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Press Review


“Aravot” says the street protests in Belarus against the authoritarian President Aleksandr Lukashenko mirrored the dramatic events that took place in Yerevan last April. “And just like Robert Kocharian was declaring that our opposition will not succeed in repeating the Georgian scenario, the heads of Belarus’ KGB and Interior Ministry say that there is no smell of a rose revolution in Minsk and that they have sufficient forces and resources to maintain stability.” And like in Armenia’s case, Western governments and organizations have expressed concern at the Lukashenko regime’s handling of the protests.

“Hayots Ashkhar” engages in a comparative analysis of Lukashenko and his Georgian counterpart Mikhail Saakashvili. The paper claims that both men are prone to authoritarianism despite their starkly different outlooks, fearing that the West might try to install someone like Saakashvili in President Robert Kocharian’s place. It also says that nationalism is a better remedy for meeting Armenia’s challenges than democracy. External pressure could only result in an even more nationalist government in Yerevan, according to “Hayots Ashkhar.”

In an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak,” opposition politician Ashot Manucharian says that the situation in Armenia is unpredictable. “As early as tomorrow the country could wake up and face the choice of a new government,” he says. “And about a dozen influential groups will go after each other and fight for power.” Manucharian also alleges that his severe beating last April was ordered by Kocharian. He says his belief is reinforced by information obtained from unspecified governing circles.

“168 Zham” carries an interview with the jailed brother of opposition leader Aram Sarkisian. Speaking from the Kosh prison west of Yerevan, Armen Sarkisian, who was convicted last year of commissioning the December 2002 killing of state television chief Tigran Naghdalian, says: “I had a big contribution to the creation of independent Armenia and extensively interacted with politicians, both former and present. Aram did not. While socializing with people, I was seeing, listening and learning. Aram didn’t socialize much. This is the difference between him and myself.”

Sarkisian adds that his circle of acquaintances included the present and former presidents of Armenia. “I sat at the same table with both of them, they both loved and respected me a lot.” He reveals that he sent a letter to Kocharian from jail and the latter “sent a man to me to see what I need.” “I think that the president wasn’t given correct information about this case … I am convinced that that person, Robert Kocharian, has nothing against me. I have never spoken out about the October 27 [attack on the Armenian parliament].”

(Vache Sarkisian)
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