“Aravot” notes in an editorial that the brutal break-up of the April 2004 opposition rally in Yerevan did not trigger an outburst of popular indignation against the ruling regime. “The most important lesson of that night is that we ourselves showed the authorities that they can cope with us the way they want to,” says the paper.
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” when Robert Kocharian says that the toppled regimes in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan were “weak” he first of all means that they did not dare use force against peaceful demonstrators. The paper sees Kocharian’s latest public comments as a reaffirmation of his readiness to react harshly to further challenges against his rule.
“Hayots Ashkhar” denounces the creation on Tuesday of a coalition of several non-governmental organizations critical of the Armenian authorities. The new grouping called Bekum (Breakthrough) will strive to promote a revolution in Armenia. The pro-Kocharian paper claims that the venue of its founding congress, the American University of Armenia, was not accidental. It says the United States had a hand in all of the ex-Soviet revolutions, helping the oppositionists find external sources of funding. “They do not even hide in the White House that they have invested $50 million in Kyrgyzstan in the past year, while the Ukrainian oranges cost them about $65 million.”
“Azg” reports on Tuesday’s rally by youth organizations in support of the banned A1+ television station. One of the speakers, Levon Barseghian, told participants that the channel critical of the authorities will not be allowed to resume broadcasts as long as Kocharian remains in power. The paper says the protesters agreed with that conclusion.
“All political forces are afraid,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “Forces representing the government are afraid of a repeat of the Georgian-Ukrainian-Kyrgyz events in Armenia as well as of each other. The opposition is afraid of a repeat of the Moldova revolution in Armenia and Robert Kocharian’s and Serzh Sarkisian’s third [presidential] run. All of them together fear a certain unclear process which they consider inevitable.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims in a separate report that Sarkisian is making “methodical” efforts to succeed Kocharian as president. The paper says that given Russia’s growing geopolitical weakness Sarkisian is keen to secure the West’s support for his presidential ambitions, concluding that he has reason to expect such backing.