The first anniversary of the violent break-up of a major opposition demonstration in Yerevan is a major theme of Tuesday’s Armenian press commentary.
“Azg” condemns the heavy-handed government response to the protest, saying that it amounted to “military action against peaceful demonstrators.” The paper also recalls the ransacking of opposition party offices. “Nobody has been held accountable for those actions so far,” it says.
“Hayots Ashkhar,” which has a totally different take on last year’s events, quotes deputy parliament speaker Tigran Torosian as complaining about incessant “revolutionary predictions” by the Armenian media and political figures. “Every year, every month we are promised a revolution and that remains a promise,” he says.
Opposition activist Hayk Babukhanian does precisely that in an “Iravunk” article titled “See you at the barricades.” Babukhanian writes that the wave of revolutions in the former Soviet Union is caused by objective factors such as people’s desire to “topple government clans enslaving them and live in freedom and prosperity.” “A wave of the transformation of the CIS countries is thus underway. Both the West and Russia will try to steer it in a direction convenient for them. But nobody should hope to stem the tide. A revolution [in Armenia] is therefore inevitable.”
A leading member of parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian’s Orinats Yerkir Party assures “Hayots Ashkhar” that it has no intention to join the Armenian opposition. “I don’t know what causes such rumors or analyses,” says Mher Shahgeldian. “But the party has no such goals.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” draws readers’ attention to President Robert Kocharian’s Monday remark that the opposition is being “immoral” by exploiting the Karabakh issue for political purposes. Kocharian said opposition leaders must not hope that external pressure on Yerevan in connection with the Karabakh peace process will result in his downfall.
But in an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Babken Ararktsian, a former parliament speaker and close ally of former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, contends that Kocharian himself used Karabakh to come to power in 1998. Ararktsian says Kocharian’s regime is now prepared to embrace the kind of “defeatist” Karabakh settlement which was advocated by Ter-Petrosian. Turning to domestic politics, Ararktsian says, “No external force can have a decisive impact unless there is an internal public momentum. I totally disagree with those who say that that happened in Georgia and Ukraine only thanks to the West’s resources. In reality, the public in those countries opted for a free and dignified life.”