“Aravot” writes that small groups of people demonstrating outside government buildings in Yerevan with various grievances these days have chosen a wrong time for their protests. Most government officials are currently on summer holiday, with President Robert Kocharian “improving his surfing skills” in Lake Sevan and members of his cabinet resting abroad. “A few people do work in the government. In the [Yerevan] municipality as well,” the paper says, adding that they can afford ignoring those protests safe in the knowledge that the general public will not rally behind the protesters.
According to opposition lawmaker Hrant Khachatrian, what happens in Armenia at the moment is “imitations” and “political games” rather than genuine political processes. He tells “Iravunk” that those games are now revolving around “foolish” government threats to strip the opposition of its parliament seats. Khachatrian does not believe in the seriousness of those threats.
“According to well-informed sources, those who have initiated in recent months a redistribution of the spheres of influence in the highest echelons of power are facing defeat at this stage,” writes “Iravunk.” Kocharian’s national security aide, Garnik Isagulian, is seen as leading the effort to “disrupt calm in the government system.” There have been many reports about serious disagreements between Isagulian and the closest presidential adviser, Armen Gevorgian. Isagulian, the paper says, is unhappy with Gevorgian’s “almost unlimited influence on Kocharian” and accuses the young adviser of scuttling his attempts at a “normalization of relations between political parties and the presidential palace.”
“As a result of that, Mr. Isagulian’s authority and standing in political circles have substantially decreased,” “Iravunk” continues. Isagulian is finding it impossible to deliver on his promises of “systemic changes” in Armenia.
Opposition leader Stepan Demirchian tells “Aravot” that the opposition may return to parliament and embark on a dialogue with the authorities only if the latter “act within the framework of law.” “How can you imagine that dialogue when they fabricate a criminal case against the [Artarutyun] alliance and have still not held accountable individuals who carried out repressions and illegalities,” Demirchian says. “The opposition’s goals and demands are known and have not changed. We are prepared for any course of events.”