“Iravunk” backs opposition claims that President Robert Kocharian spoke like a “field commander” at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg last month. “In such cases the Europeans willy-nilly draw parallels with [Serbia’s deposed leader Slobodan] Milosevic,” the paper says. “Today an intransigent stance can not fit easily into European mentality which, taking into account the European integration processes, prefers to look at everything through the prism of mutually acceptable concessions.”
“In short, Robert Kocharian’s Strasbourg speech was mainly intended not for the outside world but the Armenian public,” “Iravunk” continues. “His calculation was clear: to try to offset the lack of domestic legitimacy with the patriotic card. And that calculation has paid off. In order to maintain the posture of an uncompromising patriot Kocharian has also a resource such as sending [Foreign Minister] Vartan Oskanian to deserved retirement in the event of a drastic heightening of external pressures.” Another way of clinging to power, according to the paper, is to spread discord inside the opposition. This could be done through spreading the view that the opposition can be revived only with the help of former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s allies.
“Yerkir” believes that “political upheavals,” driven by the socioeconomic situation, are still possible in Armenia, and the authorities must strive for rapid change instead of contenting themselves with “partial reforms.” The paper laments that not all Armenian officials and politicians realize this. “With this course the opposition and the government are forced to focus their resources on acting against each other, countering big and small stings aimed at each other and [engaging in] more and more propaganda, rather than doing real things,” it says.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says the ongoing “regrouping” of forces inside the opposition camp suggests that the Armenian authorities will be dealing this fall with a more formidable adversary that has a clear sense of its objectives. “And that leaves the government and forces supporting it with the challenge of resolving qualitatively more high-level issues,” the paper writes. It says among the factors creating fertile ground for unrest is the uneven distribution of the benefits of Armenia’s economic growth, the extremely modest social security net as well as the ruling coalition’s failure to pursue correct economic and staffing policies. The Armenian government is in urgent need of enhancing its “political and intellectual qualities,” according to “Hayots Ashkhar.”
“Aravot” is surprised that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) has not reacted negatively to the latest praise heaped on Turkey by Oskanian. The paper suggests that this is so because the nationalist party is now in government. It notes that Tigran Torosian, head of the Armenian delegation at the PACE, told the Strasbourg assembly recently that Armenia supports Turkey’s positive engagement in international initiatives. “I disagree with that approach,” reacts Dashnaktsutyun’s parliamentary leader, Levon Mkrtchian.