykakan Zhamanak” as a sign of a rift within its present leadership. “In essence, the united opposition has suffered yet another fiasco as a single political unit, once again disappointing its supporters,” the paper says, predicting a serious “regrouping” in the opposition camp. It says opposition leaders might soon trade recriminations for their failure to topple Robert Kocharian.

“Hayots Ashkhar” says there were so few people at Friday’s rally that opposition leaders were forced to admit “what has been visible to everyone for about a month.”

“Azg” notes that maverick politician Arkady Vartanian used to pull larger crowds than the country’s main opposition groups did on Friday.

Ruben Hovsepian, a writer and parliament deputy from the Dashnaktsutyun party, tells “Aravot” that a dialogue between the government and its opponents is still possible. “The only place of dialogue is parliament because all of them -- today’s opposition, along with its leaders, activists and rally goers -- are not street people,” he says. “That is, they are not outcasts. They have their place, role…It is now the right time for them to use this pause in political life to engage in a dialogue amongst themselves.” Both the government and the opposition made mistakes during the three-month confrontation, according to Hovsepian.

Asked about the impunity with which a large group of dubious individuals attacked Armenian journalists on April 5, Hovsepian complains: “We link everything with Robert Kocharian. Probably because the distance between us, ordinary citizens, and Kocharian is very short. After all, Kocharian did not become president to solve our issues. There exist relevant bodied for doing that.” Hovsepian adds that Kocharian can be blamed for not punishing those government officials that fail to do their job. “There are many cases where you apply to even very highly-placed persons on a certain issue only to be told by them to apply to the president.”

“Azg” writes that the Armenian presidents have been sympathetic only to those journalists that sing odes to the them and their policies. “There is no difference between closing a media outlet violently and in ‘civilized’ manner,” the paper says. “For Kocharian and [Levon] Ter-Petrosian the principle is the same: to muzzle those who do not write good things about them or co-opt them, especially television companies.” Turning to the recent events, “Azg” asks cynically: “If the person who violently attacked journalists is punished with $180 [in fines], then why isn’t it possible to pay $1,800 and kill? Of course, it isn’t Kocharian who allowed such an impudent treatment of journalists. But the president of the republic at least made it possible for us journalists to be so vulnerable.”

(Vache Sarkisian)
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