(Saturday, April 9)
“The ghost with a red rose, orange scarf and Kyrgyz horse can not threaten us,” “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” addresses readers on the second anniversary of Robert Kocharian’s inauguration for the second presidential term. The government-funded paper says Kocharian’s “realism” will keep Armenia immune to upheavals.
“Aravot” reports that Armenian opposition leaders are laughing off suggestions that parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian and his Orinats Yerkir Party may be preparing to defect to the opposition camp. “That is not an acceptable and probable variant for us for the simple reason that this country needs a truly democratic revolution rather than a palace coup,” it quotes them as saying. “Artur Baghdasarian and Orinats Yerkir are an appendage to the illegitimate regime and there are no prerequisites for cooperating with them.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian “has decided to change his image” as evidenced by his more frequent contacts with the media. “Unlike in the past when he was known as a gray, unsympathetic and rude person, he is trying to present himself as a soft, open and courteous politician with a sense of humor. Serzh Sarkisian has decided to change his image which could mean that he is preparing for a change of post as well,” writes the paper. “In any case, those processes could send a major signal to the opposition which … risks losing its ability to have a serious impact on internal political processes.” The opposition urgently needs to prove its viability and “ascertain its presidential candidate,” concludes the paper.
“Armenia has no class of the extreme poor that can make a revolution,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” “What we have is a formula opposite to the Georgian and Ukrainian variants. Namely, a strong government and weak opposition.” A successful revolt requires opposition unity, collapse of the governing coalition and the security apparatus. “Even if the opposition manages to achieve at least one of those objective with the help of some external forces, it will still be unable to disrupt the entire functioning of a state remaining at war.”
But as a senior member of the opposition Hanrapetutyun party, Smbat Ayvazian, assures “Haykakan Zhamanak,” regime change in Yerevan is just a matter of months. Ayvazian argues that the Armenian authorities are now ready to accept a Karabakh peace accord which they rejected as “defeatist” in the past and sees a drastic deterioration of living conditions in the country. “A wave of civil disobedience is now inevitable and the opposition will be forced to lead the wave of public indignation,” Ayvazian says. “All pro-government parties admit that Kocharian has depleted himself and must go. But each party has its own scenario of that departure. They are all preparing for pre-term presidential elections.”