“In a country where the government is trying to hide the real state of affairs for maintaining ‘stability’ unpleasant situations and even tragedies are inevitable,” “Aravot” comments on the latest hostage crisis in Russia. “The Russian state machine has wasted the last years on creating the illusion of a stable and prosperous life. In Armenia they too keep talking about the need for stability. In our country anyone who tries not to hide reality is likewise branded an enemy…But the thing is that the bluff of such a scale is producing opposite results and in this situation there will always be someone willing to take up a machine-gun and kill. The situation before the October 27 [1999 terrorist attack on the Armenian parliament] was also stable.”
According to “Iravunk,” if there is anyone who has benefited from the bitter electoral struggle between Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian and parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian it is President Robert Kocharian as well as the governing Republican and Dashnaktsutyun parties. “The draw enabled Kocharian to take on the role of the party’s arbiter,” the paper explains. “It is obvious that the presidential administration’s orientation toward one of the candidates would have a seriously negative impact on the entire government system by forming camps of winners and losers in the already not-quite-solid government pyramid.”
“Ayb-Fe” predicts that Hovsepian’s “Aparan clan” will win the repeat by-election to the parliament from the Yeghvard constituency later this month. “The president will thereby punish Orinats Yerkir because its leader Baghdasarian has kind of grown too stuck-up,” the paper claims. “This vote once again showed that the institution of free and fair elections in Armenia does not work and that clans and gang networks are stronger than the state.”
“Aravot” says that the Armenian authorities are unable to hold democratic elections even if those are not contested by the opposition. “As it turns out, what they are afraid of most is not the opposition but a loss of the well-being of their own clan.” As for the opposition, the paper says it is too weak and ineffectual to do anything except “keeping the society vigilant” and preparing for the next elections.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” is also unhappy with the opposition, questioning the Artarutyun bloc’s belief in the inevitability of early regime change. “Tactic is not the sole problem of the opposition. Relations between the Artarutyun and the National Unity Party, which improved in the spring, have again cooled. Representatives of these two opposition wings speak of each other with disdain. The same can be said of Artarutyun’s leaders who largely talk to one another on formal occasions such as meetings, sessions, discussions.”