“Aravot” criticizes the Armenian authorities for their refusal to sanction the Tuesday opposition march in Yerevan dedicated to the fifth anniversary of the October 1999 parliament killings. “The authorities’ fight against the opposition has become too boring and somewhat petty. It’s obvious that nobody will seize power if Baghramian Avenue is closed for half an hour.” The authorities do not hesitate do shut down part of the city center for various government-funded festivities. The paper believes that their tactics is counterproductive because it makes opposition leaders feel that they pose a serious danger to the ruling regime and lodge civil rights complaints with various international organizations.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says the opposition actions have nothing to do with fighting terrorism, the stated purpose of the rally. The pro-presidential daily also sees a secret link between perceived opposition efforts to provoke international pressure on Robert Kocharian and the Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS), a think-tank led by former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian. An ACNIS analyst, Stepan Safarian, is quoted in this regard as saying that foreign powers could disclose “some new facts” relating to the 1999 parliament massacre in a bid to clinch more Armenian concessions on Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says Armenians supporting regime change now believe that the opposition can not topple Kocharian without an “expansion of its format.” “The tactic with which the opposition is trying to achieve success is doomed and other ways of effecting regime change need to be found,” writes the paper, adding that the opposition should also come up with an alternative vision of Armenian foreign policy. But it says opposition leader Stepan Demirchian’s speech at a weekend conference of his People’s Party showed that both he and the Artarutyun bloc are “indifferent to these demands.”
In a separate comment, “Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that the eight-month opposition boycott of parliament sessions is beginning to pay off. The paper says the National Assembly has been reduced to a largely ceremonial body rubber-stamping government decisions. The parliament, for example, needed just a few hours on Monday to discuss issues included on its bi-weekly agenda. The ruling three-party coalition “has entered a phase of self-destruction due to the opposition pause.”
According to “Iravunk,” the inner-government struggle to succeed Kocharian is intensifying. The paper speculates that Kocharian himself is whipping up the tussle among his loyalists to argue in the end there is no viable alternative to his running for a third term.